Guest Writer : My love life is a food network special: (We’re all one Neilson rating away from having our show cancelled)

As a guy who prides himself on building relationships on honesty, I feel it necessary to state that I don’t know the first thing about a healthy relationship. However, I do know a helluva lot about failing relationships. So much so, I have successfully determined that they come in twos.

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Much like a great dinner, some last 2 hours. Perhaps this fling is like a large pizza that will heat up for lunch tomorrow – 2 days. Say gurl, do you come with a money back guarantee?  Because after the 2-week trial I’m gonna cancel you like Blue Apron. And 2 months. The only refrigerated item I’ve found to last longer than my relationships is a fresh carton of Silk.

Sometimes you meet someone and you feel that famous Emeril Lagasse BAM! – you immediately know it’s just right.

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Other times you wonder what in the hell you’re doing off I-10 riding shotgun in a droptop Camaro with Guy Fieri, but then you open your eyes and realize that madness was all worth it because you’ve never seen something as beautiful as what’s in front of you. Soft curves. Has substance, but won’t weigh you down. It’s all you want to see at that moment. The perfect omelet.

Food Network shows are a dime a dozen. Sometimes we want those cutthroat shows that make us root for the single-mom bakery chef with pink hair from San Fran, or leave us physically screaming at the television praying that d-bag from Brooklyn doesn’t win, or wonder what a Frenchillada is. That fire just has a way of reaching us when we least expect it. Sometimes we just want something comfortable. No countdown. No wildcard ingredient intended to throw us off. Just us listening to someone talk about how to make a perfect tomato basil soup. We know how to make tomato basil soup, that’s not why we’re there. We just enjoy their voice, the way they mince garlic, and the knowledge that when that lid comes off and the steam clears all we’ll see are smiles. There is show for any and every moment.

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What I’m trying to say is, perhaps, in another life things would have worked out between you and that bridesmaid from last summer, but it didn’t in this one. Or, just because y’all both like your Bloody Mary extra spicy doesn’t mean this is supposed to be your forever brunch date. Or, sure, you’re happy right now, but when she takes that promotion out in Seattle and want to move back to The Republic (see: The Great and Independent, Texas) then it’s going to have to end. There are so many reasons things don’t work out in relationships, but in my opinion the biggest of them is that we have too many options.

Do you realize Julia Child’s The French Chef ran for 10 years on PBS? Can you imagine a cooking show running for 10 years today given the option to watch literally anything else on 700 other channels? We have too many options.

We hold on to these options for false security. The option to not waste invest our time in a show and just bail to the next channel is so tempting. It’s much easier knowing a show is nearing the end of its season. We have time to mentally and emotionally prepare. When we’re down to the final four on Chopped, we know we’re almost done. We think about the laughs and remember the worries. We’re grateful for a good season and hope to see another in a few weeks, but if it doesn’t work out then no hard feelings. We prepare to move on.

What’s hard is when a show gets canceled mid-season. What?? Why?!? We had something great going. For the past two months we get back from the bar on a Saturday at 3AM, order $70 worth of Pappa John’s, kickoff the pants and shoes, and get ready for a good time on the couch. But wait, our show wasn’t recorded this week. What happened? Did I lose this channel? We drunkenly call the cable company at a strange hour to try and figure out what went wrong. There was no goodbye. There was no justification. We have to find out via Instagram that the host of our favorite show left on episode 5 to become a chocolatier in Colombia.

I’ll level with you, I’m not always the victim – ghosts know no gender. Deep in the science of a young mind I have left without saying goodbye to one person so that I could immediately turn to say hello to someone else. We’re all one Neilson rating away from being cut and replaced with a fresher, younger Giada De Laurentiis (uhh, not. I love you, Gi.).

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We have to realize that we’re not the only one with options, though. I’m a huge proponent of giving shows a second shot. It took me a month to watch the first three episodes of The Crown and only a day to finish the rest of season one and two, so if you really want to make it work you can.

Realizing that, we should be open to that second shot for everyone. Getting to know someone isn’t always comfortable. Guy Fieri is a lunatic. The first time I saw him I didn’t want anything to do with this bleach head from Flavortown; he was weird. Definitely not like a host I had ever watched before, but there was something there. He wasn’t like Gordan Ramsay – controlling the kitchen and using his personality to intimidate me into thinking I want to eat squid topped with a cranberry reduction. Guy had his own personality, but the things I thought were odd about him were the things I thought were odd about me. Did I say “See you later olive hater!”? and did he reply “After awhile vegephile!”? No, but I like to think he 1) doesn’t like many vegetables and 2) would make that joke with me.

It was a jerk move for that guy to bail on the date last minute and we all know that girl didn’t have the flu. Maybe they canceled because they were nervous about what you’d think of them. Maybe they canceled because they thought they had someone better than you lined up. I changed the channel on Guy Fieri the first time. It was something I needed to do – for me. But the fact is, I went back to make it work and they might try to do the same for you. So give that person that bailed on you a second shot if they come back around!

But don’t give them a third.

I sound more contradictory than sugar-free sweet tea, but let me put it this way: Have you ever been really into a lavish and overpriced dish that Ina Garten is making for Jeffrey? You honestly are interested in this meal. You’re trying as hard as you can to even consider a dinner where you might make this dish. You want to relate so bad. You got distracted by an ad early on and then a few commercial breaks later you open the channel guide and completely forget about that truffle garlic lamb in the oven. Steve Harvey has on Genuwine and he’s about to perform Pony for a live studio audience. No way you miss this. Ina will be on tomorrow and things will be just as usual. Except they won’t be. One day we’re gonna look for that Barefoot Contessa and she’ll have left us mid-season for a wine tasting show in Spain.

We’re not talking about a wondering eye. We’re talking about a blatant decision to change the channel. Yes, you could stick around. Yes, you are invested in over half the episode. Yes, the big reveal was only moments away. But you don’t feel bad about the fact you changed the channel or that you lost interest in Ina. You are going to finish that Genuwine performance and think, ‘wow, that was great.’ or, ‘I really wish I stayed to see what she cooked up for dessert’. We have to be okay with changing the channel when it’s no longer interesting. But more importantly, we have to be okay with having the channel changed on us.

Ina was happily in attendance after the first commercial. But she didn’t let the second and third commercial get her down. I’ll tell you how that episode ended. Ina knew from the very beginning where she wanted to end up. Ina pulled that lamb out of the oven. She plated that beautiful piece of meat and sided it with fresh green beans and walked it outside to the garden. She knew there was someone out there for her. It was Jeffrey. Jeffrey was patiently waiting with a glass of Spanish wine and she didn’t miss us at all.

CAKE

In 2018, we should strive to be more like Ina. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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