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.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cooking show, possibly.

Cornelius got me all riled up the other morning about starting my own cooking show. I have to admit, it could probably work. I've been absorbing food knowledge for years and have cooked on a semi-professional basis several times. I've also seen about fifty thousand episodes of Emeril Live! so I know how butter up an audience (no pun intended). He handed me a note this afternoon with these absolutely awful possible titles:

1) The Savoury Saviour

2) Téodor's Temptations

3) Hip Lad Kitchen With Téodor Orezscu

It's kind of like having your dad name your rock band — every single word he says is going to sound like the worst possible idea that ever floated out of a mouth. I'm not sure how our dynamic will work out if he's producing my show, but hopefully I can manage it so that we stick to our respective strengths and no one's ego gets hurt.

What am I thinking of for the name of the show? I'm going to keep that a secret for now. I have it, and it's perfect, but I want a few more things to be in place before I lay that one down.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Beer Class Fin / Letter to Cook's Illustrated

I wrapped up Beer Class last weekend and bottled all my ale. It took a while, and my arm got sore from all the various movements it takes to get beer into an atmosphere-free bottle and pop a cap on it. I screwed up some of them and they're flat but for the most part I have a sizable quantity of imminently quaffable bottled beer. Not enough to throw the party I was thinking of, but enough to always have some on hand for the next few months. It's a nice feeling. An Amish kind of feeling.

Also, while I was making dinner tonight I came up with a technique that I felt was worth sending in to Cook's Illustrated, for their Tips & Techniques From Readers section. See if you spot this gem in their next issue:

Dissatisfied with drizzling and brushing as methods for getting olive oil onto bruschetta bread, I now pour the olive oil onto a dinner plate and rub the bread around in it. This gives me a perfectly even coating that is ready for grilling.

This technique also applies well to the bread for grilled panini.

Best Regards,
Téodor Orezscu
Achewood, CA

As soon as I came up with that I knew it would be perfect for their mag. Usually it's just filler from housewives who think it's brilliant that their biscuit cutters do double-duty as cookie cutters. My bruschetta technique is kickass.