Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

weinoo

Who Skips Breakfast?

Recommended Posts

In discussions with a colleague, I was shocked...SHOCKED...to learn that neither he nor his wife eats breakfast before leaving the house in the morning.

Now I know there are certain clichés that are just not worth repeating; but frankly, I feel that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I basically always have breakfast, and always make breakfast for my wife, when we're in the same city. And I'm not talking about coffee = breakfast. I make oatmeal or some other hot cereal, cut up fruit, scramble eggs, whole wheat toast, whatever...it's breakfast. And for me, it's necessary, otherwise I start to feel like crap within an hour or two.

So, seriously, do you skip breakfast? Why?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I eat it, sometimes I don't. On weekdays, it is not more than cafe au lait and fruit, or toast (w/nut butter or ricotta), or a Kashi TLC bar, or a carton of Fage 0% yogurt w/fruit or honey. Some days, it's just a (homemade) latte. BUT I have a "second breakfast" type snack around 10:30. I'm not so hungry first thing in the AM...on slower weekend mornings, I eat a bit more, but also generally have a later lunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The closest thing I've had to a regular breakfast in the last 10 years was the 4 months of smoothie making I did after getting my Vita-Mix. While I enjoyed having a smoothie every morning, I fell out of habit just by forgetting to assemble the ingredients the night before into the carafe and sticking it in the fridge (or in the case of the weekends, to drunk to remember or do so :biggrin: )

I don't have time to put together anything in the morning. With major city traffic, I have to be out the door at 7:20am if I want my 5 mile trip to take less than 30 minutes. That gives me just enough time to wake up at 7:00, take a quick shower, and run out the door. Waking up before 7am doesn't jive with being a late-twenties bachelor.

If after I get to work and settle in I'm still really hungry, I'll go grab a bagel or something.

(edit: typo)


Edited by therippa (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never been a breakfast eater, even when I was a kid in school. Usually only a piece of toast or cold cereal then, because my mother made me, and then through college and work, usually only coffee.

Food just doesn't appeal to me straight out of bed, and as an adult, dealing with LA traffic, the thought of getting up an hour earlier to deal with breakfast and the clean-up there of was even MORE not appealing. My one clean freak trait is hating having dirty dishes in the sink, so clean-up would be mandatory.

The last few years I was working, I did get in the habit of making some kind of bakery item (scones, muffins, coffee cake) on Sundays and having that before I left the house, but I did that only because I take a bunch of medication first thing in the a.m., and it was chewing up my stomach if I didn't eat something with them.

Now....breakfast foods for dinner, or for a "brunch" type affair, around 10 a.m., that's a different story. But first thing in the morning, usually I'll pass.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, for starters i'm not awake in time for 'breakfast'. I work dinner shift, which means I get home between 11:30 and sometime after midnight. I need to shower and eat dinner, so i'm usually up pretty late, so chances of me waking up unless I have to are slim. when I do wake up, it's pretty much toss on clothes + grab knives = time to head to work.

I actually don't know a whole lot of people that actually have time to make a real, full fledged breakfast. Nobody I know actually eats it other than a coffee or a red bull. I still function fairly well.


Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watch Dexter's breakfast routine with some envy, I wish I had that much time in the morning, especially after hiding the bodies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weekdays, that extra 30 minutes of sleep is precious. And my stomach rebels at eating breakfast first thing getting up. But I keep a selection of breakfasty things at work - toast in the freezer, instant oatmeal packets, butter - so if I need to, I can eat at my desk. Besides, breakfast at home is on my time, but eating at work is on work time! :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I'm even more shocked at these responses. From people knowledgeable about food and how it affects our well-being.

Would you ever not feed your kid before said kid was heading off to school?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I'm even more shocked at these responses. From people knowledgeable about food and how it affects our well-being.

Would you ever not feed your kid before said kid was heading off to school?

I'm actually a little shocked that you are shocked. I mean, the time I wake up is usually one of the more hectic times of my day, and the sad truth is that it's that way for a lot of adults, especially those who work in the food industry, and that little extra sleep is usually far more needed than taking time to make breakfast. To me, working a 15 hour day, getting home in time enough to get 6 hours of sleep, only to get up and do it all again, is about utilizing my time for sleep. Granted, not all of my days are like that, but those that I don't have to get up right away, that extra sleep is far more needed as well.

To me, the whole kid issue is completely different. Kids don't have the pressing issues adult life drags you down with, and have the time to wake up, get things together, eat breakfast, etc. And of course, most parents always try and make sure they can do for their kids they can't do for themselves. Kind of a different story. So would I make sure my kids had breakfast before school? Of course.

