Sunday, April 15, 2007

I have a problem

I realized a short time ago that I am hopelessly addicted to the Food Network. This is quite possibly the greatest channel ever in existence and so now I shall lay out for you my top 10 Food Network shows/personalities.

1. Everyday Italian
Not only is Giada de Laurentiis smokin’ hot, but she makes really great food.

2. Ricardo and Friends
See, it’s not all about the women. Ricardo has so much energy and vibrance when he cooks it makes me want to flambĂ© household objects just to be in the kitchen. His French accent rules and his food is elegantly simple.

3. Iron Chef America
Now instead of engaging in a healthy round of schaudenfreude while watching the cheesy excesses of the original Iron Chef, I am watching ICA because it is highly entertaining and endlessly inspiring. Only if they would get rid of Alton Brown (his show, Good Eats, being conspicuously absent from this list).

4. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
This is the show where famed British chef Gordon Ramsay helps struggling restaurants figure out why their business is failing and gets them back on track. Which is to say it involves ubiquitous use of the f-word (to the point of irrelevance) and absolute emotional annihilation of the failing chef. My gosh is it great TV.

5. Sugar
Anna Olson is also beautiful, but not so much as her succulent creations (she is a pastry chef and so makes all things sweet).

6. Nigella Lawson
Whenever I get a glimpse of her I remember why I love women with curves. Besides, she puts so much passion into cooking, you wonder if she has any left over for her husband.

7. Chef At Home
I only wish that I could create the same masterpieces without a recipe as Chef Michael Smith. Although, if I had a pantry so stocked as his, it would be much easier.

8. 30-Minute Meals
Although Rachael Ray can be nauseatingly annoying, there is something about her show that is strangely intriguing. Mostly it is the thought of concocting anything edible in 30 minutes. This for me is a completely foreign concept. Ask Sarah.

9. Paula’s Home Cooking
Yes, she is a prototypical Southerner, with charm, hospitality, and the funky accent. But it is her food and her kitchen that get me every time. Her kitchen is so freakin’ cool. Just take a look if you ever watch it. And anyone that uses a pound of butter in pretty much everything she makes is fantastic in my books.

10. Restaurant Makeover
Although I know Sarah hates this show, I just love it. It is the perfect mix of renovation, makeover, and food concoctions.

Well , there it is. I know mom will be horrified I did not include Barefoot Contessa, but she just doesn’t do much for me. Oh, and This Food, That Wine, and Good Eats are quite possibly the crappiest food shows ever made.

Home Sweet Home!

In the spirit of our trip “home”, this Hot and Not segment will focus on things we encountered along the way.

Hot: Alberta roads
Oh my gosh. No comparison. There is actually open land next to the highway, instead of an impenetrable wall of forest and rocks in which angry night moose can lay in waiting ready to pounce. Not only that, but there are shoulders wide enough to use as an extra lane, you can see more than 10 feet ahead of you because they are relatively straight, and you don’t feel like you are sitting on a really old, very dysfunctional washing machine going through the spin cycle with the clothes all on one side.

Not: Loss Damage Waiver
Loss Damage Waiver is a somewhat necessary insurance plan purchased when one rents a vehicle. We were under the impression that our vehicle insurance had rental coverage on it. We were mistaken. Upon arrival to the Edmonton International Airport, we went to pick up our minivan rental (a Ford Freestar, also NOT), and were informed we should purchase LDW. The cost? A piddly $25 a day, rounding off to a stomach churning $250 for the trip. So our vehicle went from what we were quoted at, ~$375, to over $700 after taxes, etc. All in all, we spent $926 on the freakin’ rental car, as the gluttonous beast consumes fuel at a horrifying rate (a paltry 25 mpg, although seemingly less in practice). Do yourself a favor next time you rent a car: call your insurance company before hand and have them add renter’s insurance. It is worth it. (On a side note, we are glad we purchased it. Two people dropping off their cars the same morning as us are stuck with the bill to replace the windshield because it has a small chip and they didn’t get LDW.)

Hot: Elliot and Sacha
It is like they both knew they were cousins. It was love at first sight. So many kisses and hugs and beautiful moments. Awesome.

Not: 4 hour layover in Pearson airport with a 7-month old, too much baggage, and no damn baggage carts (‘nuf said)

Hot: Travelling Sacha
What an awesome little dude. He did so great on the planes and we were so impressed with his behavior on the two 6-hour drives between Peace River and the farm. Plus, he didn’t play strange with anyone, not even anonymous airport admirers. He warmed right up to his grandparents, to their obvious delight. And the biggest bonus of all: he slept just as well in Alberta as he does at home. Now we just have to decide where to take him next winter. Cuba sounds good to me.

Not: Lack of Starbucks in Timmins
My body is still excreting Starbucks from our trip as every time we were within driving distance of a Bucky’s, we took advantage of it. So expensive, but so wonderful.

Hot: Stanley Cup Playoffs
Okay, so I am a closet hockey fan. I never watch a single game during the regular season, but I am a sucker for the postseason. Mostly because I enjoy making charts with stats and attempting to formulate some sort of algorithm that will predict the outcome of the playoffs. This makes up for my lack of basic hockey intuition and knowledge. For the record, my three separate algorithms predict the following finals: San Jose over Ottawa, Anaheim over Ottawa, or New Jersey over San Jose. We’ll see which one prevails. I will keep you up to date.

Not: Going back to work tomorrow