Confession: I Don't Know How to Cook, But I'm Obsessed With Cooking Shows

I use my oven for extra storage and only own one pan, but I can't stop watching cooking shows.

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I can sous vide a filet mignon or spatchcock a chicken. Chiffonade some basil? No problem. I can do all of these least in my mind.

I don't actually know how to cook, so I've never tried any of this stuff in real life. Which is crazy because I'm totally and completely hooked on cooking shows.

The Real Deal

chicken and sausage pasta

Chicken and Sausage Pasta

This chicken and sausage pasta gets its spiciness from Creole-inspired sauce.

From: Chrissy Barua

Now when I say "I don’t know how to cook," I’m not kidding. I currently use my oven as an additional storage "closet." On the rare occasions I actually need to turn it on, I have to pull out two big canisters of protein powder I haven't touched in eons, an immersion blender we don't have room for in our cabinets, all of our tax documents and some needlepoint supplies.

I do know how to make eggs, so that's something. And I can microwave the hell out of just about anything. But that’s pretty much the extent of my "cooking" skills.

Why Cooking Shows?

Photo by: Rich Freeda

Rich Freeda

A few years ago I was stuck at home with the flu, and while I was miserable in bed I started channel surfing. I happened to come across an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and within about 36 seconds, I was hooked. In fact, there was a Barefoot Contessa marathon on that day, which I quickly dubbed a "Contessa-thon." And I swear: Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, made a week at home barfing seem downright enjoyable.

Barefoot Contessa was my gateway drug, but I quickly moved on from there. Giada De Laurentiis also has my heart. (Have you ever seen another human with more beautiful hair!?) And don’t even get me started on The Pioneer Woman. (We're both obsessed with Basset Hounds! I just know we would be besties IRL!)

I found all of these cooking shows to be so damn soothing; it was almost like having classical music playing in the background. But instead of music, it was “EVOO” sizzling in a pan or the sounds of a non-crappy knife (I own none of those) slicing and dicing its way through a head of cabbage.

Yes, It's the Cooking, But Also…

Recipes for four cheese pizza and pesto tomato pizzas SHOW:The Pioneer Woman EPISODE: Moving Cattle

Photo by: Jackie Alpers,

Jackie Alpers,

When I take a step back, I can see that I’m not just addicted to the cooking on the cooking shows. These shows are like a living, breathing lifestyle blog unfolding right before my very eyes.

I’m fascinated by Ina’s beautiful garden (nope, I also don’t know anything about gardening), her Paris apartment, the type of marble countertop Giada favors and all of the tools and gadgets that all of these hosts keep as part of their everyday repertoire.

I sometimes find myself fantasizing about Ina turning straight to the camera and saying “Yo! Stop what you’re doing right now and go get this melon baller! Your life will be changed.” And I can promise you: I would order that baller in two seconds flat, despite the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever balled melon in my entire life. (For the record, the official running tab is: one.)

Isn't it Time to Try to Start Cooking?

I will concede that it’s pretty bizarre that after watching approximately one billion cooking shows, I haven’t started cooking myself. But my brain is a strange and mysterious place, indeed.

It’s almost like I’m so deep into this fantasy world of mine, I’m scared of unplugging from the Matrix only to be reminded that I actually had to go to Wikipedia the other day to look up the definition of "roast."

My cooking fantasy life is so vast and wide at this point, I don’t even feel like I can get my arms around it anymore—and so I just keep watching.

Send help…or at least a decent set of knives.

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