Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daddy on "Chopped"

I never understood the appeal of cooking shows on television; they seemed about as boring to me as watching golf. But then The Wife started watching Chopped on The Food Network. It didn't take long for me to get hooked.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it is a cooking competition. Contestants are given a basket with four seemingly incompatible and often strange ingredients and are given a time limit to put together the best dish that they can. Three judges determine whose food is best, and one contestant is eliminated, or "chopped," at the end of each round.

If you've ever watched Chopped you've wondered how you would do on the show, or what you would try to put together with the ingredients provided. Reactions range from, "I could do better than that," to "At the very least I'd get all the ingredients on the plate," to "I wouldn't have the foggiest idea what to do with those pickled pig's feet." But, most who watch the show think they could do okay on it.

Not me. I've never thought I would do very well in the Chopped kitchen. I'm too slow. And the other morning, as The Wife and I were cooking breakfast together, I had a vision of how it would go if I ever appeared on Chopped. It went a little something like this:

Ted (Host): I'm a little concerned with what's going on at Joe's station. So far he only has been working with one of the four basket ingredients. He's spent fifteen of his twenty allotted minutes just cutting up the cantaloupe!

Alex (Judge): I don't think he's even touched the sturgeon filet, clam juice, or jicama! Does he have a plan at all?

Geoffrey (Judge): He really needs to get that sturgeon filet cooking soon. No one wants to eat raw sturgeon.

Amanda (Judge): To be fair, he has had some distractions. His two year-old daughter keeps coming up to him demanding that he "wipe it up," referring to her nose. He's wiped her nose at least six times while trying to get that cantaloupe cut up.

Geoffrey (Judge): I've noticed that, and it makes me a little concerned. He hasn't washed his hands after any of those nose wipings. It's a bit worrying.

Alex (Judge): He's really struggling with that cantaloupe. And besides the runny-nosed toddler, he's also having to deal with a barrage of questions from his six year-old. Questions like, "Who would you want to win if BYU were versus the Patriots? What if the Patriots were playing the Utah Jazz? Who would you want to win that?" I can understand why he's struggling.

Ted (Host): Contestants, you'd better get your appetizers on the plates! You have less than 30 seconds!

Amanda (Judge): Look, Joe is making a mad dash to the pantry and the refrigerator! I can't see what he got!

Alex (Judge): It'll be interesting to see what he is able to get on the plate.

Ted (Host): Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Okay, contestants, time is up, step away from your plates!

(After a commercial break) Ted (Host): Joe, describe for the judges what you have for them today.

Joe: Well, I've got some chopped cantaloupe with some string cheese, goldfish crackers, and a juice box. And then to the side I have a glass with some clam juice in it, with a piece of raw sturgeon filet and jicama sticking out of it.

Geoffrey (Judge): How exactly did you prepare the sturgeon, the jicama, and the clam juice?

Joe: Oh, I didn't prepare them at all. I just threw them together so they'd be on the plate. I wouldn't recommend eating them.

Amanda (Judge): So, why the string cheese and goldfish crackers?

Joe: Well, I'm a dad. I know what the kids will eat. They'll always eat string cheese and goldfish crackers. If I had more time, I would have made some macaroni and cheese.

(A crying toddler approaches Joe, pulls on his leg, and starts screaming.) Toddler: Wipe it up! Wipe it up!

Alex (Judge): You seemed to be a bit distracted out there today.

Toddler: Wipe it up! Wipe it up!

Joe: Yes, just a little bit.

(After another commercial break) Ted (Host): I'm sorry, Joe, but you've been Chopped!

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