Tuesday, 31 March 2015

My Kitchen Rules – Application for Next Season

I love My Kitchen Rules. I love the cooking. I love the drama. I love the competition. I love it when contestants create something so sensational that they even shock themselves, and I love the suspense of wondering which teams will be jettisoned too soon back to the real life they have sacrificed to take part in the show.

Now readers, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but I think I’d make a great MKR contestant, so I’m going to have a tilt at next season’s title. I’m not sure who I might have as my partner, but it probably should be someone I don’t plan on seeing again after the show. Maybe I’ll advertise in the Classifieds.

Having watched nearly every episode of My Kitchen Rules since the first season, I know what they are looking for. Most importantly, I can deliver those ‘this has never happened before’ moments the show needs.

I’ve put together a bit of a resumé, outlining what I can offer the show next season:

Let’s start with the grocery shopping before each instant restaurant or challenge. Obviously the important thing here is to take so long buying ingredients that cooking time is seriously compromised. I usually work with half a shopping list, then go back and forth across the shop and around the perimeter several times as I remember each of the other items. For key ingredients I like to wait until I’m home, then change the entire menu because I’ve forgotten the lamb for the lamb roast. OK so far?

Every year the instant restaurant rounds start with the boring reveals of Manu-crushes. Manu seems like a nice guy, but come on – the drooling, the eyelash-batting and flirting while Manu politely fends them off … ho freaking hum. It’s time to move things up a notch. I’m putting my hand up for a Benny Hill type of chase scene around the dining table with the appropriate soundtrack.

Oh, I almost forgot - I can cook. And I’ve made this one particular meal hundreds of times, so I can pretty much be guaranteed to balls it up on national TV. As far as desserts go, I’m happy to swing either way. I can pimp myself as the great dessert queen and then undercook the pastry, or I can complain every time I make a dessert, muttering something like “desserts aren’t really my forté … they really should have cancelled desserts this year”. Your call, really – either way I get to make a dick of myself so I’m up for that. I don’t need to ‘smash it out of the park’ every time, but I would like to say ‘smash it out of the park’ at fairly regular intervals if that’s OK.

I am happy to fill my menu with techniques I have never done before, using appliances I have never seen. I would prefer to Sous-vide my protein, especially if there is an easier method that would be more appropriate. It’s a knobbish technique that allows me to completely focus on maintaining the correct temperature for at least an hour while my partner does every other component of the meal. I always thrive on the suspense of not knowing if something is cooked to perfection, over-done, or completely raw, until it is time to plate up.

Strong accents always seem to appeal to viewers and other contestants, so I’ll work something up in that regard. This year we’ve seen the thickly layered French and Irish accents of Manu and Colin become thicker than ever in the face of some stiff competition from Robert’s languid Texan drawl. Just for a point of difference, I’ll be working on a bit of classic Australian Alf Stewart vernacular, peppered with lines like “stone the flamin’ crows, Pete, you want to see ME on a plate? Sounds like some of that Paleo mumbo jumbo if you ask me”, “those flamin’ yahoos haven’t got enough crunch in their dessert” or “strewth, me flamin’ palate’s confused by that flamin’ truffle oil”.

It always strikes me as miraculous when even the most frazzled contestants somehow manage to get their meal onto plates in the last 60 seconds? I’m sure the MKR viewers are secretly waiting for the countdown clock to wind down and there is nothing on the plates. Nothing. Not a thing.  Well, I’m fairly confident that I can make that happen. I can give MKR viewers that moment they’ve been waiting for.

There are several techniques I employ at home to make people wait that little bit longer to enjoy their food. I have been known to walk around the kitchen for ages like a complete numpty, looking for my oven mitt when it’s already on my hand. And I frequently send my husband to work with no cutlery for his salad. These are just a few of the special touches I can offer. Guaranteed to annoy the hell out of viewers and drive the ratings through the roof.  And if Pete and Manu look hungry and disappointed, just watch their faces light up when the pizza delivery guy arrives. See, I’m pretty tricky like that!

So that’s my application sorted. How do you like my chances, babe?

photo credit: Today's Special... Nothing via photopin (license)

Monday, 23 March 2015

Theme Reveal Blogging From A to Z April (2015) Challenge

Strap yourselves in readers, and please join me for a wild ride on the Blogging From A to Z April (2015) Challenge. 

The A to Z Challenge involves posting every day in April except Sundays, making a total of 26 blog posts, starting with A and ending with, well, you know how that goes. 

I have chosen to write around the theme of Food and Drink Memories. I’m not talking about descriptions of candle-lit dinners or gourmet delights. No. I’m talking about the way certain foods and drinks spark memories of people, places, or certain periods of my life. And you know there will be plenty from 'the olden days'.

 Now that I’ve finally come up with a theme I’m really excited about this challenge. I hope I’ll give you some entertaining reading, and I am also hoping to make some new friends along the way.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Have a Nice Day!

“Have a nice day!”

I don’t recall when customer service staff in Australia started saying this, probably about 20 years ago, but I remember it really bothered some people at the time. It was seen as too American.

I can’t say I cared one way or the other, and to be honest, I wish we’d just stuck with “have a nice day” because the crap we have to put up with now is much more annoying.

I’m all for a bit of chit-chat at the checkout - I find it quite soothing while I’m handing over an arm and a leg - but I’m not up for the scripted ‘filler’ type of conversations.

At 9.30 in the morning at the supermarket checkout, “How has your day been so far?” leaves me a little blank. “Yeah, great thanks. I had cereal and some coffee. Actually two cups. Stayed in the bathroom a bit too long, and then I couldn’t find my favourite bra, so I only had time to put vegemite on the kids’ lunch rolls instead of chicken and mayo like I’d planned to. Walked the kids to school, saw some rabbits on the way, walked home, got in the car, found a parking spot, filled my trolley with much more than I’d intended, and now, well, here I am!”

It just pisses me off when they come up with those brainless scripted questions. Half the time I get someone friendly who just picks up on something I say in passing and we have a general chat about that. And that’s always good. But the other half give me a blank look, and serve me up something annoying like “So what do you have planned for the rest of the day?” I really don’t know what they expect from me, because I’m pretty sure if I ran through my plans for the rest of the day I would leave them in some kind of semi-comatose condition. So I just say something like “Nothing exciting” or “Just the usual” and leave the premises feeling like a giant boring loser on her way back to Loserville.

I’m reminded of the days many years ago when I regularly visited the hairdresser at night, because I worked quite long hours. After a gruelling 2-3 hour session of foils and cutting, I was handed over to the apprentice to dry my hair. At this point it would be close to 9pm, but every time without fail she would say “So where are you going tonight with your new hair?” She always seemed disappointed when I sheepishly confessed that I was just going home. To this very day I still can’t figure out where she expected me to be going after 9pm on a Thursday night.

And then there are the up-selling questions, particularly at the petrol station. “Would you like a chocolate bar and bottle of coke with that petrol?” Nope, I just paid a king’s ransom for the petrol, so I don’t need a $3 chocolate bar that I could buy in the supermarket for $1. But thanks for the offer.

Bring back “Have a Nice Day”. It might not always be sincere, but at least I can just smile and wave. 

Or better still, given that I’ve just emptied the contents of my wallet to pay for your products, if you can't manage to come up with something interesting, just say "hi" and "thank you" and leave it at that.

photo credit: Have a nice day via photopin (license)