Signs You May Watch Too Many Cooking Shows

I think we watch too many cooking shows. We watch Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, The Next Food Network Star, The F Word, Kitchen Nightmares (English and American), Last Restaurant Standing, No Reservations, Iron Chef, The Chopping Block and four or five other fly-by-night shows that only made it one season.

There are some clear signs that ten cooking shows may be too many.

The other day we were going to have spaghetti and I asked my husband Mike: “Should I drop the pasta?” He mocked me quite a bit for that.

The next day I was taking some plates from the front room to the kitchen and set them down on the little cutout between the two rooms. Mike said: “Don’t leave them at the pass.” Ha! Commence reverse mocking.

I’ve found myself pronouncing “ricotta” that way that sounds more like you’re trying to swallow your tongue than actually saying “ricotta.” To be fair, I might have picked that up from watching The Sopranos.

Once, I called a filet of beef a “fillet” of beef, because I’d watched too many of the 5400 shows Gordon Ramsay hosts. You know the British call it a “fill-it” instead of the French “fil-aye” just to piss off the French. No other reason at all. I mean it is their word – clearly the French pronunciation is correct. That’s like my friend who told me I pronounce my last name wrong. No, I don’t. It’s my name. I could pronounce Vansant “Johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt” and I’m still right. Just ask Ralph Fiennes.

Thanks to Ramsay, I can’t even work in a kitchen without calling myself a “stupid cow” every time I screw up.  Before him I had no idea I was a misogynist. And a donkey.

Gordon has a new show called Master Chef. The man hosts so many shows he had his middle name officially changed to “overexposed.”

I hear next year they’re developing a show where Ramsay takes a giant dump and contestants have to guess what he ate. I’m sure I’ll tape that, too.


Sunday brunches I sometimes play Chopped with myself. Chopped is the show where, for three rounds, the chef contestants are presented a wicker basket with strange ingredients in it, for instance: squid, chocolate, chickpeas and maple syrup. They then have to make a dish out of those ingredients that doesn’t make the judges puke. Or, even more unlikely, make something that makes judge Alex Guarnaschelli look a little less like she’s been sucking on lemons all day.

On Sundays, I see what junk we have in the refrigerator and play “Chopped the Home Game” by trying to make something good out the unlikely collection of leftovers there. I have not yet bought a basket and asked Mike to put ingredients into it behind my back. Yet.

If, in 1965, you told someone that someday there would be a Food Network channel they would have choked on their Tang laughing. Now, food shows are 40% of what I watch; the other 60% comprised primarily of house shows and real crime. My husband watches most of these shows with me. We were watching Chopped with host Ted Allen recently when Mike said: “Hey, he’s from Queer Eye!” Wha – what? I’ve never even seen Queer Eye. How the hell did Mike know that!? Does he switch from Sports Center to Martha Stewart every time I leave the room? 

So, clearly, too many food shows. I’d write more but I’ve been in the weeds and neglecting my dinner. I need to go re-fire the steaks. Mikey wants it on the fly.


Amy Vansant

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