It’s a little embarrassing, how much I like watching cooking shows. And one of the more amusing parts of this admission is that for TWO YEARS, I secretly watched the Food Network without ever hearing the voices of any of the celebrity chefs. “What is she talking about?” you might ask. Well, here’s the thing. For some odd reason, people in the gym seem to be drawn to cooking shows while they’re burning off calories. And so, for quite some time, I would go to the gym, get onto an elliptical or a treadmill or some other piece of cardio equipment, crank up the high-octane playlist on my iPod, and peek over to my neighbor’s video monitor while Giada, or Ina, or Alton, would be preparing some luscious treat.
Then I blew out my back, had surgery, and spent a month on the couch recovering. TV snob/athlete that I am, I refused to turn on the television until 4:00. But then–bliss. Those kitchens! That perfectly chopped set-up for whatever dish was on the menu! Those gorgeous serving pieces! Total escapism. Who knew that Ina Garten would be so gentle and kind, or that Gina and Pat Nealy could be so cute together, or that Alton is so goofy?
Once I went back to work, I gave up my TV-cooking thing. Until 11 months later, when my back blew out again, I had another surgery, and I ended up in the same spot on the same couch for another month, with the same 4:00 rule. That was 10 months ago. And now, I’ve even got my 11-year-old hooked on cooking shows. He loves it when Bobby Flay gets chosen for Iron Chef, and he wants to have dinner with Ted Allen. He’s all set to help me record the 3-minute video to audition for “The Next Food Network Star.” Do I need to worry about this?