I admit it. I’m a Food TV junkie. We had the channel when I first got married, and I learned a lot from the Food Network about cooking. (Plus amassed a binder full of recipes to boot!) When we moved from our apartment into our current house a few years ago, we scaled down and just got basic, basic cable. No more Food TV. Then with the arrival of our two children, the mere idea of fancy sauces and unpronounceable French techniques cook a back burner to the more practical seaweed & octopus (top ramen noodles and a hot dog cut lengthwise into eight slices.) My husband has simple tastes, too. A nice plate of pasta will fit the bill any night. So there’s not much room for creative cooking, at least not at this time in my life.
Recently a deal came along for a combined internet, tv and phone service at a good price, so we upgraded. Which meant a return to my long-lost love… Food TV Network. They have all kinds of new shows, plus a few oldies whose faces and shows I remembered. Like a kid with an endless pile of candy (no, honey, that’s my Halloween stash…) I switch it on whenever I get the chance. Folding laundry on the floor in front of a cooking show can sometimes be the highlight of my day.
As a rule, I tend to be go-go-go all the time. My household is super busy, and I do my best to keep on top of everything. So when I can multi-task and do more than one thing at a time (like laundry & tv) I go for it.
It amazes me to watch professional chefs churn out fancy-schmancy meals with such ease. But of course, these folks have the benefit of all the needed ingredients right at their fingertips, plus all the cooking school skills to help maximize their time. So in the sterile world of television cooking, it really is possible to create fabulous feasts in 30 minutes or less. And though I also love to cook, I’m not the fastest knife in the West. Could use some culinary arts training myself to pick up a little speed.
I do try my hardest to be organized and efficient in the kitchen, but it seems like all I do is run in circles from one task to another, never quite finishing any one thing before I start up with the next. Counter productive behavior. With a busy family it takes a ton of effort to do all the menu planning, fridge and freezer purging, shopping, unpacking and stocking, prep work, cooking, getting everyone washed and sitting down, feeding the family, and keeping them seated during the feeding. Not to mention all the cleanup when everything else is done. Kitchen work consumes me; I want it to be the other way around. I’d like to be ‘Counter Productive’ – productive at my kitchen counter, where, like a commando mission, I get in, get out, and get on with my life.
Maybe if I wasn’t interrupted so much by the kids, the dog, my husband, (my kids), phone calls, other demands on my time (and my kids again), I might find it easier to focus and get it done. Seems I’m in a season of distraction. I once heard that the more interruptions you get in your day, the more valuable you are as a person. Well, I guess all the “Mama! Mama! Mama!’s” I get every day definitely qualify me for super valuable status.
So, maybe my family won’t be dining on escargot in a pastry dome, chateaubriand with bernaise sauce, or sea bass poached in a court bouillon with sauteed batonnet of carrots and zucchini anytime soon, (though that actually sounds pretty good…) but I don’t think they’ll miss it. They’ve got me around, and the time I invest in my family is, well, the icing on the cake. And it’s pretty good cake, if I say so myself. Even if I’m the one who has to clean up the crumbs.