March 15th, 2017 by Jan

I watch cooking shows on TV now.

Martha Stewart has a show called Martha Bakes and she also has one called Cooking School or something like that. She “teaches” cooking and baking using every possible kitchen appliance and gadget. She makes it look easy.

I also watch, with less enthusiasm, the cooking competition shows. The kind where they say you must use cashews and only have 20 minutes to make a flaming desert.

There’s also a show featuring fancy chefs. These chefs have other people doing all the prep and chopping, and are at the beck and call of the chef. “Amber, will you turn the scallops.” “Becky, I need more scallions.”

One theme all these shows have in common, is how to cook anything, at least three different ways.

The people in competitions call it “beans three ways.” Martha and the big chefs are happy to share “another way to use pineapple.”

Last night I watch Martha make three different types of bread.

They ALL had the same ingredients. Flour, eggs, yeast, salt, sugar. The big difference was the proofing of the yeast..

One loaf was proofed in a warm place, one in the refrigerator, one rolled up in plastic wrap. Another big difference was, one recipe used the mix master, and the other was mixed by hand using a wooden spoon.


Another thing all the shows have in common is they all tell a personal story while they cook. “My grandmother made these buns for us every Sunday.” Or, “This sauce smells like my childhood home on a warm summer night.”

I have no point to this story, except that I dreamed about cooking something three ways last night.

I admit one way of making anything is challenge enough for me. And Top Chef or Chopped aside, there have been times when, I open the pantry, grab a few ingredients, and 20 minutes later, dinner is ready. On these nights only Ken’s happiness — not $10,000. is on the line.

To sum up — what I’ve learned by watching all these shows is:
1. You must have all the ingredients on hand.
2. A sous chef would make cooking easier. Also, buy the right pan, or spatula, and have sharp knifes.
3. You absolutely must have a story to go with the meal. (The best story comes from your childhood, watching your Grandma cook.)
4. And, of course, you need to be able to make any meal, with any ingredient, at least three different ways.

They never say anything about setting pot holders on fire.

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