"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taste of Home Cooking School Sucks

Taste of Home is a folksy food magazine with 3 million subscribers and I have been one for about 10 years now, and wondered what their traveling "cooking school," always held in small towns, was like. It came to a town about 15 miles from here. Tickets ranged from $20 to "VIP" $150. They advertise a bag of goodies for everybody, but for the $20 it was lame: a cheap hand-held plastic fan without a battery (the bigger your ticket, the more you got), a packet of sugar-stevia and a screwy-louie. A cheaply catered lunch was available: two tablespoons of chicken salad on a mini-croissant, chips and pickle and soda, $6. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. vendors of overpriced bakery, jewelry, paintings, cards, cosmetics, Taste of Home cookbooks and $900 electric skillets, filled the hallway trying to get everyone's email address. Then came the 3-hour show. I was nonplused to hear the "chef" -- he had lots of acolytes but no co-chef --introduced as having a degree in performing arts and an MBA and then singing ("Cherry Cherry") his opener. Neil Diamond he wasn't. Big screens let the cheap seats see what he was doing onstage: stuffing mushrooms with sausage, dumping cream cheese in most everything, telling us to cheer each time he said "cheese," and to put vodka in piecrust. Then he told us the Pillsbury Doughboy "died of a yeast infection." Tee-hee (audience of about 300, all female).

Don't take my word for it: See the finale for yourself.
Only two recipes came from Taste of Home sources: cinnamon rolls and the upside-down apple pie. The Pork Council, Johnsonville Sausage, Gallo wines, and so on, contributed the others, and we heard all about those products. Maybe 35 door prizes, which is a lot: cookbooks, massages, Scentsy. Glad I went to see what it was like. A few good hints were given, like freeze your Glad Wrap so it won't get all stuck on itself. Very little taught in the way of cooking skills and no mention of nutrition or calorie counts.