Also, I do have to admit, personally I care even less for breakfast just do the fact I usually feel great and do well without it, so why bother. Yes, I know it's technically important, but my math teachers in highschool years ago also said I would need all of those equations in everday life. I work on my feet all day long in a kitchen, and I always feel cheerful my health is always good. So for me, it works.


Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal. The best part of my day is climbing into bed at night, closing my eyes, and thinking about all the nice things I'll have for breakfast. Four years ago I started having to take a medication every morning that requires me to wait an HOUR before eating. Every day! And I'll have to take it for the rest of my life. It's just awful, I tell you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love, love, love breakfast. I wish I could wake up every morning to a groaning board of eggs, bacon, sausage, buttered toast, fruit, cheeses, fresh-squeezed juice and more. But there would be issues with that: For one thing, I'd have to go right back to sleep. For another thing, if I managed to stay awake, I wouldn't be able to do much without serious heartburn and other gastrointestinal repercussions. And for still another thing, I'd weigh an extra 100 pounds. So most days I make a smoothie, but if I'm tight on time I skip it.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I'm even more shocked at these responses. From people knowledgeable about food and how it affects our well-being.

Would you ever not feed your kid before said kid was heading off to school?

Yup. I can't face food first thing in the morning, and neither can he. I've never been one to insist that he eat when he's not hungry, and he gets a well-balanced diet over the course of the rest of the day. He gets snack at 9:00 and lunch at 11:00, so I'm not going to shove food down his throat at 7:00.

As for me, I can't eat until I've been awake at least 2 hours, so my first food of the day is usually mid-morning, and it's almost never "breakfast food", more likely leftovers from last night's dinner or a turkey sandwich. I love breakfast food out at a restaurant on a weekend late morning, though.


"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm same as Munchymom...my stomach takes 2 hours to "wake up" and I can't get anything except black coffee and maybe a 1/2 of a banana down in the morning. Since I drive around quite a bit for work (sales) I keep a protein bar in my pocketbook so if I'm hungry in the car around 10am I eat. I just don't wake up hungry and as a kid wasn't really into breakfast either. Maybe it has to do with blood sugar levels and how variable they are for an individual.


"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much to the consternation of my wife, I don't "get" American breakfast...eggs, bacon, toast...they are all fine, but I certainly don't crave them when I wake up. Usually I crave chorizo or birria or something else Mexican...sometimes phở, which I'll admit is strange for a boy born on the Canadian border. That said, breakfast is a cup of coffee most days. If I'm starving, I'll grab a banana or a granola bar to eat in the car on the way to work. On the weekends I'll occasionally do something more exciting, but generally if I enjoy dinner to the fullest the prospects for breakfast the next day will be grim.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Until I was forty, I could jump out of bed, grab a cookie and a coffee and live my life. Whether it was incipient menopause or my body telling me "Girl, get real!" I began to feel dizzy, stupid and sick if I didn't have serious protein with a side of carbs for breakfast.When I had a job the solution was simple: when I packed my lunch I made a sandwich and a half -- tuna salad, egg salad, meatloaf, Italian beef -- whatever was on offer. I'd snarf that half breakfast sandwich in the car, with coffee, on the way to work and my whole day was improved.

When I wasn't organized I bought a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit from the drive through at the handy McDonalds. Eat hearty in the am, and you won't be hitting the snack machine at work before ten.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most days, I'm not interested in anything other than coffee for a couple of hours. Plus, wheat-y and dairy-ish things might upset my GI tract at any given time. So, no, I don't eat when I get up. So, if I need to be out of the house within 2 hours of when I get up, I don't eat until... it's convenient.


Karen Dar Woon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love breakfast, because I love eating (and cooking). And I'm always ready for it, because I get up at 5am to do yoga, study and make my lunch for the day. I make a proper hot breakfast (idli-sambar, upma, pongal, chapatti-veg, etc.) and a cup of tea, which I eat around 7am, and then I'm ready to leave the house around 7.30am to cycle to work. I think I would collapse through weakness if I didn't eat breakfast!

I guess if you wake up, shower and then drive to work, you probably are not that hungry for breakfast. But trust me, if you get up early and do loads of stuff, and then you know you're about to cycle, you WILL feel like eating something!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I'm home raising the kidlet, breakfast is an always, though it may be closer to lunch than traditional breakfast times. Lunch is the lightest meal of the day, and a good dinner for him to sleep through the night. And yeah, "American Breakfast" is way too heavy to start off the morning. Nothing ruins your day like a cup of grease churning in your belly all day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Nothing ruins your day like a cup of grease churning in your belly all day.

