Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Impossible

I'm a fan of the Food Network. i like cooking shows and can sit with rapt attention watching a man turn chocolate and sugar into a tennis shoe that 4 judges will say looks like a tennis shoe and merits second place next to a combination of jelly beans and fairy dust that resembles Mel Brooks. I think that Alton Brown may be the best thing to explain sliced bread, and Iron Chef should be an Olympic event. I have even watched this show called "Dinner: Impossible."

I got over the cheesy (ha! food puns...) title and sat down to see how this annoying foreigner could make dinner for 6,000 people out of a pile of rice and a quart of phlegm, all in 23 minutes. Fascinating stuff. So I'm watching Alton (PBUH) discuss the merits of blanching peaches and in the commercial break there is a teaser for the next episode of Dinner: Impossible. In this episode, the intrepid Michael Symon (how pompous is that) has to do the following

"No Pork, No Pressure"
It's the King of all Pork vs. the Rabbi. Chef Michael Symon's mission is to create a kosher meal for the 2,000-year-old celebration of Passover. He must adhere to strict culinary guidelines and face a congregation that has sampled the best of every Jewish mother's cooking.

Come on...Jews everywhere have been cooking like this for a long time and now suddenly having to cook by our quaint rules for one meal turns the battle hardened TV star into a struggling culinary school drop-out?

What's next? Having to cook for a vegetarian? Wow...that must be tough for someone who is so used to wrapping his bacon in bacon. It just confirms what my mother has been saying to me and my siblings for years,

"cooking for you people is impossible!"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Parental Guidance is Requested

I have been wrestling with what my role is as a parent. My instinct is to protect my children. My gut says I have to let them explore the world and make their own mistakes. I wonder what my exact purpose is. So I read. Sadly, I read nothing about parenting so I haven't gotten any good answers from my worn out copy of The Binghamton New York Hadassah Cookbook.

In my role at work as a "teacher" (I put that in quotes to show that I know how to use the shift key) I require that students read things and for the sake of appearances, I occasionally read what I have assigned. So I started tackling summer reading and I read a couple of books. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and The Things They Carried, and I'm midway through (midway if the book were 30 pages long, but I have started it) The Glass Castle, and these little nuggets of summer tedium have shown me what my job is.

Being a parent requires that we walk a very fine line. It is great if our kids talk about us in glowing terms with their friends. It is acceptable if they say our names in school without spitting. It is even allowable for their childhoods to become fodder for those 45 minute hours at the therapist twice a week. But under no circumstances can we do anything that would motivate our children to write books about their childhood. That's my job – to stay out of print.

I have yet to read a memoir which has such entries as "In third grade, things were pretty much cool," or "and then, we went on vacation. It was ok." Show me a book which recounts such thrilling childhood experiences as "lunch" and "not hating my parents because they raised me normal and sent me to school, and camp and are nice people."

When those books reach the best sellers' chart and replace the "I was born into slavery and then things got really bad" books, then my kids can write about me.