Small wonder people have problems keeping their girth in check

I am a pretty dab-hand at cooking up a mess of vittles, and I do so regularly. Wendy and I pretty much share the kitchen duties here, and it works well.

I’ve often maintained that one (probably the only one) advantage of having an alcoholic mother is that you learn pretty young how to prepare a meal that is tasty and nutritious – especially if you have younger siblings kicking around the childhood home.

Also, being divorced a bunch of times encourages you to turn your hand to preparing good meals, both for one’s own gastronomic pleasure and as a very effective romantic overture. Believe me, it works.

Aside from all that, however, I do not have a food fetish. I eat moderately, both at home and dining out, and I don’t go into orgasmic raptures over my grub. Food is food. It’s sustenance primarily, and while I have had some fine meals, I choose other elements of life to fantasize over.

That’s why this almost fetishistic obsession about chefs and their psycho-social meanderings amazes me. I mean, we have an entire channel devoted to cookery and dining. No wonder people are obese and coming down with type-2 diabetes in legions. I mean, it’s not entirely new to have programs devoted to the culinary arts. PBS used to trot out a few favorite chefs, including beloved (I believe) Julia and dat ole Cajun guy. My favorite was sodden alcoholic Floyd, who was usually pissed but also urbanely witty. And, who can forget Graham Kerr?

But, that was it. Not a whole channel, every day of the week. But it’s more than that. It’s the chefs that get me. These obnoxious, abusive egomaniacal pricks that viewers seem to masochistically obsess about and worship like some sort of superheroes rather than just cooks who get off on abusing their underlings.

If you ever watched that wonderful old Brit series, Chef, with Lenny Henry, you got a bit of the dynamic of the kitchen at a posh hotel. Problem is, the program, a comedy, wasn’t a stretch. His vicious berating of his underlings and his obsessive food snobbery didn’t stretch the truth.

Wendy once worked in the restaurant industry – including at some pretty high-end joints – and it was her observation that some of the chefs she dealt with in those days were egomaniacal borderline psychos and relentless and cruel bullies. So the charms of a lot of chefs escaped her utterly. She loved the program Chef because she said it was so true to her experience. She added that certainly not ‘all’ were of that abusive ilk but enough were that certain cooking gigs were borderline intolerable. She never, by the way, watches TV chef shows. They bring back negative memories.

None of the above, by the way, applies to that lovable old Chef Boyardee.

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12 responses to “Small wonder people have problems keeping their girth in check

  1. I don’t know if a a woman ever justified her ability to cook. Usually it’s when she CAN’T cook that we hear the history! As for you, young man, with a wife who has to face the soul-sucking corporate 9-5 (though at least she doesn’t have to face the ugliness of an urban commute) I think YOU should be doing at least 75% of the mess-hall duties. That said, I believe cookery is as much an art as any other and since we all have to eat, it kind of justifies the obsession on all levels (spectator sport included) in our rich and self-indulgent society, and like artistes of all stripes, big egos go hand-in-hand with the kind of risk taking needed to produce epic results.

    Signed,
    Artist with an Inferiority Complex

    • I’ll have you know, pretty Miss Smarty Pants, that I do at least 75% of the cookery chores around here, for exactly the reasons that you state. So there. I have a few dishes that are unexcelled according to my reviewers, though we don’t usually opt for gourmet delights during the week. But, I agree with you that there is indeed artistry in culinary preparation and smatterings of egomania. However, I rarely find rude, crude and abusive people entertaining, hence my lack of enthusiasm for some of the chef sorts.

  2. Alas, we live in an addictive world, and food is often like a drug for many. Your points make me glad I don’t have a television.

  3. Ah! Dear old Graham (sorry, G – you’re *not* old!) Chez Dinahmow we still,more than 40 years on, refer to a glass of wine as a short slurp.
    And Wendy is right on the button about some of the nastiness some chefs dish out.
    Love the Gordon ***Ramsay cartoon. ***funny. Unlike Gordon!

  4. My offering is a quote from a very well-girthed individual.
    “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
    I do agree Andrea. Foodery is art much of the time. I think I’m still painting by numbers much of the time.
    Love the Gordon Ramsey reference.

    • And of course Pavarotti’s girth bore testament to his love of gourmand delights. And Italian food is right up there with the best. Surpasses a lot of French cuisine.

  5. Chef may have been very close to home, but at least Gareth Blackstock was witty and creative in his insults, instead of just swearing as seems to be the limit for Gordon and Jamie.

  6. I for one, love food TV. Well, not the “restaurant redo” shows, nor the chef competition ones, but all those “chefs” who stand there and make a meal – à la Julia… One of my all time Food TV faves is Diners Drive-ins and Dives.

    Funny how much I love these shows and cookbooks, considering I do not cook – Mr. Jazz takes care of that aspect of our lives. I’ll gladly prep, but 99% of the time I can’t be bothered to cook.

  7. Well, Julia of course was legendary, and deservedly and her fetishistic love of butter must gall all the PC creeps that permeate our society. And I love cookbooks as well. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is a particular favorite of ourse because it’s such an entertainment. I’m sorry I neglected to mention it as being one of the good ones.

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