Tag Archives: Food Network Star

Slow it down, run it back

I don’t suppose the White House, the organizers of political debates or the NFL would consider checking with me first.

The last two nights, I had conflicts that precluded my watching national events or otherwise attending to entertainment needs. I’m still catching up on what happened.

Wednesday night, I twitched and trembled when a social commitment kept me from watching Republican candidates debate the nation’s affairs and poke each other in the eye. I trusted I’d catch enough clips in the morning to catch up, but even a broad scan of news channels—as well as newspaper accounts and commentary—failed to bring me adequately up to date.

Thanks to my cousin, I was able to read the full account online and now feel completely caught up and entertained. The piece even culled the notable language twists and gaffes, just as I would have, had I tuned in.

Last night, the President graciously agreed to address a joint session of Congress at an early hour so as to not delay kickoff of the 2011-12 football season. Problem was, I was on my way to a special dinner and had to listen to the speech on the radio on the way over.

No problem, you think? The president—any president—addressing a joint session of Congress is my red carpet. I like to catch the lead-up commentary, be there for the knock on the door, hear the President announced and closely watch the procession down the center aisle. I note whose hands are being shaken, who gets a wink or a pat on the back, who sits with whom, what colors the women are wearing and the sneers on the faces of members of the opposing party. You don’t get that on NPR.

As if there weren’t enough entertainment on the menu, I also missed my brother’s live interview with Food Network Star winner—and Sandwich King—Jeff Mauro on his weekly culinary radio program.

I have a busy work day ahead but I won’t lie, I’ll be slipping in some personal time to catch up on everything I missed.

You know, they really ought to invent some sort of device that allows you to record programming for future viewing.

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