welcome to another exciting episode of “Real Kitchen!” Not your mother’s cooking show.

You’ve seen them, those classy cooking shows where the studio kitchen is gorgeous, the ingredients are pre-prepped in little bowls, ready for dumping into the pot, and there is not a dirty dish in sight.  They’re nice aren’t they?  But honestly now, who the hell has a cooking experience like that?  Maybe single, rich people or something?  Certainly not people with families who live in tiny houses *cough* and who struggle to find time to eat, much less cook.

Enter “Real Kitchen!” the cooking show for the rest of us!

Let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?  For starters, in those other cooking shows, when you need to mix something, a beautiful bowl is right there waiting for you.  In Real Kitchen, you can’t find one.  And when you do, it’s a little too small, but you think you can make it work if you can just stir slowly enough to keep the mound from overflowing.  But hey, so what if you do!  That’s what dogs are for.

How about ingredients?  In Real Kitchen, you know how it goes.  You have to forage through the crisper full of bags of rotten slimed stuff you can no longer identify.  Cleaning out the fridge, at least partially, is always the First Step to cooking in Real Kitchen.  But it isn’t just the fridge, the shelves are way too full, you have to search endlessly for stuff you know you bought, but now can’t locate.  There are piles on the piles.  You knock a few over.  There may be some swearing.  Real Kitchen may or may not be suitable for all ages.

In those other cooking shows, you make what you want, how you want it.  It’s amazing!  In Real Kitchen, not a chance.  You have to negotiate with your family members for every ingredient.  “Please can I put garlic in?”  “No.”  “What if I chop it very tiny?” “NO.”  Also, probably someone already ate a crucial ingredient so you’ll have to improvise, making sometimes bizarre substitutions.  That’s the creativity of Real Kitchen!  No complaining, there’s no point!

In those other cooking shows, you magically know the recipe by heart.  In Real Kitchen, you are reading the recipe off your ipad, causing you to try to keep the screen lit, and scroll, with your elbow, because your hands are a mess.  Bet you didn’t know cooking doubles as a yoga pose!

I also bet you never saw the smoke alarm go off in one of those other cooking shows.  And how about how the dog feels it’s necessary to bark continuously at the smoke alarm until it shuts up, thereby tripling the noise and your corresponding sense of urgency to turn the damn thing off?  Oh, it was just something in the bottom of the toaster oven again.  What was I doing?  Did I already put the salt in?  Or not?

Let’s face it: in Real Kitchen, there is always a sense of danger.  For example, chopping onions—a simple thing already done for you by house elves in those other cooking shows—chopping onions in Real Kitchen becomes a source of pain and possible disfigurement.  Have you ever seen one of those other chefs sobbing over their cutting board?  Trying to chop with their eyes closed without losing a finger?  No.  Not to mention when your eyes water enough that your mascara runs, making you look like the Winter Soldier.  No make up artists waiting off-stage in Real Kitchen!  The burning pain of chopping onions is hugely underrepresented by most cooking shows, in my opinion.

In Real Kitchen, locating a pan that will work well enough for your purposes can involve spelunking and the threat of an avalanche.  And once you find it, it has to be cleaned, an awkward job since the sink in Real Kitchen is usually already full of dirty dishes.  Plus when you ask your ten year old assistant if it needs to be washed first, she is liable to say, “If I have to clean it, then it’s perfectly clean.”  Thanks, helpful assistant!  I couldn’t have done it without you.

Have you ever noticed how in Real Kitchen, things seem to get thrown at the chef, seemingly at random?  I do not know why.  You also have to deal with Strange Illogical Fears, like touching the aluminum foil box (“it will cut me!”), or refusals to eat out of certain bowls or with certain untensils (“I don’t like the noise it makes against the edge,” or “silver spoons taste funny.”)  It’s maddening, really.  That feeling is all part of the Real Kitchen experience!

The compost is too full, the trash needs to bagged and dumped to make room for the new trash you are making, the complaints are huge (“I told you not to put garlic in!”) and the fridge is already stuffed, so where to put the leftovers?

Yes, cooking in Real Kitchen isn’t just a sport, it’s an Extreme Sport!  It’s not just Real, it’s Dangerous!  To mind and body, believe me.  So, let’s have no more of those wimpy-ass, goody-goody, lets make it look all pretty, cooking shows.  Let’s get down to the battle that is REAL COOKING.

–brought to you by Dinner!  With special guest star, Thanksgiving!  Otherwise known as, “Thank god that’s over.”

And now, for your listening pleasure, Frank Zappa sings of when Real Kitchen has crossed over the line into Dangerous Kitchen.  You just don’t want to go there.

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