Let me get one thing perfectly clear, Little Debbie has served my specialty cake needs for my entire life. Why should I subject myself to the humiliation of those TV bakers who make custards from fifty-year-old cognac? Sure, I don’t get to eat what they craft on the British Baking Show, but when you’re looking at a cake which looks like a doghouse, and has a blue bone shape showing in the center of every slice, Zebra Cakes suddenly don’t seem quite so special.
I guess the real question is; Why do we need so many cooking shows of any kind? Why do those TV people want to make fools of us normal people who consider an All-You-Can-Eat Fish-Fry a special event? Also, where do they come up with the contestants for these shows? Look, I know a lot of folks who like to cook. I even have a friend who has published a couple of recipe books. But, I’ve never met anyone who requires Madagascar Vanilla for their Religieuse. That’s just nuts. By the way Little Debbie doesn’t make religieuse. She makes a stack of mini creampuffs. It’s the same thing but only costs two bucks.
The problem is, competitive cooking shows are all over the place. I realize there have been celebrity chefs around for years. But those shows are easy to handle. Look, I’m not the greatest cook in the world. So, if some guy or woman who has trained for two-hundred years, knows more than me, it’s cool. I don’t see why they need to use a spice called Grains of Paradise (?) and all those other ingredients no one has ever heard of, but hey, it’s their show. In the last few years, though, the shows are more about taking people off the street just so they can show me up. “Gee Mr. Ohh!, only a total ignoramus wouldn’t know that you use Turkish Feta in Mandarin Orange Flan.” Look, I wrote that last sentence and even I don’t know what it means. But contestants on cooking shows do. And the more shows, the more I find out how much I’m missing.
I mean let’s talk about bread for a minute. When I grew up there was one kind, white. Not tremendous, but it served peanut butter and bologna together and, more importantly, everyone knew what it was. Times changed, and as I grew into adulthood I learned the beauty of whole wheat and rye. Subway restaurants have six kinds of bread. Now that may be a little over the top, but hey, I can deal with it. At least it’s all very loaf-like. I don’t need my bread to look like a castle, or even the dragon burning it down. But apparently, the folks in Britain do. They make sculptures out of bread, then do something I completely don’t understand. They commit the ultimate crime. Some contestant takes three hours to sculpt Buckingham Palace out of salted rye, cranberry, tea cakes just so a heartless judge can utter, “Quite creative,” and then rip it apart, eat the spires, and complain it’s too sweet. No sandwich, no nothing. Just a pile of unused bread for the birds to eat. Let’s hope somebody at least got a picture for Facebook.
Actually, the Little Debbie kitchens don’t produce bread. Come to think of neither does the British show. They do the whole thing in a tent in the middle of a sheep field. I’ve been in a sheep field and I can tell you that the subtle aroma of bread baking is completely destroyed by the pungent bouquet of Sheep Dip! Feces aside, I can barely figure out what the hosts are talking about. When they make yeast breads, they are always talking about proofing them. Look, I understand the limits of driving when drinking 100 Proof whiskey, but now I have to worry about the proof of the bread in my sandwich. But I digress.
You may be thinking: this comparison is all very general. Ok, I’ll get specific. One of my favorites is a seasonal treat called Spice Cake. Don’t know what spice is in it. Don’t want to know. It’s good and that’s it. I think the average person gained most of their knowledge about spices listening to Paul Simon. (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme). Of course when Paul was around there was a whole other herb folks were putting into brownies. But the less said about that the better.
But those folks on the baking shows are way too serious about spices. They constantly infuse everything with Rosemary. What’s that all about? Is there some chick named Rosemary who walks out and bleeds on everything? Or does she just have to touch it? And are all Rosemary’s the same? I know two Rosemary’s. One is a Sunday school teacher and the other is a real tramp. Imagine the horrors of including the wrong one in your recipe. Then someone told me Rosemary is a spice. Well the tramp certainly is. But I better let this go right now before I get into trouble.
I guess the real deal must be the judges. Little Debbie’s only judge is us. Since we’re not all traveling to Tennessee to judge them, they just keep going right along. Those Brits have two very hard-to-please judges right there in the tent with them. They stick their noses in the air and say things like, “This has a very soggy bottom.” Or, “The fondant was too thick.” What the schnarts is fondant? As a public service to you all I searched to the ends of the earth to find out. (Actually, I Googled it.) Fondant is decorative icing, named for the French word for ‘melt’. Why are they naming things in French? It’s an English show set in England, speak English. I understand the words decorative icing, I don’t need your fondant. I do understand the reference to melt in that hot tent. Debbie never got so high and mighty. Look at a package of Christmas Tree Cakes. Right on the package it reads, “…with decorative icing…” Short, Simple, Understandable. And if they hate soggy bottoms so much, they should have been around my house when my kids were younger. I’m just saying.
So, I think I’ve proven my point very well and soundly thrashed the competition. That was a good British line. In fact, I think I’ll say it again. I soundly thrashed the competition. My fingers tingle just typing that. I deserve a treat I’ll have a favorite Little Debbie treat. A Twinkie. Me and Debbie, all the way.
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