Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Top Chef – Family Function Edition

We drove down from Vermont on Sunday and made it to my parents’ house in time for a mid-afternoon Easter dinner. After having watched back-to-back episodes of Top Chef the night before, Gwen and I amused ourselves by imagining what it would be like to subject this kind of big family meal to the rigors of the show’s brutal judging.

Cue Uncle Freddy, in the role of Tom Colicchio, addressing the hassled matriarch host, sweat beading on her forehead as she carries in another platter of candied turnips: “Can I just ask, did you taste the mashed potatoes before you served them? You did? Did you think they were salty?”

Matriarch: “I… I thought they were good.”

Uncle Freddy (Colicchio): “Hmm...” [Shakes head in dismissive disgust] “I have to say I wonder whether you’re really right for this competition.”

Aunt Sally, affecting her best Tony Bourdain: “What is your major malfunction, Grandma? When the turkey’s ready for the window it’s ready for the window. I don’t give a damn if the kids say they want ten more minutes playing Webkinz, it’s your responsibility to get that food out! The piece on my plate was so dry it would have made a perfectly acceptable doorstop.”

Your sister (Padma), looking far more fetching than you remember, staring blankly at a card that has just been handed to her and reading slowly: “I’d like to hear more about the empanadas. What was the motivation for combining the goat cheese and black licorice? Did you think it was successful?”

Back to Uncle Freddy (Colicchio): “I think that dish was actually fairly well-conceived. Unfortunately, it really fell down in the execution.” [Looks at others while awarding himself an affirmative, self-satisfied nod.]

Aunt Sally (Bourdain): “I find it hard to get past the stuffing. I mean, I’ve scraped things off my shoes in dark alleys that were more appetizing.”

[Uncle Freddy (Colicchio) chuckles and offers an admiring glance. He’s down with Tony, now that he’s evolved from the kind of gangly tough who used to torment him unmercifully on the school playground - “Hey, Saucier, you want some of this?” - and sit menacingly at the back of Social Studies class reading a dog-eared copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” through dark sunglasses.]

The camera focuses in on Rocco DiSpirito, sitting at the end of the table. Not a relative playing Rocco DiSpirito, the actual person, who had nowhere else to go: “Did anyone write something for me to say here? No? Well, at this point let’s be honest, I’m just grateful for the hot meal.”

Your sister (Padma), affecting a level of stilted gravitas usually reserved for debates over global warming, or telling someone their pet died while they were away on vacation:

“Grandma... please pack your knives and go.”


Blogger A New Me said...

That was brilliant. I love to watch Top Chef and the images you created are right on!

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog, it's like reading a good book each morning with my coffee! Enjoy your life, it seems delicious! By the way, thanks for entertaining us...Donna

8:46 AM  
Blogger Mlle Gateau said...

BRAVO! (so to speak)

2:23 PM  
Blogger monsieur henri said...

i also just love your blogs! they are a nice break from my little naïve life.


2:33 PM  
Blogger Leonicka said...

LOL! I was reading Rocco's bolg a half second before I read your's so I was thouroughly amused!
P.S. I'd have Rocco over for dinner any day of the week:)

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found you on "blog of notice I'm glad I did

3:54 PM  
Blogger FitEat said...

Your blogs are like reading a script from "Frasier" :D


5:38 PM  
Blogger Suicide Green said...

Americans are so nice. They are nice to each other, they have nice lives, their families are functional, even the dad's are nice. Weird. I quite enjoy it actually.
Suicidegreen x

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't like black licorice

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found ur blog on blogs of notice and i LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

9:42 PM  
Blogger Swirl Girl said...

It is a pleasure to see that someone else has cracked of humor just like me. Love your blog, BTW.
This post played like a meal at my house...for real!
Swirl Girl

9:53 PM  
Blogger Sarah :) said...

I know you probably hear this endlessly, but you have a marvelous blog here. I never knew an ordinary little life could be so interesting. Just talking about life, and what it does for you, is amazing.

I'm 15, but I still relate to the parenting things. (NO. I DON'T HAVE MY OWN KIDS.) My parents have to spend a lot of time with my little brother with Down Syndrome, so I get so help parent the other two boys. But hearing about your little girls, and what a blessing they are to you makes me excited to have kids, but not in to much of a hurry. ;]

May God bless you in all that you do.


10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately for his family and friends Tom is nothing like this depiction. I've shared thousands of meals with him and he just eats what's served without comment.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Scoops Mangum said...

That was the funniest thing I have read in a while. Great stuff!

2:51 AM  
Blogger WWW said...

I woke up early this morning due to firetrucks on the street and found this making the whole event worth while. Very funny and very well written. As someone who started a blog, literally yesterday, I think what you've done is awesome.

8:01 AM  
Blogger PopMom said...

Hilarious. Just started watching Top Chef this year and this is perfect. So glad I found you on Blogs of note!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Suicide Green said...

I'm really annoyed that I put an apostrophe in dads, it's SO illiterate. Suicidegreen x

10:11 AM  
Blogger Some Person said...

You have a great blog here! Keep up the great work!!!

Feel free to visit my blog sometime.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the world is far from perfect. Agree to disagree?

3:46 PM  
Blogger taking a stand said...

Awesome blog. if you get the chance please check out mine @ I'd love to have feedback.


4:35 PM  
Blogger Dad said...

Absolutely - all views welcome. It's not a manifesto, just a nice idea. There's a reason for the quotation marks. Read my first post for more, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

4:36 PM  
Blogger b said...

that was terrific. happy belated easter by the by.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watch Top Chef and am a born and bred snob by my foodie parents. I am also a writer and wish I had written this! I live for those comments by Bourdain — he really puts it out there. Your last line was sheer genius...poor grandma!


9:45 AM  
Blogger Jambelina said...

I'm new to the land of blogs, I know a touch late to the party aren't I? But this one caught my eye as I was browsing, as I love Top Chef and family functions are always delicious. Your Bourdain was spot on. And oh how I loved your Padma descriptions. Hilarious.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Interesting fan club! All ages.
Love the "Top Chef" post.

10:27 AM  
Blogger CatherineCofC said...

Great blog! I am obsessed with Top Chef and watch it religously. The images and conversations you greated are dead on. It was highly amusing and I even felt as though I could picture this conversation happening on the show. I loved the use of Grandma as the contestant! lol I also read a few of your other posts and loved them as well. I babysit for a little girl who loves Webkins. Your previous post on Ava's conversation reminded me so much of her. I'm going to have to come back and read more of your stuff more frequently!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids love Top Chef but they have taken to rating my dinners every night, just like in your scenario!

7:24 PM  
Blogger White Rose said...

Just started my own blog and found you on blog of notice. This was great. Literally had me laughing out loud glad I found you.

2:45 PM  
Blogger ellie said...

This is hysterical! Thanks for the afternoon laugh.

2:31 PM  

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