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Gastronomical productions of the stars

Growing up, I loved visiting my grandmother.  Walking into her apartment for a hug, the first words out of my mouth were usually, “What are we making?”

Grandma and I were always in the kitchen.  Together, we baked cookies and squares.  I helped her make köttbullar (Swedish meatballs).  And she taught me how to kneed bread dough by crushing my six-year-old fingers inside her big meaty fists.

Grandma was the world’s greatest cook.  (No bias whatsoever.)  Plus, she had a full figure so I figured she knew what she was doing.  (Never trust a really skinny cook.)

And while I’ve never reached her skill in the kitchen and following her “recipes,” which included descriptions like “two handfuls of flour” or “some sugar,” have proven challenging, I still get great satisfaction when I have the time to really cook – as opposed to throwing something together at the end of the day.  So I love to watch TV chefs for suggestions.

Unfortunately, cooking shows have become the new outlet for stars between jobs.  Why else would Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg ever get together?  And the pandemic has made this even worse.

Selena Gomez – yes, that Disney child star turned 20-something ingénue – is joining HBO Max for Selena + Chef.  Since most viewers wouldn’t buy her as a voice of culinary expertise, she’s pairing up with a parade of professionals for recipes, tips and tricks.  She might appeal to younger audiences, but personally, I don’t buy it.

When COVID hit, comedian and new mom Amy Schumer was trapped at home with her husband – an award-winning chef.  So what’s a gal to do but shoot Amy Learns to Cook in their kitchen?  Hubby, Chris Fischer, is the straight man serving up simple, pronounceable dishes while Schumer, his inept and wonderfully-unfashionable sous chef, offers the punch lines.  It isn’t bad.

Music stars have also been welcomed to the Food Network.  Trisha Yearwood has her Southern Kitchen while Martina McBride serves up Martina’s Table.  And while Grammy-winning singers don’t exactly scream “cuisine,” their whole down-home country-ness has earned both shows multiple seasons.

Valerie Bertinelli rejuvenated her television career by signing on to promote Jenny Craig meals in 2008.  But since 2015, the former One Day at a Time star has been preparing her own recipes on Valerie’s Home Cooking.  Ironically, she’s also admittedly gained weight again so I’m guessing a new theme is on the horizon.

Of course, one’s career path has nothing to do with their skill in the kitchen.  But is it any wonder that British supermodel Jourdain Dunn cooking with her underfed model-ites did not last?  Nor did Ayesha Curry, Brian Boitano, Haylie Duff, Tia Mowry. They were the equivalent to culinary freak shows.

Sure, I may eventually check out Selena’s show the way I look at a car accident as I drive by.  But I prefer to watch the pros.  Besides, while I’m sure many had grannies like mine, most stars are just too skinny for my kitchen.