Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Cooks vs. Professional Chefs

I have been watching The Next Food Network Star. At the moment I am quite annoyed with Paul. He thinks he's quite a big shot, and not only is he condescending to the other contestants, he disparaged home cooks! Just because you aren't a classically or formally trained chef doesn't mean you can't prepare excellent food. And being a home cook doesn't mean you aren't capable of fixing food to serve hundreds of people, like the recent challenge of catering for Colbi Calliat's Grammy after-party. Anyone who has ever planned a wedding, a ward party, missionary welcome home, or has done food for a funeral is capable of feeding a large group. Basically, if you've ever been involved in anything concerning a church function you can pull that off.

I'll give you that home cooks differ from restaurant chefs. Unless you are out of your mind a home cook only prepares one meal at a time, not a different meal for each member of the family. From watching Supernanny I know there are a few exceptions out there, but for most of it there are two choices for dinner, which are take it or leave it. That's how it works around here.

And at home we have to wash our own dishes, so there isn't a never-ending stream of clean pots and pans appearing before us. And more often than not the home chef, aka Mom, ends up cooking the whole meal herself. There is not always a sous chef to help pick up the slack. Sometimes there is a little helper who insists on mixing the food or hanging on to your pant leg, but that is more of a hindrance than a help.

Home cooks are no strangers to food critics. Although a key difference is that we can opt to send the critic to their room without dinner, while a chef just has to take it.

I like the Food Network. Although there a few chefs I really can't stand watching, namely Rachel Ray-she's just too dang perky-I have learned a lot of new techniques and gotten a lot of ideas to try. The favorite waffle recipe in our house is Emerils.

So while I haven't picked a favorite chef to root for on this seasons Star, I definitely do not want Paul to win. And it's doubtless that a lot of other home cooks, which is most of the demographic for Food Network, agree with me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tennessee Part One

Was it lying when I led the TSA to believe that I had forgotten to take the DVD player out of my bag when it was actually my netbook I had forgotten to take out? It would have been extra hassle, and we already had enough hassle what with trying to take a YooHoo through for H.

The Atlanta airport is evil and should be avoided at all costs. I landed in A, had to take a train to E, then they said my flight was in B, so I took a train to B, and they said to go back to E. Yeesh. I ending up doing this journey with a couple I met in the train. Once they finally started boarding our flight they called us up by zones, to walk down the walkway to a stairway to get on a bus to go to the airplane. Zones really worked well for that. Then we sat for an hour on the tarmac, waiting to takeoff. There was no beverage service on this flight, and they made us turn off our phones. Since Brent and H were flying on Southwest and I was on Delta (a free flight is a free flight), it was a good thing I managed to fire off a text letting him know I was running behind.

Once I got to Tennessee, Brent made us eat at the Awful House—I mean Waffle House. H ate a grilled cheese sandwich and ¼ of my waffle. At least this time Brent didn't make me try grits.

Brent met me at the airport with a icy cold Diet Dr. Pepper. It's nice to be loved.

To be continued…

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Bucket List

Having just marked one thing off the bucket list (be in a play), I have started to wonder what I/we should tackle next. You see, it's a family bucket list, with a few things on it that are obviously mine (like Brent is going to learn to make molten chocolate fudge cake) and a few that are Brents like visit 50 states. He has two left, and we're going to Tennessee next week. The other is Alaska.

Other things that we have already done are: visit the Mystery Spot, visit the Winchester Mystery House, see Niagara Falls, visit Arches, go to Mt. Rushmore, go to Washington DC, and we have been all over New York State.

The current list:

Carlsbad Caverns

Glacier National Park

Yellowstone (we've been there, but H hasn't)



Go to Catalina Island (again, H hasn't been)

Great Stone Face (I'm not sure if Brent has been there or not, but there is a rock formation that is in the shape of Joseph Smiths head)

Paul Bunyan's Log Pile (Brent and I found this, and H hasn't been)

Make Macaroni Grill Lemon Cake

Disneyland/Disney World (Spring Break of 2011)

Gettysburg (the one thing we didn't see when we were in DC)

Go on a Cruise


Rome/Italy (I want to visit all the things mentioned in Angels and Demons)

Set-up model train in basement

Take H on a river run

Take H to New York City


Timpanogas Cave (take H before it shuts down)

Heber Creeper

Durango, Colorado

Grand Canyon

Find, Destroy Atlantis

Drive through Uintahs (that's a Brent one)

Be on Wheel of Fortune (Lindsay)

Write a book (again, Lindsay)

South American Ruins

Visit all 50 states (so close Brent)

Scuba Diving


I'm thinking the next on the list will be the Great Stone Face or Paul Bunyans log pile. It is way too freaking hot to visit Hole-In-The-Rock, and we will most likely do Zions or Bryces for fall break. Perhaps we will do Timp. Cave while my nieces are out here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


We used to go up to a cabin in Hobble Creek Canyon. It was generally the same group of people, Brent and I, my parents, my brothers and my Aunt Chandra and my cousin Stef. We would hang out, play a lot of games-it seems like Cataan really should have been settled by now-eat tasty food and just relax. We would also watch movies, and after awhile it became a contest to see who could bring the stupidest movie. I usually won that particular competition.

The most fun I ever had at the cabin was one October when we had three four-wheelers at the cabin. It had been raining, so the roads were fairly muddy. It was the afternoon of our last day, and for some reason Nate, my dad and I decided to go out for one last ride. It was freezing, it was muddy, and it was raining. I could barely see more than a few feet in front of me, and by the time we got back to the cabin we were all absolutely covered in mud. During the whole drive the thought that kept me going was that when I got back to the cabin I could get into the hot tub that was waiting for me. My dad was thinking the same thing. Unbeknownst to us, Nate had already drained the hot tub. You can imagine our disappointment when we returned to the cabin, muddy, wet and freezing, and there was no hot tub waiting for us. Since my shoes and pants were covered in mud, I ended up wearing my pajamas home. And since I had no extra shoes I seem to recall Brent helping me into the truck in my stocking feet.

Even though it took awhile to warm up, and we had to tease Nate about draining the hot tub for years, that is still one of the best times I ever had at the cabin. We haven't been up in a couple of years, and I'm not sure if or when we will go up again. Now that my mom is gone it's hard to muster the ambition to go up. My memories of the cabin are so full of memories of her that I just don't know if I'm ready to go back.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gravy Train

It is not in your best interest to interrupt the gravy train. While I have no idea where that expression came from, I do have a lot of examples of why this is a bad idea. For starters, you will lose your supply of baked goods. I bake a lot. In fact, more than most people I know, and I will often share my plethora of baked goods with others. When someone says "Thank you. I love homemade bread," I appreciate it. When they are happy to get homemade from scratch brownies or cookies, I'm happy too. But when they say something like "oh, I don't eat flour any more" or "thanks but I'm on a diet" or "I don't like that anymore" it ticks me off. And when I'm ticked off, the baked goods stop coming. And when the diet inevitably ends, as they always do, no baked goods are coming anymore.

The same with movie and party invites. I understand that everyone can't go to everything. And I understand that things come up. But when you say you're coming and don't, and when I bought your movie ticket because you said you were coming and then you didn't, guess who isn't getting invited to the movies anymore. And guess who isn't invited to parties anymore?

And guess who is at the bottom of my list. And if you are at the bottom of my list, I am not going to go out of my way to help you. If you have a problem, you're going to have to deal with it on your own, because I'm done with you. The gravy train is no longer stopping at your stop. And it's your own fault.