I am a little addicted to the Food Network.
There are a few shows I just love and some I just casually watch.
I could basically watch that channel all day long.
Restaurant Makeover; Chef at Home; Pitching In; Iron Chef Superstars; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; Top Chef Just Desserts; Dinner Party Wars; French Food at Home and one that I just can’t get enough of; Chopped.
For those of you who don’t know what this show is about, there are four chefs in a kitchen with a basket each.
They open the basket of mystery ingredients to find out what they need to make their dish out of. Usually three to four things they need to incorporate into each meal.
There is a basket for appetizer, entree and dessert.
And they have a time limit for each course.
And there are three judges who decide who goes on to the next round and who is eliminated. At the end of each course, a contestant is ‘chopped’ out of the competition and remaining chefs go on to the next course and cook their little hearts out with another set of secret ingredients.
And the food combinations thrown at these professional chefs are insane! For instance, they’ll open their baskets and inside they find that they have to make a main dish with plantains, black lentils, gummy bears and octopus.
And I just can’t believe what these people can create out of seemingly nothing.
Kinda like life.
Every night, I’m left with opening that big scary double-door white basket in the middle of my kitchen to try and figure out what to make for my family.
There’s usually a time limit.
And the pint-sized judges in my house don’t hold back on giving criticism. And it ain’t so constructive.
I give credit to those chefs on the show – they come up with some pretty inventive, amazing dishes.
But seriously, they have it easy. Anyone can cook for adults.
Cooking for kids? Now that’s a challenge!
I look in my fridge – low and behold – hmmm… I have celery, left over garbanzo beans, milk, eggs and hot sauce.
So not only do I need to make supper, but I really have to do groceries too!
Okay, to be honest, there are other things in there too.
But why would anything be defrosted? Some nights yes.
But that would be too easy to be on the ball like this all the time.
We’re looking for a challenge here.
And the clock is ticking….
So I move in-between my pantry and the fridge and the freezer, concocting, building ideas, creating a plan…
Then I spot the phone on the counter and think that ordering in pizza would be a fabulous idea.
Again, not so challenging.
Think, think, think.
Then up the stairs I hear, “Moooooooooooooom, when is dinner ready? I’m staaaaaaaaaaaarving!”
And that’s when I yell down, “I’m making it. Come have celery while you wait.”
As if they didn’t hear me. They know that I know that they know that I know that they heard me.
But I don’t push it.
I’m trying to focus. They’re interrupting my foodie mojo.
I spot sausages at the back. Smell them. Hmmm… Not bad. Need to be cooked. Soon. Very soon. I can cook the crap out of them and I’m sure they’ll be safe to eat.
I know I saw chicken broth in the pantry.
I can throw the chick peas in a soup with celery, sausage and chickpeas…. hey… I might actually rock out on a satisfying sausage gumbo sort of dish here.
It actually turned out okay. I was happy with the result. A bit of spinach, some broccoli and herbs helped too.
And I made sure to give hubby a big glass of wine before he sat down so it would taste that much better.
And of course I had my glass while creating.
I remember being in university and my professor told our class to never drink and then write, because usually what you ended up with would turn out so brilliantly, you would continue the pattern and become one of those artsy-fartsy types on a twelve-step program.
But I don’t think the same rule applies to cooking.
Don’t ask me if the kids liked it. Of course they didn’t. They turned up their noses and went hungry.
Did I ever mention the winner of Chopped ends up with a prize of $10,000?
Mommy isn’t leaving the kitchen arena with a prize of $10,000 for winning tonight’s cooking challenge. Or any night’s challenge.
So if you don’t like it, you can cook it yourself.
NOTE: For a copy of my Sausage, Spinach and Chickpea Soup (AKA the last-minute-meal made with ingredients found at the bottom of my fridge on a Tuesday night), check out the recipe in my Food Category on this blog.