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Purgatory’s Kitchen

Posted by crowbiz on October 13, 2009

Reality Show #2.  That is, if I survive “Targeted” …..

I know, “Hell’s Kitchen” is already taken by the spokesman for culinary onanism, and I don’t need the name anyway.  As much as I dislike my kitchen, it’s not hellish, but it does feel like a place of never-ending penance from which I pray to someday be delivered.  


Perhaps there are a few cooking/lifestyle shows that have a shred of real life in them, but not like mine.  Viewers will be amazed that I can pull off anything more complicated than a peanut butter sandwich using an outdated kitchen that was badly and cheaply updated by a previous owner in the mid ’80s.  


My stove is vintage 1920s.  We have to light it with a match, which is why my two boys still cannot make their own grilled cheese sandwiches.  Next to the stove is our dog’s large crate, the top of which handily doubles as extra counter space.  Dishwasher?  Yes indeed, handed down from a friend years ago, it’s a harvest gold, roll-to-the-sink, hose-hookup classic, but what I love more than anything about it is that… it washes dishes.  Floor:  old maple floorboards whose planks are far enough apart to fit whole Cheerios; one could fashion a meal out of all the food particles to be found in the crevass-riddled, uneven surface (anything dropped will roll east).



Twenty-seven Hail Marys may not be enough

Twenty-seven Hail Marys may not be enough



Despite the picture I’m painting, I’m a pretty good cook most of the time, you just may not want to see how it’s done.  Therein lies the thrill of the reality show.  Dropped food on the floor?  Let’s dispense with the 5-second rule, which is ridiculously stringent when a good 5 minutes will do.  In my best Julia Child voice I’d chirp, “Who’s to know?”  Do you like to see chefs work with fancy appliances and utensils?  Years ago I whipped up a multi-dish full-on chicken dinner and trimmings using nothing but a teaspoon, all the while cradling a 6-week-old infant in my left arm.  Iron Chef, my ass – they’ve got nothing on the One-Armed Chef.  Though I don’t even drink coffee, I’ve lovingly ground coffee beans for Mr Crow with a mortar and pestle, looking and feeling like a peasant in an antique Columbian lithograph.  Our kitchen compost bucket is a plastic detergent tub, not a celebrity chef-designed….uh, plastic bucket.  For suspense, tension and cliff-hanging two-part episodes, we occasionally host holiday dinners for Mr Crow’s enormous family, sometimes staging – if not exactly entirely cooking – dinner for 38-40 people.


To keep things interesting on my show, I’ll happily lick my fingers like Nigella Lawson and bend over the dishes like Giada – my boobs are bigger but probably won’t film as well as hers.  I always love how Nigella’s fridge shows unlabeled plastic baggies of leftovers and lots of Snickers bars.  Mine has a whole cow eyeball in formaldehyde which I use when teaching Sensation & Perception; it was obtained from a student who’s father has some unclear connection to the Erie County Medical Examiner’s office, but he offered, and that’s not the kind of thing I turn down.  It’s right between the homemade fig and rosemary jam and a ramekin of bacon grease.


Food Network, enough with the “Overweight Guy Eats Weird and/or Diner Food” programs.  Get real.  It’s the least you could do after unleashing Rachel Ray on the world.  We have a place in Purgatory for you, if not lower down.



Charming kitchen vignette designed to distract you from the harvest gold dishwasher

Charming kitchen vignette designed to distract you from the harvest gold dishwasher




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