Cooking is my adult version of dancing. When I was a child, all the way up until I left for college, I took dance lessons. Almost every day after school, I was at the dance studio. On weekends, I was traveling all over the state competing. The extra closet in our house looked like it belonged to a drag queen; it was filled with costumes to the brim, overflowing with Lycra and sequins. But was I any good? Ask my Mom and she’ll say, “Of course!” but true talk: I was not. I had minimal flexibility, that yes, improved over time and I could carry a beat well enough, but it was not an inherent skill. I never got a solo and was always placed in the back row. I did however, have a ton of fun, made some friends, and anyone who had never actually seen me dance, assumed I was good at it (thus seizing the epic win of “Best Dancer” in the Heritage Middle School 8th grade yearbook).
My latest after-school, or the adult version, after-work, (or, okay, I don’t know what to call this since I am currently unemployed) hobby that I am not skilled at, is cooking. I could tell people I read all the time and technically, it would be true. I read recipes, all the time. I pin, bookmark, and email nonstop. At any given moment all three of my iDevices – iPad, iPhone and iMac – have recipes pulled up on their screens. Going to Trader Joe’s is often the highlight of my day as I stock up on the ingredients I need for my latest creation (and of course make a stop at Trader Joe’s always exciting free sample station). As it was with dancing, cooking requires accessories to go along with my hobby. My Crock-pot is my leotard, my food processor is my tutu and my brand new kitchen knifes are my pointe shoes. And just like my pointe shoes, those knives have also drawn blood. Cooking is a healthier alternative to eating out, an activity that soothes stress and bringing in baked goods to work is an ass-kissing method that is almost always well-received.
Television is over-saturated with cooking shows, not that I am complaining, as I enjoy them all. However, all those shows follow skilled chefs. Isn’t it time for a more relateable, average Josephina chef? And that is why I pitch to you – all those reality producers who read my blog – Flop Chef – a girl who can’t cook for shit, but won’t stop until she has something edible. A classic underdog story. This show is not only entertaining, but there are valuable lessons for the viewers. Since development and production of Flop Chef will probably take awhile, I wanted to share with you, my readers, a sneak peak of the insight you will gain from watching.
Salt and Sugar are Different
They may look similar, but they are not, I repeat, they are not, the same. These two ingredients are not interchangeable and when salt is substituted for sugar in banana chocolate chip muffins, your coworkers will most likely pretend to eat, but then toss, your baked goods you bring in for them that day.
Turn the Oven On
Baking brownies with the oven off is inefficient. It will prolong the cooking time and be rather anticlimactic when you open the oven after waiting 50 minutes for it to bake.
Don’t Cut a Spaghetti Squash Before Cooking It
Why not? Because even the sharpest of knives will get stuck in the squash and yanking that knife out will land you in the ER with a bleeding hand in need of several stitches.
Put the Blade of the Food Processor in The Machine Before the Ingredients
If you do not, the food will drip out of the hole that the blade is meant to cover, and maple syrup is difficult to wash off of your countertops.
Drop Items into a Hot Frying Pan at a Low Height
Like a bird dropping poo onto your head, ingredients dropped from way up above the pan will also create an unwelcome result. Oil will most likely splatter, potentially onto your wrists, resulting in burns that look like unfortunate birth marks.
Size Matters When Trying to Cook An Egg Inside Another Item
Putting an egg in a shallow pepper, or a small avocado, will most likely look like the first picture below, not the second. The bigger the better. Or even better, just put the damn vegetable on the side of your eggs.
Sticking Your Nose into A Crockpot to Take a Whiff Is Not Advisable
Steam in a steam room feels nice on your skin. Steam from Crock-pots does not. A simple exercise in which you leave the room and then return is all you need to do to smell what’s been cooking in that pot for hours. By doing so, you can get a whiff of that fragrant chili and avoid burning the inside of your nose.
Have fun. Be Safe. And tune in to Flop Chef, coming this Fall to Bravo.*
*Flop Chef is a registered trademark of my imagination and a brilliant idea that will never see the light of day.