Thursday, February 17, 2005

Foodie Duty: The Naked Chef

I am obsessed with the Food Channel.

Seeing as I don't have a television, I squeek in any time I can get with Paula, Rachael and the rest of that crazy gang while babysitting, at the gym and at work.

This woman can cook mm-mm goooood.

It's kind of crazy: me working out like a mean bitch on the elliptical trainer while watching Paula make her incredible Savannah "Tiramisu."

The culinary juices started flowing in my own kitchen this week, with Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Pork Chops, Gourmet Chicken Salad, Chocolate Cheesecake and two different kinds of chocolate chip cookies all making the menu.

If I could do it all over again, I'd probably encourage my cooking tendencies by attending cooking school. It's a professional endeavor I imagine I'd be fairly successful at, but by this point I think it's too late to completely switch careers mid-stream. I've got too much experience in television news to completely bail on my skills and connections for some one on one time with a Kitchen Aid Mixer (which is the number one item I want when I get married someday. The Artisan series kicks ass).

My fascination with food started early. I remember being a young girl, a huge denim apron draping over me with little bits of flour on my cheeks and in my sandy blond hair, helping my mom make Christmas cookies. I thought I was so special when she would ask me to make the orange juice for our weekend breakfasts. Little did I know the task of emptying a frozen container of orange juice and adding two and a half portions of water did not constitute cooking. It did in my little 10 year old world.

Some years later for a high school World History class, I volunteered to bake a Sacher torte for the class. We were doing segment on Pre WWII Europe, with each of us bringing in various foods or items symbolizing our respective countries. I chose to represent Austria, wanting to recreate the decadent chocolate and apricot cake I enjoyed at the Hotel Sacher while traveling there as a kid.

One of the most luxurious hotels in all of Europe

Needless to say, my mother was less than thrilled I volunteered to tackle the not-so-small task, of course with her help.

Even now I live whole fantasies out through food.

I like to take a mental trip to Italy every once and a while by whipping up my mom's Pasta Carbonara recipe. Other times I like to pretend I'm in England, preparing for a very high society tea with my shortbread cookies.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with a little fantasy, right?

Other times I don that cute little apron of mine and cook naked. Not Jamie Oliver naked, but really naked. I know it sounds bizarre, but It's a luxury that can only be enjoyed by a single person, seeing as any spouse or children in the house would consider it entirely too bizarre, quickly prompting a call to Family Services. Me? I like cooking naked sometimes because the process is so artistic. I love taking a whole bunch of raw ingredients and turning them into something so savory, so beautiful tasting. I guess cooking makes me feel beautiful, which is a great way to feel when you're naked and 15 pounds overweight.

Naked or not, I rely on a whole shoebox of recipes I've collected over the years. Some are hand scrawled by my mom (those include Derby Pie, Burt's Marinade and her fabulous scone recipe), others are in my handwriting, jotted down during panicked calls home Mom, how do I make your Banana Bread? Mom, how do I make your No-Flip Oven Pancake?

Still other recipes are clipped out from newspapers, magazines and boxes.

Today I'm looking forward to enjoying the fruits of someone else's culinary labor: my New Boyfriend is cooking dinner for me tonight. All I know is the menu includes seafood and bleu cheese, both on my list of favorite things.

And yes, I'm sure we'll be cooking naked, food or not.


Anonymous said...

Naked cooking?!! What happened to our good, catholic girl? :) Seriously, weren't you thinking twice about this guy?

Kate The Great said...

Ah, that good ol' Catholic guilt thing. Try as I may, my willpower isn't as determined as my faith is... so I usually end up living with reckless abandon, and then going to confession about it.

New Boyfriend? I really like him, and I'm fairly confident he likes me... just how much is the question.

We're still seeing eachother, but I'm keeping the possibility open that this may not be my destiny. He has a problem with communicating his feelings (okay, so this sounds like every boy-girl relationship), and it's leaving me with few clues about what his expectations are.

And as for the good catholic girl thing, what is that song?

C'mon Virginia, don't let me wait.
You Catholic girls start much to late.
But sooner or later it comes down to fate,
I might as well be the one.

spydrz said...

Billy Joel...what a musical genius!!

Micah said...

There was an SNL rerun on last night where Billy Joel sang "River of Dreams." *sigh* Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

My mom LOVES Paula. I'm more into Alton Brown, Rachael Ray, and Emeril. Now that Comedy Central sees fit to show "Mad TV" 18 hours a day, the Food Network is my stand-by channel when there's just nothing else on.

Cooking naked? Sound dangerous. I can imagine some errant bacon grease or a Bobbitt-like mishap. No thanks.