I could live without TV. Really. It’s not a huge influence on my life. As a matter of fact, there are 2 TVs in our house and I think that’s one too many. I don’t even watch the news because most of it is biased. Seriously, who really cares about Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Judge Judy and Snookie? None of them are high on my list of priorities. Life is far too short to bother with crap like that (and yes, I said crap, which is what is mostly on these days).
Even though I’m not a huge fan, I do tape a few shows and watch them whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Big Bang Theory is a witty comedy about geeks. The characters are ridiculously socially inept, but have managed to remain friends in a world that includes particle accelerators, comic books and a ditzy neighbor named Penny.
I tape American Idol because I like to see how the talent develops (or doesn’t develop) in the pressure cooker of live TV. Although I do fast forward through the hokey group numbers, anything to do with the Beatles, and the contestants who turn beautiful songs into tonsil-exposing power ballads, this show reminds me of my own music competition past. I was a good musician but a terrible competitor, and always resented the fact that I was judged based on one effort – it’s very unlike the more forgiving recording industry, which is why it fascinates me (although I still think Adam Lambert got stiffed last season).
The third show I tape is Chopped. Chopped is a Food Network show, and I LOVE it. The host is Ted Allen, who used to be on Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (another show I thought was fun).
Each week, four professional chefs are presented with a basket full of 3 or 4 seemingly unrelated ingredients (for example: beef liver, pound cake, mango and pressed, fermented fish cake). They have 30 minutes to cook an appetizer. The appetizers are judged based on taste, creativity and presentation. At the end of the appetizer round, one chef is eliminated and the remaining three go on to the entree with a new basket. After that round, one is eliminated, the final two cook through the dessert round, and a $10,000 prize is given at the end.
Talk about thinking on your feet and using your creativity! It’s a complete blast to see a chef take gummy bears, egg roll wrappers and kiwis and make gummy wontons. There’s not a show goes by that doesn’t amaze me with the inventive twists on ingredients. Sometimes the chefs forget to put an ingredient on the plate. Maybe their dish was really, really good, but they ran out of time and left the grape jelly gravy in the pan. Unfortunately, they are summarily “chopped”. Bummer. This show really works for me because it inspires me to look at the food in my fridge, freezer and pantry and say, “Hey, I could make…” I look at what I have in a new light. There is no combination that “won’t” work, and there is now a use for all those odd ingredients I have collected (banana ketchup, anyone?).
Right now, Chopped is having a $50,000 competition that puts the Chopped judges and other Food Network luminaries in the hot seat. I can’t wait to see what twisted, difficult baskets the judges are given. Let’s see THEM turn frankfurters, chocolate and canned peas into a dessert. Tune in – this is going to be a hoot!
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