Uncreative cook always needs recipes.

If Chef Gordon Ramsay asked me as a contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen” or “MasterChef” to prepare my signature dish, I’d prepare a medium-well steak, with a baked potato wrapped in tin foil. If you watch either of these shows, you know (a) that Ramsay expects all steaks to be medium rare (i.e. raw), and (b) doesn’t believe in the concept of an entre with sides but one cohesive dish.

Frankly, I don’t like raw steak or the one-dish concept where my steak is sitting on top of asparagus with a warm salad draped over the whole shebang.

If you present an entre on “Chopped” with separate side dishes, the judges say, the flavors are here, but it’s not a cohesive dish.

Best I can tell, Gordon, the judges on “MasterChef,” and “Chopped” all know how to cook. But, it’s fru-fru, Michelin Star cooking with all the food jumbled together on the plate with some puree or other used to decorate the empty space where the sides would normally go.

But, I digress. I do most of the grocery shopping and cooking in our house and my wife does most of the laundry.  I have the cookbooks I grew up with. Gordon would hate them. So that’s where I go for ideas. Like pot roast: there’s something you don’t see on “MasterChef” even though it’s certainly cohesive except not with a Waldorf salad perched on top of it.

We’re having barbecued pork on sesame seed buns for supper. The recipe came with the cookbook included with our Rival Crockpot ten years ago. The judges on “Chopped” love it when contestants say they learned to cook from their mothers’ expertise in the kitchen. I doubt they’d react with the same tearful “Aw, ain’t that wonderful” kind of comment if I said I was inspired by a cookbook from a slow cooker manufacturer.

My mother and my wife’s mother both cooked the way people were taught in the 1950s either via home economics or their own mothers. That’s still our foundation. And it really tends to make me suspect the foundation of all the beautiful people (dressed to the nines) who show up for a meal on “Hell’s Kitchen.”

I don’t think I want to know any of those people. They’re eating really weird stuff that would cause you to be shot if you asked for it at a Cracker Barrel. As I type this post, my Rival Crockpot meal is cooking in my Rival Crockpot. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Chef Ramsay.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing

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