Coming soon to The Food Network

Of the five people that are in my immediate family – mom, dad, two sisters and myself – only one of us can cook. But dammit if the rest of us haven’t tried.

Once, when I was younger, my mom went out of town and dad was in charge of cooking for us for a few days. All went smoothly until he had my aunt and uncle over and decided to make us all a dinner, the main course of which was meatloaf.

Now, when my mom makes meatloaf, she throws in like a tiny pinch of brown sugar. My dad, somehow, took this to mean two handfuls of brown sugar. Rather than it coming out looking like a loaf of meat, it looked more like meat…pudding. Ew. We still talk about it.

Apparently, however, he’s the one my sisters and I got our cooking genes – well, lack thereof – from. My mom can make things from scratch, without a recipe and sometimes she changes stuff up and it still tastes good. Whereas you have me, ever the rule-follower, who can follow directions like a champ and straying from said directions will only end badly – I am an oldest child, after all. That whole guilty conscience thing.

So. Through the years it’s been interesting having my sisters and I attempt to cook. And I say attempt, well, because, without supervision, something would catch on fire. Or someone would cut off a finger. Maybe.

There was this one time when Sami and I got put in charge of making carrot-raisin salad for dinner. No biggie, right? Yeah, um, it takes a bit of work. You have to wash the carrots and cut them and grate them and through all of this do you KNOW HOW PRUNEY YOUR HANDS CAN GET? Because they did. And then our arms got tired so we switched jobs and wouldn’t you know, when we were done there were carrot shavings above us on the cabinet and across the counter and up our arms and stuff.

Mom got frustrated because it took us about an hour longer to finish the carrot-raisin-salad-making process than it really should have and it was then we came up with the idea for our cooking show – or really, non-cooking show, ‘Strangers in the Kitchen.’

Here’s the premise: Imagine a kitchen with my sisters and I and various cooking supplies and ingredients. But unlike Rachael Ray or Emeril or any of those famous chefs, we have no idea what to do with any of it.

‘Cause oh yeah, there’s more.

There was the time Rachel and Sami wanted to make guacamole but the avocado wasn’t ripe enough. Therefore, what does one do to speed up that process? Put it in the blender, so it will mush it all up. And fast.

Once Rach cut an entire green pepper using the wrong side of the knife. And basically anytime a knife and slicing something is involved, we do it wrong.

Then there’s last night. I get a text from Rachel about the latest adventure of one of us being in the kitchen. This time, my mom was helping Sami make cupcakes. Actually – that’s the other way around. Because, according to Rachel, my mom told Sam she needed three teaspoons of something.

Sami pulled three spoons out of the drawer. Mom asked why there were spoons out. Sami said “You needed three teaspoons.”

Dad said, “Episode 4: Teaspoons.”

See, Dad will be part of the show too. While the three of us are attempting to cook something, Dad will stop by as the occasional guest star. We’ll say “Hey Dad, what do we do next?” And he’ll shrug, and walk off stage.

“Strangers in the Kitchen.” It’s sure to be a hit.

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One thought on “Coming soon to The Food Network

  1. Barbara McGee says:

    Maybe Ben could make a cameo occasionally. He’s the one who steals the entire pork tenderloin you have marinating on the counter when you turn your back to make sure there are enough teaspoons.

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