Hi everyone, when last we left our story, our heroine - aka - me, had just been given a time to go before the judges in the 2011 open call for Recipe to Riches.
If you're just joining the story, click HERE to see what happened before!
The whole thing is really just a blur now. In between all of the other demands in my life, I discovered my audition time was taking place on the same day as a very important black tie dinner the organization I work for hosts every year.
I was somehow going to have to get myself to Vancouver on a ferry and then pray to the culinary Gods I would be able to make it back for a late serving of dinner – changing into my cocktail dress in a bathroom stall on the BC Ferry.
Further to that, I had just two days to pick up my ingredients, experiment with the recipe, and shop for an outfit that would camouflage the twenty five additional pounds I was carrying so that by the time I tried on my fifteenth Martha Stewart inspired blouse on a late Thursday night extreme shopping spree (taking note the gaping buttons in the vicinity of my upper torso), my nerves were shot and I began to wonder if I had lost my mind.
After an evening of trying on clothes in fluorescent lit change rooms, the face I saw staring back at me in the Plus sized section of the department store did not have star quality. To make matters worse, at the same time I stood in the change room debating whether or not to splurge on a Ralph Lauren wrinkle free blouse, Vaughan decided to make a frozen pizza.
This alone, is not particularly noteworthy – except to say that I had been having trouble with my oven door for months and all of my complaints to the man I married had fallen upon deaf ears. I had, therefore, carried on with the oven door as it was, opening and closing it with the gentleness one would employ building a house of cards, carefully, and cautiously making sure not to jerk it with any sudden movements.
When I arrived home, I was exhausted, and still questioning my own sanity. All I wanted to do was put my feet up, relax, and get mentally prepared for what was to come, but when I went to open our uncharacteristically locked front door – with the dog going berserk behind it and my husband throwing out the F bomb like a white rapper at an Eminem concert – I knew something was up.
“Don’t come in!” Vaughan shouted from inside, and as I rattled my key in the lock and slowly opened the door, it was as if even the dog knew that now was not the time to bark.
I walked into the kitchen and there he was, the home handyman of the year, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor in his boxer shorts, a damp looking frozen pizza on the countertop, and the oven door beside him - rusted out springs and miscellaneous parts littering the floor.
The dog looked up as if to say “I had nothing to do with it,” and all I could think was “Who the hell enters a cooking contest and has their oven door snap off the day before the biggest culinary moment of their life? Further to that, could a lack of attention to kitchen appliances be considered grounds for divorce?
Although my normal modus operandi would have been to lose my mind, a strange sense of calm overtook my body and propelled me closer to the broken door.
As if momentarily possessed by the gentle spirit of a bygone era, a calming voice calmly whispered: “What would Betty Crocker do?”
And then I knew: I had the recipe. I had the ingredients. And I had an outfit. I would be damned if I was going to let a broken oven door stand in my way. I picked myself up, packed my ingredients, and made my way across town to my mother’s house where there was both an oven and a door and baked those Gobblers into miniature golden orbs of savoury goodness!
I packed them into an airtight Tupperware, stuffed myself into the Martha Stewart blouse, and set out in the pouring rain with my cheering section of Vaughan and my sister in law Karen for Vancouver and the open call auditions where I was scheduled to go before the panel of judges at 1:00 pm.
Always one to be punctual, we arrived in downtown Vancouver at a little after 10 am and began looking for parking – which was apparently supposed to be located right beneath the hotel the auditions were being held at.
Small town people that we are, we couldn’t find the parkade and ended up parking several blocks away and running through the rain – me clutching the Tupperware encased Gobblers like a pirate with her gold in one hand, trying to keep my umbrella upright so as not to ruin my hair and makeup.
Inside the hotel there were cameras, production people, nervous contestants, and crazed family members in abundance. Some wore costumes, carrying placards and signs to support their loved ones as they presented their culinary wares while others stood by, waiting in nervous anticipation as dreams were either crushed or given the green light to go another round.
Set up American Idol style for food, cooks of all ages, gender, and circumstance were assigned numbers and waited nervously in holding rooms - each filled with the hope that opportunity would provide that one big break and every time a cook went before the judges and a coveted golden ticket was given out signifying the lucky cook would be going on, the tension in the air thickened so that by the time it was my turn I had already convinced myself I should have stayed home.
Click here for the next installment of How a Pork Tenderloin Saved My Life: Gobblers!
In the mean time, come back tomorrow for celebrity dish on Mario Batalli and his recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Happy Wednesday everyone!!