Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Atkins family. Please open your basket."

During the excruciating journey of selling our home in Evanston, I had to refrain from watching HGTV, or, more specifically, any type of show that had to do with: tips for selling a home, tips for buying a home, home decorating, flipping houses, remodeling, or absolutely anything that had to do with anything that had to do with anything that had to do with HOUSES: buying houses, painting houses, staging houses, flipping houses, landscaping houses, renting houses, remodeling houses, and, of course, the thorn - selling houses.

Have I made my point?

That meant no Divine Design, Design on a Dime, or Color Splash, which I actually did enjoy watching prior to our experience.

So, where does one turn in a crisis?

To food.

I had NEVER watched the Food Network prior to entering into the process of selling my home. And then, one night, unable to watch yet another show on HGTV, all of which, for me, translated into the "will I ever get this house sold" show, I found the Iron Chef. It was fun. Void of anything remotely related to the declining housing market. Harper can now name every Iron Chef on the show.

Then, there was the Next Food Network Star. Mmmm, nice. I just love when people think it is just soooooooooo easy to work in front of a camera. It is a skill, people. It takes practice. I then found Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Loved the idea, and since the first episode I watched had to do with making ravioli in Brooklyn, I was instantly hooked. And Ace of Cakes? Who doesn't love Duff. But then, I found the show that has become a true staple in our home. The one we gather to watch together.


Ok, the judges are a bit nasty. Really, they have stares like hot skewers that just burn a hole in a chef's confidence. Never is there a dish that gets all praise - nope, there always has to be one biting comment.

And yet, we came to love it.

So did Harper and Zane.

Why? Because just as eating food attends to one's emotional state, Chopped gave me a sense of relief in that during that 30 minutes it was not me on the chopping block. It was the one show where I could kick back, forget about my house, forget about my buyers, forget about the enormity of it all, and just enjoy other people running around creating and sweating in a timed competition where mystery ingredients like ginko nuts are the true stars.

One of my goals upon moving to Beaver, was to decrease our grocery bill dramatically. I've done so by shopping at Aldi (even though, yes, I was pissed at them back in Skokie) as the one out here is fantastic.

Another way I've decreased our grocery bill is by playing the home version of Chopped when pickin's get low. George showed some great creativity with his stuffed Portobello mushrooms last night. And tonight, in honor of the kids being in bed early (which has been very difficult as they want to stay up watching Food Network - I've created Chef groupies), we made some nachos, adding various ingredients that we found in the pantry. (I don't really have a true "pantry", but they have one on Chopped, so, in the spirit of the game, I must use the same language.)

It's as if Chopped has enabled me to take 3 or 4 ingredients and make . . . something. Anything. Totally goes with my whole "don't be wasteful" mantra. I'm not linking you to that - I have too many posts on the subject. It would be a waste of my time to link all of them.

I still have no interest in watching HGTV, because now that I have a 3 story house with a basement I am completely overwhelmed with how to paint it, decorate it, or just plain handle it should I sprain my ankle on one of the three stairwells.

However, if someone from HGTV would want to come and decorate a room for me - well, I think I would let them in.

I'd even cook them a meal in 30 minutes flat with some mystery ingredients found in my kitchen.

Sea Urchin, flaxseed, eye of newt, and swedish fish, anyone?

Do you watch Food Network? If yes, what is you favorite show/chef?
And who will win the next Food Network Star competition? Melissa? Jeffrey?


Janet said...

Didn't know you had a blog, so I had to check it out...everytime I visit my Mom, we end up watch Food Network together, show after show (we are both "foodies")
The homeschool mom in me loves Good Eats because it teaches me something(science wise) and it can be funny. Totally love anything with Bobby Flay,Iron Chef, and Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller. If you want to learn how to stretch the buck w/the grocery bill, check out her link/meal plans..totally awesome! So there's my 2 cents worth! :)

karen said...

Love, love, love Alton Brown and Good Eats! I told my hubby I wanted to marry Alton, and that this would work out well for him because I would invite him for dinner. ;)