That's how I feel about cold cereal and milk. I feel better hungry than I do with cold cereal in my belly!

I have a long commute, so generally eat breakfast at my desk on workdays - coffee and toast (preferably with avocado) - but that doesn't happen until 9, and if I've got something on I'll go without.

On weekends we usually just have brunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the elephant in the room here is the issue of bodily functions. No meal is more tied to "regularity" than breakfast. Many if not most people time their morning routines around elimination, and breakfast can have a significant effect on things. I think the body-function issue is a big part of the reason why people the world over are the least adventurous when it comes to breakfast foods: they demand the familiar.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in a classroom from 7:30 in the morning, teaching until we break for lunch at 11:30 - if I don't eat something, whether I'm hungry or not, I can't make it through the morning. We don't get a break mid-morning, either. Some days, I don't even have time for a lunch that's more than a baozi and a Coke (like today.) If I didn't eat something in the morning, I'd probably be out of a job. More than any other eating time of the day for me, for breakfast, food is merely fuel. I get up at six and eat toast or a bowl of muesli and yogurt along with a cup of coffee. Since I usually don't eat after dinner at six (classes in the evening, although then, I'm the student), by the time 6 am rolls around I'm looking for something to eat. If I had the ability to snack later in the morning, perhaps I would, though. I just don't have the opportunity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's 730 am and i've been up for half an hour and still no desire for food to put in my stomach. i will probably have a coffee or hot cocoa in the next half hour then some fruit and cottage cheese.

even as a kid when my grandfather made breakfast for us i was NOT a food eater until around 10 am or so.

i still remember having "breakfast" when visiting my mom at around 1030 or 11 am. we would be up and have coffee and a piece of pie around 630, do some chores then cook up some flounder, potatoes and lima beans.


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember the last time I had breakfast.

The really bad/strange thing is that I normally skip lunch in the week too.

People do ask me why somebody as interested in food as I am never actually appears to eat....


I love animals.

They are delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with MunchyMom. The secret to maintaining a healthy weight is to listen to your appetite, eat only when hungry and stop when full. People are brainwashed into thinking they HAVE to eat breakfast.

I tend to eat two meals a day (after coffee in the morning) - one around 11:00am and the other around 7:30pm. This works for me.

FatGuy - as for the issue of regularity, coffee does it for me. All's I have to do is smell it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on the other side of the fence on this one. Breakfast is clearly the LEAST important meal of the day. That's not to say that I don't like it. A nice, relaxing breakfast on the weekends is great when you can take your time and enjoy it. During the week, no thanks, although I do occasionally grab a breakfast sandwich from somewhere if I really need it. My main point is, however, that out of the 3 meals, I imagine most people skip breakfast with the most regularity, therefore making it the least important meal of the day.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

    • By liuzhou
      First breakfast of the year, on a freezing morning. 三鲜馄饨 (sān xiān hún tún) Home made three taste wontons (pork, shrimp and shiitake) in a spicy broth.
       
      Photos taken through a filter of steam.
       

       

    • By Lisa Shock
      I developed this recipe for a friend who wound up with many cans of Solo brand apricot filling and was wondering what to make with them. I adapted this recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, found on page 90 of the Cake Bible. The apricot filling works it way down through the cake and winds up near the bottom of the pan, making an attractive top later when the cake is inverted. Please use some sort of ring pan that holds at least 9 cups. You may substitute butter for the toasted almond oil, but remember that the oil adds flavor. I specifically developed this recipe with the home cook in mind, regular salted butter, and AP flour work well here. To reduce the sodium, use unsalted butter.  
       
      Ingredients
      113 grams (1 stick) salted butter
      26 grams toasted almond oil
      200 grams sugar
      6 grams vanilla extract
      4 egg yolks
      160 grams regular sour cream (do not use low fat or fat free)
      50 grams almond meal
      175 grams all-purpose flour
      2 1/2 grams baking powder
      2 1/2 grams baking soda
      12 ounces (1 can) Solo Apricot Filling
       
      12 Servings
      Preheat the oven to 350°
      Spray a 9+ cup tube or Bundt pan with non-stick spray or grease with an oil & soy lecithin blend.
       
      Lightly toast the almond meal in a frying pan on the stove top until it has a light beige color and has a mild fragrance. Allow to cool.
       
      Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, mix until the mixture is even and creamy. Add the sour cream and mix well. Add the cooled almond flour and mix well.
       
      Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix until it everything is evenly incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
       
      Place 2/3 of the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Place the apricot filling in an even layer on top, keeping a small space between the filling and the pan's edges. Place the remaining batter on top and smooth to create a relatively even surface.
       
      Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350° or until the top is dark brown and springs back to a light touch.
       
      Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving plate. Cool and serve. Be cautious about serving this hot, as the apricot filling can cause serious burns. When fully cooled, cover or wrap in plastic wrap to store. Will keep for several days in a cool, dry place.
       
      Nutrition (thanks MasterCook!) 
      324 calories, 15g fat, (7g sat fat, 6g mono-unsat fat, 1g ploy-unsat fat), 5g protein, 43g carbohydrates, 175mg sodium, 101mg potassium,  58g calcium
      42% calories from fat, 52% calories from carbohydrates, 6% calories from protein
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      by David Ross

      "Your crab was dry," Mike says as I walk into his shop, Williams Seafood Market and Wines in the Spokane Valley. He tells me the crab cakes I made on TV back in December looked delicious . . . but the giant Dungeness Crab that he donated for the on-camera display "looked dry and the shell wasn’t shiny enough."

      Mike’s brutal critique doesn’t shake my resolve to do another seafood dish. I tell him I’m at the store to purchase the shellfish that I need for the dish I’ll be doing on Sunday: "Grilled Shrimp Stuffed with Crab."

      But thanks for the constructive criticism, anyway. I guess I should count myself lucky. My small fan base includes a wisecracking fishmonger. Such is the life of a cook on local television.

      + + +

      Today I’m preparing for my 34th show on "Sunday Morning Northwest" on KXLY-ABC 4.

      During the week, the program is called "Good Morning Northwest." The show focuses on news and weather, and serves as the lead-in to "Good Morning America," on ABC.

      On Sunday, the show takes a different turn-much like the local programs that first aired on television back in the early days. The laid-back, carefree attitude and spontaneity of live, local television, lives on at "Sunday Morning Northwest."

      The first half-hour of the show always includes a reading of the newspaper headlines from the small, rural, farming towns that surround Spokane. If a moose decided to take a dip in the community pool in Omak, you can be sure it will make the headlines of the Okanagan County Chronicle -- and it will certainly by noted live on "Sunday Morning Northwest." The weather is usually done from a live remote at a local community event.

      Of course, the Sunday show is never complete without a cooking segment featuring a local Chef or nervous home cook.

      We’ve seen everything from "Roasted Loin of Elk with Huckleberry Demi-Glace" presented by the Chef of a fancy resort in Northern Idaho to the Woman who won the Spam cook-off at the Interstate Fair.

      It’s all done in the spirit of promoting local Chefs and restaurants while having fun with food and cooking. (And as fate often demonstrates on live TV -- the viewers have a few laughs at wacky cooks who muster-up enough courage to come on live television and make some sort of horrendous tuna casserole).

      We try to make the recipe simple enough that it can be done in a reasonable amount of time, but we don’t restrict ourselves to doing recipes in 30 minutes or less.

      If you have to chill the custard base of the ice cream overnight, that’s what we tell the viewers. While we may use short-cuts on-camera to demonstrate the steps of the recipe, short cuts in the actual recipe aren’t allowed for the sake of convenience.

      If crab cakes taste better when they’re sautéed in clarified butter, so be it. We don’t forsake flavor at the cost of cutting fat and calories. We present the most flavorful dish possible.

      I e-mail the producer about three weeks before the show with a general idea of the dish I’m planning. Then about three or four days before the show, I send the recipe of the final dish. This allows KXLY to do promos up to two days in advance of the show: "Coming up on KXLY Sunday Morning Northwest, our favorite local chef, David Ross, will be preparing a delicious dish using fresh Dungeness Crab and Shrimp from Williams Seafood in the Valley."

      The recipe we post on the station’s website is usually written to serve 6-8 people. But, when you cook on local television, there is a very, very important consideration that you must factor into your shopping list-enough food to feed the crew.

      That means a recipe written for the public to serve precisely one "Shrimp Stuffed with Crab" to each of 8 guests, is a much different, and much larger recipe, behind the scenes. It’s more than just a matter of prepping 8 stuffed shrimp. It’s a matter of stuffing 30, maybe even 40 shrimp.

