Cooking for Dummies (like me)
For some time now, things were getting out of hand. My wife and son were hogging the TV during Prime Time. They were watching something called the Master Chef Australia. My engineer son, who never stepped into our kitchen, had become an addict. Perhaps, it was that age when young ladies with a culinary ability looked attractive to a boy who wanted to “settle down”? But my wife’s addiction was completely baffling. Much of the show was dedicated to showing hitherto unexplored parts of Squids, Ducks, Pigs and the like. She, the die-hard vegetarian, was watching THIS with unabated glee?
Reluctantly, I decided to give up watching Jason Statham action-movies to spend “quality” time* with my wife. (*Love is: watching cook-shows with her). At first I found the shows hilarious. One of the judges (George) looked like Danny de Vito on diet. Another (Matt) wore trousers used by medieval court jesters; sometimes he wore suits stitched from spare curtains in the guest-room. Yet another looked like she escaped from the Hollywood blockbuster “The Last of the Mohicans”. I kept heckling the show with snide remarks, because I was still uptight about missing my action-shows.
I cook my own goose
Oops, wrong move! Soon, I actually started liking the show. It was not about cooking at all. It was about ordinary people trying to achieve extraordinary skills. You could describe it as a Reality-show — except, the participants were very nice and helped each other— unlike the run-of-the-mill Reality-show where everybody plotted against everybody else. I once watched a cook-show run by an abusive guy called Gordon Ramsay: he treated participants like lowly dogs and then they bitched about each other! This show was not like that at all. The “faux De Vito” was actually a nice guy— he egged the youngsters on and even comforted them when they lost. The “Medieval Jester” had a seductive way of describing the fabulous dishes the contestants cooked. And the “Mohican” was a much respected chef!
It was too late to tell my wife and son that I liked the show. They could easily repay me with snide remarks about my ignorance. For instance, I found late in the show, that Fenugreek had nothing to do with the Greeks; that “dressing” the chicken for dinner actually involved stripping it instead of clothing it in a tuxedo! They knew how to say Gnocchi, Croissant and Coq au Vin. The trick apparently, is to selectively pronounce only a few alphabets in each word— and I didn’t know which!
I get the last laugh…
Then came a providential opportunity! I took some foreign tourists on a heritage walk around Chennai. Wonder of wonders, one of them was a Romanian Chef. Not just any chef, but THE most famous judge of Master Chef Romania: Florin Scripca, a.k.a. Chef Foa. I quickly took a selfie with him and proudly showed my family. I was part of the cognoscenti !
… but not for long
Master Chef Australia 2015 got over yesterday. What a relief! Hopefully, it is back to action movies? Alas, at Prime Time, my son grabbed the TV remote again . It seems today was the inaugural of Master Chef Asia— and my son “knew” that Dad will simply love it! Ayyoooo! Why God, why?