I did a very bad thing on New Years Day. No, it had nothing to do with the copious amounts of Champagne I drank the night before…I did something that probably was not the most prudent thing to do for someone who is trying to manage her day more productively. You see on New Year’s Day, I turned on the OWN channel. That’s right, I clicked the remote to channel 115 here in NYC and for hours upon hours, watched the new Oprah Winfrey Network. I guess it’s not the worst thing since this network is devoted to mindful programming, but I need more TV to watch like I need a hole in the head.
The shows are really entertaining and inspiring however, and while I don’t think I will be watching each and every one, there are a few that have already made it onto my DVR list.
One such show is Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag. As you may or may not have learned about me, I am quite the foodie. I am often gifted with wonderful cookbooks by friends and family. I love trying new foods, restaurants, and cooking on my own as well,so I was highly intrigued by this show.
This is not your traditional “come into my kitchen and I’ll show you how to cook.” As much as I appreciate and enjoy those shows, there is already a whole network devoted to that. This show takes a creative approach to something we have all done at some point in our lives…prepared something from a cookbook. Each episode focuses on the hosts, Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic (average home cooks), preparing various dishes from one professional cookbook. But it doesn’t stop there. After they prepare their meal they serve it to a professional chef or food expert who rates their meal and determines how successfully they followed the cookbook’s instructions. They in turn also rate the ease of the cookbook’s instructions. GENIUS!
I have to admit, at first I had my doubts about the show. In the first episode where they cook out of Julia Child’s wonderful “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, Kristina seemed a little too goofy for my tastes and it seemed like Anna was doing all the main work. But then I found myself laughing out loud at their attempt to make pâtés en croûte and the subsequent taste test of said dish by French chef, Alain Raye. His laughter at the first bite was infectious and it was at this point that I became a fan. I have often times found myself in their position: What does it mean when the recipe calls for a scant of something–how big is a scant? How much is a pinch? Is my pinch less then Julia Child’s pinch? And on and on go the questions and perhaps insecurity of whether my dish will come out resembling the books version. I would love the chance to get honest feedback from a professional chef without having to go to culinary school and this show provides a glimpse into what that would feel like. Although if Eric Ripert, Mario Batali, or Lidia Bastianich would like to come to my apartment for dinner any time soon, the invitiation is open.