News Column

The Albany Herald, Ga., Carlton Fletcher column

August 12, 2014

By Carlton Fletcher, The Albany Herald, Ga.

Aug. 12--Hey, good lookin', what you got cookin'?

-- Hank Williams

We as parents indulge our kids. It's what we do.

I know some folks who are really bad parents, but I don't know a one who says, "I had it hard growing up, so I want to make sure my kids have it just as hard so that they can turn out like me."

If someone happens to point out that I'm maybe a little too fired up about seeing the latest Disney movie at the cineplex or catches me discreetly singing along to Alex Angelo's latest hit or hears me griping still about the Disney Channel's stopping production of "Good Luck Charlie," well, I can explain it away as my attempts to stay connected with the household tween.

I can't do that with Fox TV's "Masterchef." Yes, I started watching the cooking competition/reality show because it's one of the things the 12-year-old and her mother are both fanatic about. And while I tried to make myself scarce at first when I heard Gordon Ramsay and his annoying British accent, I was eventually reeled in.

Now, I'm almost as engaged in "Masterchef's" outcome -- I hate that conceited Courtney! -- as I am Showtime's weekly installment of "Ray Donovan," one of the two or three best shows on the air.

And I can't explain why.

I don't care about the preparation of food, just that there's plenty of it to go around come suppertime. And I think all those fancy-schmatzy dishes that look like something thrown up in technicolor have nothing whatsoever to do with the eating and enjoyment of food. Talk of stuff like "presentation" and "conversions" means absolutely zero to me.

And I'm certainly no closet chef in my own right. Here is a list of the Top 5 dishes I can make: (1) bologna sandwich (it's all in the brand and the amount of time in the microwave ... 11 seconds), (2) grilled cheese (thin pats of butter must be placed on the bread in a precise pattern), (3) mac and cheese (follow directions on the box), (4) vegetable soup (it's all about colors), (5) canned ravioli.

So, unlike when I'm watching the Braves and delusionally shout at Joe Simpson, "I can hit better than ... (just go down the current lineup), I do not at any time think, "My baloney sandwich is better than Cutter's ..." well, whatever the name was of that fancy-looking dish on last week's show that looked like something you'd want to study as a science project rather than eat.

Still, when 18-year-old cutie-pie Ahran, who had proved herself just as capable as the other professional "home chefs" in the latest "Masterchef" competition, was told by Ramsay and fellow judges Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot that she had to turn in her apron last night, I felt myself choking up.

And, to my daughter's revulsion, I even grudgingly admitted that 56-year-old Leslie -- an annoying blowhard who lists his occupation as "stay-at-home dad" ... sheesh -- deserved to survive his fifth "pressure test elimination challenge" more than Ahran and Victoria because, well, what's right is right.

Heck, just like my gorge rises every time I hear another sports announcer jump on the "Clayton Kershaw should be National League MVP" bandwagon, I feel the same way when Courtney Lapresi (an aerial dancer ... of course she is) opens her phony mouth. When she voted to save herself from Monday night's challenge because of her self-proclaimed "leadership skills" -- hey, ditz, you led your team to defeat -- rather than save a more deserving teammate -- as the goofy Cutter did previously -- she became Masterchef enemy No. 1. (Did I mention that I've started to really care about this show?)

Of course, once the show's run ends for the season and the latest Masterchef is crowned, my interest in the winner or any of the other contestants will be what they are for the top finishers on "The Voice" or "American Idol" or, heck, even the NFL, NBA or college football champion. That is to say nonexistent.

Until then, though, here's hoping Gordon Ramsay finds a squirming bug in Courtney's next dish. Pulling for her's about like cheering for the Yankees or Notre Dame ... and her eventual exit's going to be sweet. And I can't believe I just wrote that about a freaking cooking show.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at


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Source: Albany Herald (GA)

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