My intake of Food Network programming needs to be monitored closely.
Sunday was one of those days when the remote falls off the couch and no amount of persuasion will coax the cat into nudging it close enough for me to grab without getting up.
So, I spent the next few hours watching a variety of culinary masters prepare foods using ingredients I’ve never purchased and vegetables I didn’t know existed.
From what I can tell, there are three distinct personality types on Food Network: The skinny ones, the fat ones and the “fabulous” ones.
The channel does a pretty good job of mixing them up each half hour. Too many of the chubby cooks in a row and the health-conscious will get turned off. A steady stream of the skinny chicks and the FCC will call them out for making people think they can eat all that stuff and stay thin.
Too much “fab” and people will think they’re watching Bravo.
Another thing I noticed is how well the shows are shot. The cooking shows I remember watching when I skipped classes in college all looked like they were filmed with the same portable VHS camcorder I keep stashed in the hall closet.
Now, these shows feature hi-def photography and camera angles out of Scorsese’s play book.
Of course, I very rarely watch these shows thinking I’ll come away with practical dinner ideas. Most recipes seem to include about thirty ingredients. One dessert required a 1/4 cup of prepared coffee to make the chocolate taste like chocolate.
I’m sorry, but doesn’t chocolate taste like chocolate already? What am I missing here?
The trouble for me started when three shows in a row used the zest of lemons and/or oranges.
Now, I didn’t previously know what zest was, but it sure seemed easy to get. Chip off some fruit rind using a cheese grater and suddenly you’re ready to be an extra in that new movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones (which looks terrible, by the way).
The last show I watched had the skinny one from Italy making ice cubes with zest frozen inside and serving them with wine and sparkling water.
I could do this. It was basically making ice. My cat could make this recipe.
So, I got off the couch, commandeered some fruit from the fridge and went to town on that cheese grater my great aunt shipped us for the wedding. I mixed with water and froze. I poured in a bottle of pinot grigio. I even went to the store for some sparkling water. Thought briefly about substituting 7-Up, but I didn’t want to screw things up trying to be a hero.
It was the worst light summer wine spritzer I’ve ever tasted. The sparking water seemed to go flat when mixed with the wine. That left basically diluted white wine. The ice cubes looked kind of cool, but once they started melting, the drink became more zest than liquid.
I double checked the recipe online to make sure I hadn’t forgotten some crucial ingredient.
I hadn’t. The drink just sucked. I was disappointed, sad and angry.
Screw that skinny chic. I’m following the fat lady’s advice next time.