      I triple or quadruple the quantities called for in a recipe so that I can feed the cameramen, the floor director, the producer, the hosts, the sports guy, the weather lady, the DJ’s in the adjacent AM radio station booth-every person working in the studio on Sunday morning will have at least one of these delectable stuffed shrimp. (It’s vital to send the crew home sated; they are the ultimate taste-test panel. If they like your food, the viewers will like it too.)

      After the recipe for the dish I put together an "Invoice," a shopping list of ingredients that lists the cost of the products I’ll be buying for the recipe. This serves as my contract, if you will, for KXLY.

      The final piece of the written paperwork for each show is the "script" that I write for myself.

      This isn’t the same type of "script" that might be rehearsed by the actors on "The Bold and The Beautiful." The only person that reads this script is me. (And maybe the co-host who glances at the script tucked under the plate displayed on the set). When you cook on local television you don’t rehearse with other actors. If you choose to rehearse you do it at home ahead of time.

      Remember, this is live TV. We don’t have room for errors. We don’t do re-takes or re-shoot scenes. We’re LIVE! For my own piece of mind, I need a script as a sort of crutch to lean on. (Hey, Martha always has a cheat sheet on the counter).

      The script is my guide to all the points of the dish that I want to convey. This Sunday, I want to mention Williams Seafood and the array of products that Mike offers. I’ll talk about using wild American shrimp because they have a sweeter taste than farm-raised, and I’ll demonstrate how the prosciutto serves as a natural wrapper to hold the crab stuffing in the shrimp.

      The script helps me with my timing when I’m on-camera -- and timing is critical when you cook on television. I rehearse the script over and over and over in my living room, while a little white kitchen timer ticks away.

      I can’t tell you how many professional chefs and amateur cooks I’ve seen on television who didn’t rehearse their bit-and the results on live television were disastrous.

      (Like the chef who -- at the moment of presenting his dessert -- realized that he left the ice cream in his car. In the sun. He literally ran out of the studio, on live TV, to go get the ice cream.)

      The only small measure of direction I get from the Floor Director on the set is when I’m told to "look into the camera" seconds before the red light comes on.

      + + +

      I’ll need two of Mike’s best crabs for Sunday’s show -- one for the meat in the crab stuffing, and another one for the display of ingredients on the set.

      This morning Mike takes literally 20 minutes to scrub and wash the shell of the prized "display crab." As he toils away, I vow to honor his crab by insuring that the shell will be kept wet and shiny during its appearance -- or I won’t be able to show my face in Mike’s shop again.

      I’ll be making a crab cake mixture to stuff the shrimp. I’m wondering if Mike can top himself after the wondrous crabs he’s already given me, but he doesn’t disappoint today -- his fresh Wild American Shrimp fished out of the Gulf of Florida are just the right size to hold my savory crab cake stuffing.

      In the case of Sunday’s dish of Stuffed Shrimp, the recipe calls for grilling the shrimp on the outdoor barbecue. But we won’t be barbecuing the shrimp on camera this Sunday. I’ll grill the shrimp at home and then we’ll go through the motions of the cooking process during our live segment.

      I try to have all of my prep work done by late Saturday afternoon so I all I have to do on Sunday morning is pack the coolers and drive to the studio. There won’t be a Hummer limousine at my doorstep on Sunday morning waiting to whisk me in comfort to KXLY. I’ll be driving myself to the studio in a Dodge pickup.

      My home office serves as the "staging" area for packing the coolers. Make note of the supplies on the floor next to the cooler-dishes, toothpicks, silverware, tongs, spatulas and kitchen towels.

      And yes, I am following the direct instructions of Mike the fish guy -- I bought a spray bottle at the "Dollar Store" so that I can keep our precious "display crab" wet on camera.

      + + +

      I’ve never cooked on the "Today Show" on NBC in New York. I’ve heard that cooks who appear on "Today" are escorted into what is called a "Green Room," catered with lush displays of fresh fruit, vegetable and cheese trays, pastries and a never-ending assortment of beverages to await their few moments of fame. We don’t have a "Green Room" at KXLY. What we have is a room used by the weekday news staff to script out the flow of the news programs.

      Not having a Green Room is a blessing in disguise. The atmosphere in the studio is very casual and I don’t have to sit in a cold, lonely room waiting for a perky intern to escort me to the studio. I wait in the studio.

      You learn to be patient and immodest around the crew -- these are the people who watch you unzip your pants in the studio. You pull out your shirt so they can thread a small microphone from your waist, underneath your shirt, up to your neck and then clip the little mouthpiece to your collar.

