Cooking: Well, It Looks Fun on TV

When I cook a meal, I only need three things: The box out of the freezer, the microwave, and maybe a pair of scissors. I watch cooking shows where people proclaim their passion for cooking. That's me. My passion is watching cooking shows featuring people who have a passion for cooking. Cooking for me is like professional football: It's great entertainment but I have no intention of ever actually participating. They have this show: Worst Cooks in America. I wouldn't qualify for that. You'd have to, at some point, attempt to cook something to determine you were one of the worst. If they ever audition for: "America's Most Apathetic Cooks", I'm in.

I do watch Chopped, Master Chef, Master Chef Jr. and The Taste, though. My eight year old niece also watches these shows and they've created a monster. She'll sit in a restaurant and declare that she's not eating her broccoli because there's not enough seasoning or they're not properly salted or the meat should have been seared.

But to tell you the truth, she's not the only one who's been made skeptical by these shows. Yeah, great, now I have this trained, discerning eye and palate but can't afford to eat in places where those things could possibly matter. The places we go to eat don't in anyway resemble anything on these programs.

When they show you where the Chef-testants work: Where are the people standing outside in the cold for forty minutes waiting for their UFO paperweights to glow and vibrate? Where are the guys unintentionally touching a woman inappropriately with their pool cues while they're making a shot and she's making her way to the bathroom?

We don't get to go to real restaurants. We go to chains aka glorified fast food joints posing as real restaurants. I mean, yeah, there's no drive-thru, they hand you menus instead of them being displayed over the cashier's head, they carry the tray to the table for you instead of you carrying it yourself, and the meal costs forty dollars for two instead of sixteen, but it's a fast-food restaurant none-the-less.

There are no Michelin stars on the wall where we frequent. There's only the "89.0" rating from the health inspector and the sign that indicates that there are probably seventy more people currently on the premises than is allowed by law.

There are no James Beard award winning chefs at our restaurants. I doubt there are any chefs at our restaurants. If I ever "accidentally" go into the kitchen instead of the ladies' room, I expect to find a couple of fourteen year olds making minimum wage and "cooking" between mopping the floor, doing the dishes, and playing cards. There probably aren't even appliances in there, just a grill for making eggs and burgers and a microwave for everything else. The judges on my shows are always kvetching about food being overcooked or undercooked or bland. Nobody worries about such minor details where we eat. They just take stuff out of the freezer, toss it in the microwave and press the "start" button. If someone else will run the grill, I could start a new career as executive chef.

"Chef, table 6 wants to know: How long for the Stouffer's macaroni and cheese?"