Reality Bites

24 Oct

photo: lenngrayes via Flickr

A few weeks ago, I watched the season finale of a “food show.” Two teams driving frantically around Miami in food trucks were competing for a grand prize. Very little cooking was shown, but quite a bit of bitching and drama.

Now I’m struggling not to roll my eyes as I zone out to a team of pastry chefs tasked with making a massive cake that depicts a monster truck (a losing battle for both eyes and cake). And last night I fell asleep in front of an ego-crazed New York chef who had to cook appetizers with rainbow fruit candy in order to win 10 grand. I think it’s safe to acknowledge that any food show with the words “extreme” or “war” in the title are not truly worth watching. Is it only offensive to me when a loud twenty-something from Jersey in a magenta tutu apron declares “war” with cupcakes? Yet, “Cupcake Wars” and “Halloween Wars” (Team Bling Bats vs. Team Boo) practically play in a loop on Food Network. Yes, I’m talking about a show where  people bake ingredients like parsley into 1,000 cupcakes to win cash. This followed by a show where chefs compete to be declared a “Sweet Genius” buy creating desserts with surprise ingredients (like squid ink) that arrive on a robotic conveyor belt. (Have I made my point yet?) Reality TV in general is bad enough already, and I don’t know who sat in the focus groups for “Extreme Chef” but honestly no one wants to watch people cook in a simulated wind storm while hurling insults. Well, not anyone I know.

Remember when cooking shows taught people how to cook something? Gave you a few new recipes? I need to figure out what to cook for dinner, what to do with that leftover produce or which wine to serve with an entree. I will never need to know how to cook Skittles into appetizers.

Fortunately, you don’t need to rely on food television for recipes and you don’t  need to go out and buy a collection of cookbooks written by celebrity chefs.  The internet is an expansive resource when it comes to recipe hunting.

Some of my favorite stops for online recipe hunting are Tasting Table, Chow and Serious Eats. Other sites like Gojee and Allrecipes let you search by ingredient. Gojee even lets you add ingredients you don’t want to your search. If you’re in the mood for veg food, as I often am, Fresh365 allows you to search by season or category. Countless recipe blogs await you online.

And if all else fails, call your mother.

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