Monday, June 11, 2012

What's making me happy this week.

It seems to me like there's two types of people in the world: people that love to cook, and people that just sort of begrudgingly tolerate it because, well, they have to eat something and somebody has to do it. I have friends who spend big chunks of their days putting together made-from-scratch meals, trading recipes amongst themselves, following cooking blogs, posting pictures on Facebook/Twitter of the ooh-and-ahh-worthy stuff they make.  They're inspired, they're skilled, they're not eating a lot of things that emerge from cardboard boxes in the freezer for a toasty pirouette in the microwave.

Guess which camp I fall into.

It's not that I dislike cooking -- if there's a recipe I want to try or something I'm craving, I'll dive right in.  The pour-this-much-of-this, and this-much-of-that aspect of it appeals to my nerdy, meticulous, German "VE SHALL FOLLOW ZEE PROCEDURE FOR MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY!!" side.  I'm not terribly daring in the kitchen -- you probably won't ever catch me puttering around, throwing random ingredients into a pot for shits & giggles -- but I've managed to cobble together the occasional cheesecake or other semi-complicated undertaking over the years.  (Hey, I made flan that one time!  And I had to boil things inside of other boiling things, inside the oven!  The horror!!) It's like I'm forever on the verge of enjoying it, but haven't really found a reason to take the plunge and start putting much effort into it.

But on the whole, for now it just seems like a big, thankless chore.  I mean, if I dump a lot of time into crocheting something, at least at the end, I've got something I can point to say and say, "I made that!"  If I cook something awesome, sure, I get a few minutes of satisfaction.  But then it's eaten, and all I'm left with is a pile of dirty dishes.  And particularly as a single person, the idea of cooking a big meal seems even sillier, because I'm going to have to want to eat that as leftovers for, like, two or three days afterwards.  I don't have the patience for that.

Which is why it's weird that I spent a good chunk of the weekend holed up in the basement, watching the Cooking Channel.

What first caught my eye was a commercial for a show called The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia.  It is as ridiculous as it sounds.

In fact, it's far more ridiculous than that trailer would have you believe.  For instance, this week's episode featured a villain (yes, it's a cooking show with villains) named Burgomeister Burger (who bears a passing resemblance to Starburns on Community) who carries around an evil Russian nesting doll that he uses to hypnotize chefs into revealing their secret recipes to him.  Also, there was a mermaid.  (Alas, I can't find any clips of this magnificence online.  Get on that, Cooking Channel!)  And, judging by pictures on their website, a future episode will feature some sort of Hairspray homage with John Waters.  Highly entertaining, plus it actually made me want to cook something.

Next up:  Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen.  I had initially rejected this show simply due to the very annoying, trying-too-hard-to-be-edgy commercials that used to run for it on another channel, but gave it a shot when it came on after Baron Ambrosia a few weeks back.  And now, I like it.  Kind of like a little kid who turns up their nose at brussel sprouts but eventually learns to love them.

(The show itself isn't that clip:  it's got weirder & funnier little nooks & crannies.  Also: this looks delicious.)

Last but certainly not least:  there were Two Fat Ladies reruns.  Man, I'd forgotten how much I love that show.  (The opening sequence always reminded me of this on Sesame Street.)

So, does this mean I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen?  Probably not.  Or probably not right away, anyway, since it was hotter than hell all weekend and the thought of hanging out in a hot kitchen in the middle of a heat wave makes me want to die.  But next autumn, when the house cools down and I don't feel guilty turning the oven on?  Well, time will tell.

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