What's cooking in TV land

Television: Cooking shows have never been more popular or more bizarre (see: "The Ironic Chef"). The following scenario may not be as improbable as it first seems.

March 22, 2000|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,Sun Staff

"The Ironic Chef"

The Food Network Channel 48

8 p.m. Sundays

Last week, a new cooking show debuted, "The Ironic Chef." A studio audience was treated to Timonium cuisine when the Ironic Chef prepared what the world's greatest chefs call boiling water. Audience reaction ranged from, "It's very hot" to "I burned the roof of my mouth." On this week's program, the Ironic Chef has a few surprises up his short sleeves:

(Music intro. "How Do You Handle a Hungry Man? The Man-handlers ... " Cue the Ironic Chef.)

"Good evening, hungry men and all you man-handlers. Tonight, I'm going to show you husbands a few tricks in the kitchen that will score big points with the little lady. How many times have you heard this at home, 'Honey, if only you could make one meal -- it would be such a big help'?" (Audience applauds wildly).

"See? We've all heard that, as we're watching TV, when our wives come home whipped from work, then are expected to feed a family of five kids in the next 15 minutes and to help with their homework and piano lessons and drama club and school-book orders and field-trip permission slips and, oh yeah, the dog threw up rocks in the mud room.

"Enough whining already!" (Camera shows male audience members on their feet, hollering and high-fiving each other.) "I'm now going to show you guys a quick and simple way to prepare a meal for the whole family. Your wife will come home, see what you've done in the kitchen, and weep. And once those tears are dried, she'll invite you upstairs for a night of rare yet beautiful intimacy. So, listen up."

(Camera tracks the Ironic Chef moving stage left to a kitchen cupboard. He opens it. He reaches for a colorful, rectangle-shaped box. The overhead camera now shows him placing the cardboard box on his kitchen counter.)

"Men, what I have here are common, everyday Fruit Loops." (Audience gasps.) "Pour these Fruit Loops into the number of bowls that corresponds to the number of children you have. If this is too technical, ask your children to get their own bowls.

"Now here's the part where I lose you guys sometimes. The meal isn't done yet! It requires another step. Go to the refrigerator. Open it. Find a plastic container with a white, milky substance in it. The label will say something like 'Milk.'

"Pour the milk into the number of bowls that correspond to the number of children you have. And presto! You have now fed your children. You ol' pros out there no doubt take that additional step and get the kids spoons. But one step at a time! (Audience howls.)

"Turn your attention now to your wife's meal. She deserves something better than cereal, of course. Normally, I'd say prepare a couple of Nutri-Grain bars ('Mixed Berry'), but tonight is special. Listen and learn, good buddies.

"Go back to the refrigerator. Behind the white, milky substance, you will find a tapered bottle containing a golden, clear liquid. The label will say something like 'Wine.' Carefully remove the bottle from the refrigerator. Take a common corkscrew -- guys, if you don't have one, any rusty, fishing knife will do -- and remove the cork from the bottle.

"Now, here's another trouble spot for some of you. Pour the wine into what the world's greatest chefs call wineglasses. Serve the wine to your wife. That is, get up from your chair and actually hand her a glass of wine. (Audience gasps again.) I know, I know. It's a lot of work, but it will pay off big time!

"That's all the time we have this week. Next week, be sure to watch a special edition of 'The Ironic Chef' when I blow the lid off toast."

(As credits roll, the Ironic Chef pours bowls of Fruit Loops for his guests before opening a jug of wine for himself.

(Music, and out.)

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