I’m a Food Network Phoney

Posted March 27, 2011 by jimhigley

I’m not Giada. Nor am I Paula or Rachel. Sandra? Nope. And Bobby, Guy and Alton could all make minced meat out of me. Any day.

A chef I am not.

But somehow I found myself, last week, pretending to be one at Naperville’s Whole Foods Market as part of a fun cooking demonstration featuring a couple terrifically talented TribLocal contributors- Vanessa Nunley and Johanna Cook. And me.

When my friends at TribLocal asked me to join in the festivities, I responded with an immediate “yes!” It sounded fun. And while I bill myself as a non-cook, I actually can do a few basic things. I’m not terrible at following a recipe. But last week I learned that there’s a world of difference between the skills I possess and those of someone who can comfortably stand before a room full of people waiting to be dazzled. I knew I was in trouble when I saw a woman in the front row start to take notes thirty seconds into my talk. That would be about the same time I was thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, I think I just accidentally poured in double the amount of olive oil the recipe calls for!”

I just kept reminding myself, “Never let them see you sweat. Never. Never. Never.”

Believe it or not, I did get through the demonstration – in spite of some overcooked onions and some pasty pasta. And I did manage to prepare a pretty believable looking display of “Bobblehead Dad Pasta with Savory Chicken and Broccoli.” I think.

And for all my fumbling through the twenty minute slot, I actually learned something: cooking is much like writing. They both are about the process and gift of nourishing others. They rely on mixing and blending the tools at hand – either ingredients or letters – in a manner that results in something enriching, enjoyable, and memorable. Both cooking and writing come not only from your hands. But from your heart.

I like that. A lot.

So, the next time one of the kids whines because they’re hungry, I might just whip up a delicious Haiku for them to chew on.

This dad’s sticking to writing. Bon appetit.

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Page for my book, “Bobblehead Dad!”

  • Suzette Standring

    You're going to whip up a haiku next time?

    Let me dish up a (bad) one:

    Your pasty pasta
    Boiled in love and with intent
    Never ever sweat
    Eat pray love chicken

  • Jack

    Both cooking and writing come not only from your hands. But from your heart.

    I like that, probably because I agree completely.