I spent part of Monday afternoon making a big pot of chili.
Before you go all, “Whoa, Mike, don’t you think you should have spent part of Monday afternoon working?” I will have you know that making chili was work-related.
Well, not work-related enough that I’m going to deduct from my taxes the price of a couple of pounds of ground beef, a pound of sausage, some jalapeno peppers, onions, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices, but work-related nonetheless.
I made the chili because my friend Carol Parker asked if I would make it for her cooking show at 4 p.m. today on KSNF-TV. I agreed because I like Carol and I like being on her cooking show.
To be honest, I never seem to do much cooking when I’m on Carol’s show. First, they don’t give Carol a lot of time, and it’s hard to cook something in three or four minutes. Second, Carol always asks questions that confuse me. Carol’s questions usually start off OK, but then they tend to veer off in an unexpected direction.
Carol: “OK, Mike, I noticed that you said you put jalapeno peppers in your chili. So I have to ask: Did you watch the Golden Globe awards Sunday night?”
Me: “Uhhhh ... what?”
This is a true story (I know it’s true because I was there): A long time ago, KSNF-TV used to run a three-minute segment during its noon news featuring a well-known physician, “Dr. Red Duke.” One year, one of the local hospitals brought Duke to town to speak at an employee event. Naturally, Carol scheduled Duke to be on her show. Everything was going fine during the taping of the show until Carol asked Duke one of her patented three-pronged questions. When Carol was through with her question, Duke looked at her with a funny look on his face and finally said: “Carol, you’ve just asked me three different questions in one question. Which one of them do you want me to answer?”
Of course, Carol laughed because she has never been one to take herself too seriously. That’s why I love to tease her when I’m on her show. I don’t think I’ve ever known somebody who loves laughing at herself as much as Carol does. Do you realize how comfortable you have to be to enjoy laughing at yourself?
That’s another reason I like being on Carol’s cooking show: You don’t have to take the cooking too seriously. Sometimes I think people on cooking shows take themselves too seriously. I’m guessing they do that because there is a lot of money to be made if you have a popular cooking show. First, you get to have a cooking show. Then, if it catches on, you start selling cookbooks. Then you start selling cookware. Then you leave cooking and get a talk show, and then you say something offensive and get fired.
I think that’s how it works.
When I was a kid, there used to be a cooking show on in the afternoons called “The Galloping Gourmet,” hosted by a guy named Graham Kerr. I didn’t know much about cooking back then, but I liked to laugh, and I thought Graham was funny and he made cooking seem fun.
I thought that was cool.
Today, some people think cooking needs to be so serious that they turn it into a contest where deranged people race around a kitchen trying to make a seven-course meal with an orange and a piece of bacon in less than 15 minutes.
It took me about 30 minutes to make my pot of chili, and I didn’t have to race around the kitchen. I took my time, and while I cooked I listened to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station. When I was finished, I left the chili to simmer on the stove and went upstairs to write my column.
I don’t think that would make a very good cooking show in today’s world.
If only I had Carol to ask me a question.
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