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Thursday
Mar202014

Masterchef Mama?

This year, I started watching Masterchef Canada. I heard there was going to be a food blogger on it, so thought I would check it out. I didn't expect to get hooked and I certainly didn't expect my kids to express an interest. I did and they did though and it has now become a weekly routine to watch the show together. 

"You should be on Masterchef, Mama," they say to me.

Oh, no. I shouldn't be. I love to cook and think I am a decent cook, but the pressure, the cooking of things you've never heard of without the assistance of Google, and the whole being on television thing just doesn't appeal to me. But I'll admit, there are some challenges that I look at and think...really? That's it?

In one of the early episodes this year, contestant Eric wins the first challenge and gets to choose one of three quintessentially Canadian ingredients for the rest of the contestants to cook with in the elimination challenge. They will have to use that ingredient, plus a matching beer, in their dish. The three options are apples, maple syrup and bacon. My reaction was that I could think of at least 10 dishes immediately that I could make with beer, maple syrup, apples AND bacon (nevermind "or"). But then there are challenges like the Baked Alaskan, where I would have been completely lost.

But it got me thinking, because as much as I do love cooking, there are days where it does feel like I'm in some kind of pressure test. I think that as parents, we face some of the toughest cooking conditions, some of the most discerning audiences, and some of the oddest ingredient choices. What if there were a Masterchef Mama or Masterchef Papa? What might that look like.

  • No more "full access to the Masterchef Canada pantry". The challenges would involve access to a fridge with random leftovers (a slice of pizza, half a can of tuna), random produce (baby carrots and spinach), and processed foods marketed at kids (yogurt tubes, cheese strings). Just to get people's hopes up, there would be a carton of milk that turns out to be empty and a half a red pepper that has white fuzz growing on it. Half the cooking utensils would be dirty or broken or put away in the wrong place.
  • Instead of talking about the dishes needing to be restaurant-worthy, they would need to be pinterest-worthy.
  • A pressure test that gives you 5 minutes to prepare a soccer snack for 25 children that will be judged on taste by the kids and on nutrition by the other parents.
  • Prepare a school snack that is gluten, dairy, nut, egg and soy free and ensure all portions are exactly equal to the 1/100th of an inch to avoid any arguments over who got more.
  • An elimination challenge to be completed with a toddler hanging on your leg, an infant in a sling, and a school aged child needing help with math homework. 
  • Create a nutritious meal for two picky eaters who only have one thing that they both like -- cheese. One of them hates all kinds of fruit and vegetables. The other one hates all kinds of meats and grains.
  • A team challenge that would involve working with other parents to plan the menu for the last-day-of-school party, incorporating the allergy and nutritional requirements of all families, while also being fun and appealing to the kids. 
  • Be judged on one-upping all the other parents in terms of fun and playful presentation, without going so far over the top that you get shunned by the other parents.
  • Create a casserole that effectively masks measured out portions of five vegetables that a five year old has declared that he hates.

What do you think? Would you be signing up to compete on Masterchef Mama or Papa?

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Reader Comments (10)

I don't think I would want to participate but I would love to watch!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

Sounds like my kind of reality show LOL! Especially the note about dividing everything equally so there will be no squabbles... I have been known to weigh potato chips into snack portions before getting on the train to make sure fights don't break out.

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I would (strangely enough) be WAAAAAAY into a competition like this! I think about "niche" cooking in my spare time, for fun (yeah, I see you all backing slowly away). But it's true that parent cooking is just far more complicated, and you really hit the nail on the head with some of these imaginary "challenges" (pre-school is now acquainting me with the drama that is the "school snack"--good grief!). And even for me, the bizarre food preferences from the pre-schooler just aren't a fun challenge after a while (ours is no texture mixing, which knocks out casseroles. I grieved for a while and then started pulling ingredients for him before I made the casseroles--problem solved, but ANNOYING).

Really funny post!

April 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Now this is a real reality TV show!

April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJayda

Such a realistic look at how family cooking goes down! You've got some creative ideas, lady.

April 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAimée

Spoken like a mom who does most of the cooking. :)

April 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjavamom

Great. And minecraft birthday cake, whooo :)

April 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLailaS

My go-to dish is quesadillas. I'd last about 30 seconds. My 9-year-old currently cooks better than I do. I know. It's sad.

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

I would love to watch this show! i like cooking very much!

May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzie

I agree with all your sentiments. And instead of a show called 'Come Dine with Me', it could be called 'Come Whine with Me!' See my post 'Come Whine with Me'.

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Wilson

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