Tag Archives: American Idol

Culinary crack

I don’t do reality.

Reality TV, that is. Count me out of any televised competition that involves voting anyone off, sending anyone home or criticizing anyone to his or her face before millions of viewers. To my mind, while contestants are willing, there’s nothing more disturbing than watching someone being humiliated. Maybe this goes back to the days when I was always picked dead last for teams.

Since the inception of Survivor and American Idol, I’ve proudly shunned these competitions and rolled my eyes at my friends who get all wrapped up in discussing who’s faring how each week, using contestants’ first names as if they were their buddies.

I find it disgusting to hear people talking about “Scotty” and “Taylor” and “Adam” as if we knew them personally, getting into the dynamics of the competitions and the personal attributes that are going to make or break their success.

There but for the grace of God go I.

I am hooked on The Next Food Network Star. Or I guess it’s just called Food Network Star this season. I wouldn’t know; I never watched the previous six seasons. In Season 7, I haven’t missed a single episode, as contestants are called to create signature dishes, work around situational constraints, endure criticism by celebrity chefs and demonstrate their on-camera presentation skills, for the chance to have their own Food Network show.

As it often works with addiction, I was lured into my first taste by a peer. In the late Spring, a friend from church was generating buzz and support for a fellow church member who had auditioned to become one of 15 finalists. Ever loyal to my churchies, I faithfully went online every day and voted for Mary Beth Albright, whom I had met a few times. She’s a dear.

Mary Beth indeed became one of 15 finalists so, when the season debuted June 5th, I was there—in front of the television. My husband and son jumped on the chuckwagon.

Soon our family conversations, even during the week, centered around the fact that Penny was a good cook but wasn’t likeable, that Alicia’s constant crying was going to hurt her chances, that Mary Beth was going to have to punch up her dishes if she’s to survive. When Paula Deen praised Mary Beth for putting buttermilk and panko in her meatloaf, I immediately altered my own meatloaf recipe. We bristle when the judges speak to our girl harshly, even though we know she can take it.

Every Sunday night, at the end of each program hour, our house is filled with gasps and exclamations, shrieks and high fives, as Mary Beth escapes—often narrowly—the judges’ cleaver.

I recognize that my addictive behavior is hurting my relationships. We’ve left family parties early to make it home in time (we’re a DVR-less household) and already, I’m fretting over how to broach this with friends who are hosting us at their beach house Sunday night. Would it be impolite to request an hour in front of their television? Or is it better to leave a day early to make it home in time for the final four?

Seriously, I’ve got the shakes.

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School’s out

In about a week, the schools in our area will close for the summer. Where you live, kids might already been out. Here, it’s always the latter half of June.

I no longer have a kid in school, so I don’t keep track any longer; yet, the fact that the last day of school is just around the corner is acutely evident, for two reasons. One, the ice cream truck is coming around in the afternoon. Two, Alice Cooper is on the radio. A lot.

It was the summer of 1972; I was in my final days of elementary school, when “School’s Out” hit the charts.

Don’t pretend you don’t know it. I bet you can tell me exactly where you were on your life’s road or where the song takes you when you hear it today.

For me it was Annandale, Virginia. I felt so grown up, saying good-bye to the school with the little chairs, and facing junior high with excitement and anxiety. Mostly, “School’s Out” meant spending seven days a week at the Wakefield Chapel pool and having sleepovers where we listened to music and called our requests in to WPGC radio.

By 1972, I had outgrown David Cassidy; Alice Cooper was a real rocker. He sang rebelliously about the fantasied obliteration of school (not such a realistically dangerous notion back then) and we could relate to it. I understand that, in 2004, Rolling Stone named “School’s Out” one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. I never owned an Alice Cooper record, but if I had it to do over, I would have snapped one up at Rainbow Tree.

I confess, when that song comes on the radio, I still crank it up and sing along. Belted it out it just yesterday, as I pulled out of the grocery store parking lot, after stopping for Activia.

To this day, while far from poetic, my favorite verse is:

Well we got no class
And we got no principles [play on words, perhaps?]
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

Please don’t think less of me.

So, where were you when you first grooved to this song? And hearing it on American Idol doesn’t count.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Movies, Television and Radio, Music