I’m a bit of a cooking show junkie; it’s a habit I inherited from my father. Before the Food Network was even conceived, he would sit with his cookbooks in front of the television following along and taking notes from Julia Childs and Graham Kerr. He was an eager student—gaining knowledge to fuel his passion. It wasn’t just that he loved to cook; he loved perfecting dishes. Once in his quest for the ultimate linguine and white clam sauce recipe, he gained 40 pounds.
So in this age of 24/7 food shows and cooking-themed reality television, I can’t help but think that my dad may have made an appearance on any one of the competitions—The Next Food Network Star, Rachel Ray’s So You Think You Can Cook, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, etc. He would have been a good contestant, too.
It wouldn’t have hurt that my dad was a bit of a ham. Which is probably why he loved entertaining. He instilled in me the importance of being a good host, and the role of good food and good conversation for a successful event. He helped form my appreciation of the art and the soul of a meal. This is the gift I treasure the most from him. And each time, I watch Alton Brown, Guy Fieri, or Bobby Flay, I think of my dad. Hopefully I have become half the student in the kitchen as he was.