By Laura Spinella
I’ve been on novel hiatus for a few weeks—okay, maybe closer to a month. Savvy writing advice suggests novelists start another project immediately after finishing one. Unfortunately, this strategy is not in my author DNA. I need a break. Novel writing is hard work, and my muse is a lazy soul. With this mindset in motion, it’s not long before a writing sabbatical lulls me into a Haagen-Daz, what’s my purpose in life, mode. It’s a slippery slope, though I slide willingly—onto my living room sofa. From here I drift, like a garbage barge on the ocean, toward the oasis of reality TV.
I retreat to the Food Network where distraction is a staple menu item. This is low-maintenance reality TV. There are no dysfunctional families to sort through; no convoluted backstories to grasp, meaning you can pull into Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives anytime. Here, bleach blond, spiked-haired host Guy Fieri travels the country, visiting quirky
road-kill um, roadside
restaurants. At a glance, one can presume that lax sanitary conditions are meant
to be a metaphor for atmosphere. During these visits, Fieri ingests enough
lard-based house specials to be on prepayment plan for his future triple bypass. Sadly, one can only stomach so much of Fieri’s
orgasmic reaction to pork parts slathered in Jimmy-Joe’s volcanic hot sauce,
and I move onto Chopped.
I am amused by this post-Julia Child generation effort, a program that is not so much about cooking as it is about the $10,000 prize. The money is poised to transform any one of the competitors’ lives. Seriously? Ten-thousand bucks is all it’s gonna take to turn your life around? Most contestants want to open a restaurant. Unless the plan is to open a restaurant in their basement, ten-grand isn’t enough to keep a diner in doughnuts, never mind using it as venture capital. Regardless, you have to love the show’s energy. Four wannabe Emerils put their creative and cooking moxie to the test by using secret basket ingredients such as tree bark, goat urine, and Japanese jellyfish to prepare their dishes. Sometimes I feel for the contestants, but mostly I sympathize with the judges who have taste test the results.
Laura Spinella is the author of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. A 2012 RITA finalist, the novel is the recipient of the NJRWA Golden Leaf and Desert Rose RWA Golden Quill awards for Best First Book, as well as a finalist in the Wisconsin RWA Writer's Touch award for Best Mainstream Novel. Visit her at lauraspinella.net.