Monday, May 16, 2005

Cooking show playalong

I think I can outlast Cornelius in terms of our clashing visions of what my cooking show should be. He wants me to prance around like Graham Kerr, that dandy TV cook from the 70s whose Galloping Gourmet epitomized the chauvinism, social conservatism, and culinary naïveté of that era. Anyone with a tie and a good haircut was a slap-on-the-back chap of the highest order, and food simply did not come alive until it swam in a bath of hot cream and singed brandy. Often times he treated us to his thoughts on those who opposed the established social order (he opposed them) and it was not atypical that at the end of his opening joke a female protagonist was set adrift on a boat that took her far away from good men.

When someone's dead-set on their vision for you, the best thing you can do is try on the sweater and show it doesn't fit. I put the dumb outfit on and "huzzah'd" my way around the set, hamming it up like the old episodes. Instead of a monolog, I smiled directly into the camera and quipped "I feel like an absolute fag!" before dashing over to the fridge and getting out two sticks of butter, some heavy cream, and a shrimp. "I also love to salt this dish!" I bubbled, as I made my way to the prep counter. "Un Scampi alla Onda di Grasso, dal chef Téodor!"

I threw the cream, butter, and a dash of salt into a hot frying pan before showing off by chopping up an onion without looking (I pushed the minced onion onto the floor and danced on it like an Italian woman crushing grapes for wine). "Oh look," I said as I jumped, "I'm an old Italian bird making wine for her battore!" (I have no idea what "battore" means, if anything.)

Cornelius was starting to get the picture by this point, and stood there with his arms folded. When the butter and cream rose to the boil I took the shrimp, butterflied it, and held it above the hot liquid. In my most charming of voices I looked at it and said, "My darling, why couldn't you have had better tits!" before dropping it into the pan. I immediately started clapping for myself and hurrahing and that's when I remember Cornelius dropping his clipboard and storming out.

He left some message on my voice mail about talking about what happened, but I'm not really sure we need to work together. The camera is at Ray's house, and Ray's kitchen is at Ray's house, and I know how to turn the camera on and work the editing software. The camera also has this cord that the actor can use to start and stop the recording.