Why My Kitchen is Not the Setting for a Reality Cooking Show

I'm raising a young chef.  Even as I type this, I'm scratching my head -- which is hard to do because both typing and scratching require the coordinated use of your fingers.  She doesn't get this from me.  At this juncture in life with three young children underfoot, my cooking philosophy is "Eat to Live."  There's little art involved, just survival.

It's a shame because when someone cooks with flair, it's beautiful.

I noticed this the other day when my daughter bypassed cartoons in order to watch a show on the Food Network.  When she discovered this channel she looked at us deeply as if we had been depriving her, as if she were thinking, Food Network, where have you been my whole life?

The chef was making lobster risotto.  My daughter was enthralled and, to be honest, I was too.  Everything about the way she worked was systematic, smooth, calm, and pleasant, and for a moment I felt desire rise up within me to cook.  Not just to cook -- but to create something exceptional.

Then I snapped back into reality.  Because what I'd actually like to see on the Food Network is a reality cooking show.  It can be filmed at my house, and it would go something like this:

At the start of the show, I'd scramble to see what we have in the refrigerator and make a quick decision that we'd be having tacos.  I wouldn't call it tacos, of course.  I'd call it Mexican Fiesta Night.  Two out of three children would cheer.  One would declare that she no longer likes Mexican food, although it was her favorite last week.

As I browned the ground beef and spoke to the camera about the fine aroma, my kids would begin fighting in the background about a toy that previously had been untouched for 17 days until one picked it up and the other two decided that they, too, must play with it instantly.  Cue commercial break.

Instead of having ingredients prepped and measured in adorably matching dishes at the onset, I would scramble to grate cheese, cut tomatoes, and shred lettuce, only to realize that we are nearly out of cheese and our lettuce is wilted.  At the last minute, I'd decide that canned corn would be a nice addition.  Isn't that color just beautiful, I'd comment, wiping my hands on my back pockets because my dish towel currently is serving as a blanket for someone's doll.

Periodically as I worked, small hands would reach onto the kitchen island to steal food items.  One child would wrap herself around my leg, hindering my movement around the kitchen.  Someone would yell from the bathroom that they just went potty and need to be wiped.  Cue second commercial break.

Once I'm back, the camera would capture me delicately scooping meat and sprinkling a meager ration of cheese into each taco shell, confirming "You wanted a hard taco, right?" while making direct eye contact with each child and observing the nod of affirmation in return.  I'd carry plates to the table and we'd pray.  Mere seconds after "amen" one child would look at her plate, shocked, and announce, "But I wanted a soft taco."

Three minutes into dinner, I'd remember to sit down at the kitchen table.  Instead of leisurely sipping sangria from stemware, I'd be drinking water from a plastic cup with butterflies even though I'm positive that it's not my glass.  After wiping up one spill, dinner would be finished in six minutes.

I'd wipe down the table and clean up the highchair.  I'd sweep the remnants of cheese, ground beef, taco shell crumbs, and corn kernels from the floor, empty the trash, load the dishwasher, and finally sit down.

Two minutes would pass.  Someone would ask for a snack.

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Image compliments of Life123.com (Creative Taco Recipes)


  1. Christiane PottsApril 27, 2012

    You capture life so, so well. I only have one yet I can relate to just about everything you say (even the wilted lettuce and scant amount of cheese).  I would watch a reality cooking show with you. Really.

  2. You have described perfectly cooking and dinnertime with small children.  The only thing missing is some child in hysterics because their sister got the 'pretty spoon' instead of them.  

  3. This is true.  Our spoons are all the same, but we do fight over plates.  The "baby animals" plate is especially popular.

  4. Ah, Christiane, you make me feel so much better when YOU -- the Mom Chef -- acknowledge that your mealtimes resemble this. 

    If only the Food Network would take me on.Now what could the title of my show be?

  5. I'm so jealous you would be able to clean up the table and wipe down the high chair.  I have a 9 month old, so generally the girls get their food and I sit down to feed the baby, I attempt to have some family dinner conversation, but in about three minutes my three year old decides she's done, then the seven year old quickly follows, the baby decides he's done a few minutes after that, and by that time the girls have gone on to destroy or demand something else.  I never get to my dinner, or to cleanup, until they're all safely tucked in bed and by then everything has dried to whatever it was sticking to.  Alas, the entire prep I can relate to perfectly.

  6. Actually I would love to see a show like you described.  That is reality.

  7. This is perfect!  Oh, how I can relate! Love it~

  8. Hilariously true. I loved this. Especially the bit about sitting down, or not as the case may be. And your daughter's reaction to the Food prog. Thank you!

  9. Michelle ThuldaninApril 27, 2012

    So very, very yes. That is why everyone gets the boot out of the kitchen when I cook. I LIKE cooking and woe to those who get in the way.

  10. yes, this is my life. why can't we get on food network though? i think it would be great!

  11. Love it!!  So true, girl!!

  12. SO funny!  And of course I was also thinking that could be MY kitchen…always good to remember we are human, isn't it? :)
    Thanks for the laugh.

  13. Cooking is a great activity for any child. This sounds a lot like what happens in my kitchen as well. Thanks for the post!

  14. I'm starting to realize that this post seemed to tap into a universal theme.  I think it describes most every kitchen.

  15.  It would be a hit show among parents, that's for certain!


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