Does watching the food network make you feel inadequate as a cook sometimes? Yes, I do refer to myself as a cook because the title of chef requires more knowledge and training.
My fascination with the food network started out of boredom from the same ole staples in my kitchen. Some of my regulars would be baked chicken, rice and green beans. Occasionally, there would be spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a roast. Then on a have-to-put-something-on-the-table-night there were franks and beans, hamburgers and french fries, sandwiches or pizza and salad.
And then the mouth watering Sunday dinner consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread with homemade lemonade or iced tea. Banana pudding sometimes if they were lucky.
My family never had a problem with Sunday dinner and neither did I. But I was getting tired of Monday through Friday’s meals.
As I became more frustrated we began to eat out more. And the more we ate out we began to get sick of that. Don’t want to eat at home and don’t want to eat out either.
So what do I do? Run out and apply to the top culinary schools in the country? Perhaps visit one of those establishments where you can prepare your meals a week in advance. Both of those options required either time or money or both.
So what did I do? I turned on the food network.
My sister had been trying new recipes out on the family and most of them came from her favorite cooks on the food network. Some dishes were hits and some were misses. But the ones that were hits were different; flavorful. I wasn’t use to having these flavors on a daily basis. And I liked them.
So I started watching some shows on the food network. I tried 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril live to name a few. But the one that stood out with me was Iron Chef America.
I watched and watched very carefully. Meals were prepared from beginning to end in front of my eyes.
I’m not really one to follow recipes. I prepare by using the method of cook to taste which works well for me because who better than myself to be the judge of my own cooking.
So what did the food network teach me? It didn’t exactly teach as much as giving me ideas. It got my creative juices flowing and opened my mind to healthier options.
For the first time in my life I started using olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh vegetables, chicken broth etc…
I sauté, grill and bake things in ways I never thought of preparing before. I’m cooking vegetables like, squash, zucchini, colored bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower on a regular basis. I even tried broccolini courtesy of my sister, but I didn’t particularly care for it. But I tried it and that’s what matters.
I’m using new phrases like EVOO-extra virgin olive oil for you amateurs out there. And I finally figured out what a reduction is. And that one had me stumped for a minute.
The food network is great but I would also like to give honorable mention to Top Chef courtesy of the Bravo network. I watch for entertainment purposes in addition it has introduced me to new techniques that I’ve never heard of.
Lastly, I would like to give an honorable mention to Hell’s Kitchen courtesy of the Fox network. It provides me with non stop laughter and several ways on how not to do things in the kitchen. And for some reason I like Chef Ramsey.
Until next time Bon appétit!