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Up Late With The Chefs

I was up way past my bedtime last night watching the season finale of Top Chef. I’m a latecomer to this show, having started watching it about 3 weeks ago but thankfully they replay episodes all the time. I’ve seen them all except for the first one.

The show reminds me of the people I worked with during my summer as a “Kitchen Steward” in a resort kitchen. I didn’t cook but I was very involved in all aspects of the kitchen’s workings ~ such as inventory, banquets, liaison between waitstaff and cooks, etc. It was a long, hard summer but I learned a lot about that aspect of the hotel business and to be a manager at a resort, you have to learn all areas including the kitchen.

The Chefs I worked with were creative, charming, demanding and, most of all, exuded more than a little intimidation. The crew that summer worked very hard and PLAYED even harder. I didn’t even try to keep up and was never really a part of the crowd. I earned respect by working hard and being competent at my job but the after-hours always seemed a little too dangerous for me ~ plus I was plain exhausted. I have to admit though, it was an exciting summer and I did meet my good friend, Dave (the pet sitter extraordinaire) since he was part of the kitchen crew. He, too, was an outsider and only lasted one summer in the kitchen.  After that, we were back in the front of the house!

Back to the show: I was hoping Casey would step up and win because, even today, it is very difficult to be a woman chef. I thought she exhibited a lot of grace under pressure and she seemed to handle herself well around all those male egos. Unfortunately, the onion chopping challenge really lowered my opinion of her skills and that’s when I knew Hung would win, which in my opinion, he definitely deserved. 

Being a vegetarian, I wouldn’t eat most of the food they cooked but I still enjoy their thought process and the ingredient combinations. Now, if I were in charge of the show, I would have the judging be “blind” ~ meaning the judges wouldn’t know whose dish it was being served. That way personal bias wouldn’t enter in the equation at all. All that talk about “heart” and “soul” in the food came more from their impressions of the candidates than the taste of the food.

The other thing I’d love to see is a season of “International Top Chef” which would include contestants from all over but especially from Asia where the food is fabulous and a lot is vegetarian. 😉

Anyone else a foodie?

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Dog Nut

Did anyone else catch the 60 Minutes segment on Sam Simon? Now there’s a man after my own heart. He’s more than a little nutty about dogs but he’s smart enough to know it’s a little over the edge even for him. He laughed at himself regarding his obvious love of dogs which is so refreshing to see. 

I was very impressed with his foundation, The Sam Simon Foundation, whose primary focus is to train Hearing Dogs, saved from L.A. animal shelters. Once the dogs graduate, they are placed in homes to assist the deaf. Oddly, the foundation doesn’t take ANY donations! It’s completely funded by Sam Simon. 

Dogs unable to complete the program are adopted out as companion animals. No fee is  charged for the adoption but an application and home visits are required. And, if that isn’t enough, he completely funds a mobile spay/neuter clinic for low-income families in Los Angeles.  He’s truly a guardian angel for dogs.  

Where does he get all his money? He was one of the original creators of The Simpsons.  

Wow ~ what a feel good story for dog lover like me!

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When I checked my 2005 calendar, it turns out we’re doing the exact same thing on this Friday night as we were doing on the same Friday in September last year: anxiously awaiting the Season Premiere of “Survivor.”  Seems at the end of every season, I say I’m never going to watch the show again because I rarely like the winner BUT I can’t help myself. FG and I love the show’s challenges and it’s one of the few shows FM watches. For us, Fridays are Survivor days since it was delayed by one day in Germany and it’s on Friday nights here because we’re a day ahead of the states. Popcorn is ready and we’re 5 minutes out.

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Mission: Declutter!

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Now that we’ve unpacked our boxes and watched one too many episodes of Clean Sweep, we’ve decided to sell, give or throw away our excess items. Our neighbor advised us of a good “sell” location just up the road where you pull up and sell out of the back of your vehicle but the catch is you have to get there EARLY. We got up at 4:30 and headed out by 5:30. While FM was packing the car, he was stopped twice by people trolling for tag sales on base. I didn’t think anyone else would be up at 5 am on a Saturday. When we got to the location at about 5:40, we were mobbed and some people even helped us “unload” the car so they could get first dibs. We got rid of a lot of things but we have more that wouldn’t fit into the car ~ if it doesn’t fit in the suburban, you know it’s a lot of stuff. FM is thinking about going again tomorrow but FG has put her foot down and refuses to go again ~ she wants one day to sleep in and I don’t blame her a bit.

Since FG is a huge pack-rat like her Daddy, I was proud of both of them for making an effort to declutter. We told FG she could keep the money for any of her items that sold and she had a say on picking out what we would sell that belonged to her. We noticed quite a few things from her “sell” box were disappearing throughout the morning.  I thought FM sold them and he thought I sold them. So when we got in the car to leave, we were surprised to find these items had mysteriously migrated into the backseat of the car! Our tricky girl decided at the last minute that she wasn’t so keen on selling those things 😉 I have to say, she was pretty stealth about the whole thing since FM, nor I, had a clue what she was doing. 

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Dangerous TV

Ever since moving to Guam, I have no idea what the TV schedule is and we catch shows on a hit or miss basis.  There is a guide in the Sunday edition of the newspaper but I don’t like the way it’s organized so I don’t bother with it.  A big plus since we arrived has been the change of when prime time shows are broadcast. There used to be a delay of one week but, as of last Monday, there is only a six hour delay!

The other night, FG and I were watching our favorite channel, HGTV, and up came a show we’d never seen before: I want that! Tech Toys.  I almost changed the channel but got hooked by the first item which was a “docupen” ~ this small, portable “pen” could scan a page or a photo and then plug into the computer to be downloaded. Yes, I want that tech toy.

FG saw some cubes with stick people/pets which interact with each other and now, she really, really wants those tech toys. So much so she is willing to do extra chores for them. Others must have thought the same thing because when I went online to order them, they were out of stock. I’m going to have to avoid watching HGTV for fear of seeing that show again ~ it’s the most dangerous TV we’ve seen.

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