Sorry for the radio silence...I was pondering all sorts of things again, one being that I didn't exactly want to do this blog right after the last blog - but I promised this one, so here it goes.
(Bear in mind this was partially written quite some time ago and it sat around in my notebook until now. There might be some anachronisms in it...but, they weren't back when I wrote it.)
I have to admit that I'm a bit of a glutton...not for punishment - but rather for certain food shows.
I'm also a bit like Howie Mandel (more of that in another blog...eventually) when it comes to germs. (If you have no idea about Howie's germaphobia and you are old enough to remember Howard Hughes' issue with germs...well, Howie is about one step away from him...and I'm a little off to the side of Howie...but not touching him.)
Now combine the two -- as you would, say, pepper and salt, only it comes out more like vinegar and oil. Metaphorically speaking, germs and kitchens, like vinegar and oil, simply don't mix well...or at least they shouldn't.
But, if you have your pulse on the idiosyncrasies of the cooking show nation as viewed through my eyes you just might see it from my point of view.
Case in point -- tune in to any episode of "Iron Chef", "Dinner: Impossible", "Chopped", etc., and focus on one thing: Washing.
Now I don't know about you, and I've been told I'm a bit whack in the "washing department"...but I wash EVERYTHING. Let me clarify that...as I don't wash everything I ingest...I just wash everything which grows. If it was once on a vine, branch, beneath the ground or rising up from it...well, it's going to get a bath before it goes into my gullet.
I don't care if you peel it and eat the insides or if you cook it after -- I'm washing it first. And I'll be using that fruit/vegetable spray to make sure all the residue of whatever I think is on it...comes off.
Hell, I even wash cans of soda and packages of cheese. Oh, yeah...I know...but, if that packaging ever touched or is going to "retouch" my food -- you can be certain I'm gonna wash it at some point before ingestion.
So, now that you a little of where I'm coming from...you might get a feel for where I'm going. Let's tune back in to the food shows, shall we?
The gist of these shows typically center around cooking food - but cooking it as quickly and as tasty as humanly possible. This might be a great idea...but it belies the obvious fact. How can you take all that food with the little twist ties intact and in its original state (if you've ever washed leeks you'll get what I'm saying here)...dump it on your cutting board and merrily start chopping away?
Look even closer (as I do...because I'm the food equivalent of a forensic patheticologist) and you'll notice those brightly coloured stickers...you know the ones on your apples and pears that you peel off BEFORE you wash them? Well, they don't. I guess they're some yummy secret ingredient because they leave them right on. Personally, I peel them off and then cut the area where they used to stick in case they used some cheap envelope glue to adhere them (the people who've watched Seinfeld will get that...the others...won't).
So, no wonder they can make a complete three-plus course dinner in no time flat. If I didn't have to wash anything, it'd go a lot faster, too.
And, amidst comments by the judges such as, "Did you wash these clams thoroughly...I noticed some grit in the salad." -- perhaps it's time to stop blaming the poor dead sea-thing and start chiding the chef who didn't rinse their radicchio.
Truth be told...the only person I've ever seen wash anything in the kitchen is Alton Brown of "Good Eats" fame...and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, the worst offender is "Dinner: Impossible" host, Robert Irvine. With culinary antics such as these it's no wonder Chef Gordon Ramsay always has his knickers in a twist.
Now I know I'm never going to be asked to be a participant in any of these shows...and that suits me just fine because the odds of me having all my food washed before that thirty minute "fully prepared entree" cut-off buzzer sounds...is pretty much nil.
As for being a judge? Sure, the food looks fabulous and cooked by the cream of the culinary crop...but the occasional semi-cooked chicken and dirt-infused mushroom would leave more than a bad taste in this paranoid person's mouth.
(As of this posting I have seen a trend toward showing more chefs...those mentioned above included...wash their food and specifically chastise others for not washing theirs thoroughly. I guess I wasn't the only one who noticed. Kudos to them - I'd love to see it in every show.)