      The only style advice I ever got was from my co-host, Teresa Lukens, who cautioned me not to wear a striped or checked shirt on-camera-something about the pattern of my shirt being a distraction to the viewers. (And I thought the girth of my waist was more of a distraction to the viewers than the pattern of my shirt).

      I don’t wear a Chef’s coat, because I don’t consider myself a Chef. I’m a cook and I want the viewers to relate to my story and my personality with ease and comfort. I want them to feel comfortable going into their kitchens at home and creating the types of dishes they might have at a restaurant. I don’t want to scare them by thinking only a guy in a chef’s coat can cook good food.

      Our kitchen at KXLY comprises an electric, flat-top stove inserted into a formica cabinet on wheels, held in place with sandbags. We don’t have an oven, refrigerator, freezer or running water. We make do with what we have-and that’s why I bring my own spatulas, spoons and water bottle to spray the crab.

      After the "Pet for Adoption" segment, I’m allowed on the set to get ready. I usually have about 15 minutes to unpack the coolers, put the ingredients on display and get the stove-top heated.

      We begin our cooking segment with a 30-second lead-in, usually after the local sports report. Teresa introduces the dish we’ll be doing and then we break to another commercial. I don’t have a lot of time to grill shrimp when we go live on KLXY -- only four minutes total for cooking time and discussion of the dish with my co-host. I’m lucky to have Teresa as my host. She knows food and cooking. She knows that prosciutto is cured Italian ham and she knows it’s thin and slightly salty. She knows to ask if smaller prawns will work for the recipe. And without prompting, she’ll ask why I’m using fresh Dungeness crab instead of canned lump crab meat. At the end of the segment we cut to one last commercial.

      As we come back live, Rick and Teresa are their normally gracious selves, tasting the stuffed shrimp and declaring it delicious. The show is a wrap.

      One more taste-test lies ahead before we can bring this journey to an end. What will the crew say about my "Shrimp Stuffed with Crab?"

      They tell me the stuffed shrimp were delicious. But you know what they really liked? What impressed them the most? The radishes.

      About a week after Sunday’s show, I went back to Williams Seafood to get some photos of the shop for this story.

      I find Mike behind the counter cutting fresh tuna steaks.

      "At least it looked fresh this time," he says.

      + + +

      Epilogue

      Shortly after I finished this piece, I began working with KXLY on our next cooking segment, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 16.

      The plan was to cook some unique side dishes that the home cook could easily do to accompany the holiday turkey or prime rib. At least that was the plan until I picked up the local newspaper on November 2.

      When I turned to the business section, I saw the ominous news: "KXLY cancels weekend news program." I immediately contacted the producer.

      I had been cancelled -- a victim of the horrible state of the economy. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Cancelled after seven years and dozens of live cooking segments. Cancelled.

      Because "Sunday Morning Northwest" wasn’t the lead-in program to "Good Morning America," on the weekdays, it relied heavily on local advertising for its survival. ABC wouldn’t (and KXLY couldn’t) carry the burden of producing a local show that didn’t feed into network programming.

      With so many local businesses filing for bankruptcy and others literally closing the doors, one of the first budget items to go was television advertising -- advertising revenue that paid to produce "Sunday Morning Northwest."

      I wasn’t the only on-air "personality" to get the pink slip. The weekend weather "person" also got her walking papers. Rick and Teresa Lukens returned to the security of the KXLY-AM 920 radio booth and continue with their weekday morning drive-time show.

      And I have taken an unwanted leave of absence from local television. At least for a few months.

      Loyalty is not a word that is highly regarded in the television business. If ABC cancels you, you talk to NBC and so I’ve shifted my ambitions to KHQ -- the local NBC affiliate.

      KHQ airs a local morning program seven days a week. So if the culinary Gods are praying for me, someday soon I’ll begin doing a live cooking segment on the "KHQ Morning News."

      * * *

      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food, reviews restaurants and -- obviously -- does food presentation. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team for the Culinary Culture and Kitchen forums.
    • By Smokeydoke
      After a delightful brunch at Koslow's Sqirl restaurant in Los Angeles, I've decided to attempt to cook through her cookbook. I'll post my results here.
       
      Please follow along and join in, if you're so inclined. Her food is wonderful, but I will surmise that her true deliciousness comes from using the best and freshest ingredients. I'll do my best to recreate the magic I felt at Sqirl.
       
      Here's the link to her book at Eat Your Books.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...