To Fry For

I am loathe to admit that I am not extraordinarily skilled in the kitchen. Translation: I don’t cook. And I learned everything I needed to know about the Art of Not Cooking at my mother’s knee. She was one of the most creative women ever, a Coty Award-winning fashion designer, no less! My lifelong friend, Sylvia, called her the Queen of Taste. Suffice it to say, she was referring to her beauty, elegance and elan, not her taste buds. For in the kitchen, sadly, she was a total disaster. My fondest memory—-make that my only memory—-of her approach to the culinary arts, was one night when I was a child, eating a dinner that she decided to cook. Here is the visual: The lights were dimmed. My father, brother and I were summoned to the table. “What hellish creation awaited us?” we wondered. Suffice it to say, she didn’t disappoint. The dinner consisted of burnt apple sauce and a semi-cooked (read: almost raw) egg. In turn, I fear that my own adult children’s fondest memories of my own forays into gastronomy was serving them from little white boxes on the kitchen table.

Fast forward to the present. I have had many star chefs on my show, Todd English and Michael Symon being two of my very favorites. I also interviewed Dana Cowin, the renowned (now former) Editor in Chief of the prestigious Food & Wine Magazine. In each case, a good part of the show was devoted to them telling me that I can, indeed, learn to cook. And that it’s never too late to learn how. Dana, bless her heart, even told me the best way to make hard boileded eggs, so I don’t repeat my mother’s, er,”Arm-egg-edon.” Todd, for his part, was extremely impressed that I grew a cherry tomato on my terrace. He actually suggested that we go into business together. And being that he not only runs the Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, as well as numerous other top restaurants around the world, it was quite an honor! (Alas, I don’t think he was serous. Sigh!)

However, those tales of woe may now be a thing of the past. Something happened the other day that will, I am sure, change my phobia about preparing food—- forever! Yes! Yes! I received a fabulous kitchen appliance from Gourmia. Admitedly, it didn’t just materialize at my door. I had gone to a very enlightening press event that showcased some of best and brightest products for the coming year, one of which being.. wait for it… an air fryer. Gourmia’s motto is “Engineering Cooking Tools for a Healthy Lifestyle!” Their sole mission is to bring professional-chef techniques to every home kitchen, making healthy gourmet meals easier to achieve—even for me! And while they manufacture everything from coffee machines, to food processors, pressure cookers and bread makers, and all things in between, I had my heart set on my air fryer. (I mean, can home made bread be far behind?)

Imagine, if you will, what fried delights are in my future. The list is endless, the possibilities infinite. Visions of crispy chicken wings, kale chips and sweet potato fries are dancing in my head as I write. And when I’m done with today’s show, I will be off to the supermarket to stock up on other fry-able items. Stay tuned for updates on my new-found skill as I start my quest to become the Alice Waters of the fry world, courtesy of Gourmia. Suggestions from all of you, of course, are welcome, as well. (Oh, and it’s for those others who may have similar passions.)

ps: Hmm. I think I will impress Todd even more by frying my cherry tomato.


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