Whether you order one of those meal kits, or have an annual subscription dropping pre-chopped stuff on your doorstep, you've likely taken credit for being "A Good Cook" at some point. This is just fine with everyone else who was side-eyeing your snack contribution at that super bowl party, whilst you peeled away plastic wrap.
We've all nailed something tasty ONCE, and then maintained that future charade where everything we'd crank out is flawless.
Your latest routine may have been Chili, or Guacamole. Perhaps you've stuck that landing once on Mini-wienies, or perhaps that was the reefer, and not your crock-pot which swayed the judges. However we position our casserole in the line-up, it's still only casserole. We are all basically a big casserole, an amalgam of parts, and influences, shaped by taste, reflection, honesty, and correction. Self correction is our most costly ingredient. So what happens when we can no longer be honest with each other?
And... This is not one of those tongue-lashings upon a generation who'd never been asked to help out in the kitchen. Or of a talentless generation who's parents worried more about causing them a bad emotion, than any constructive criticism. In many universities -- every paying student passes and then graduates. So, how could you be held to account when you couldn't properly nuke a Hot Pocket? Mid-Life therapy sessions will later suss out who was to blame that you cannot chop or slice anything properly. Or the chip on your shoulder from helicopter parents who'd failed to make chip dip. Only You are accountable for your failed launch. Dishonest Disaster struck well before countdown began. Your Parents simply wanted to be your friend throughout the divorce, so naturally you were never wrong.
Be kind to your parents, because that was a long time ago.., and social pressure forced them to baby you. It is not your fault that the coddled culinary caravan passed you by as a wee lad, whilst you'd clicked insta-something, and chugged Redbulls in your parent's basement. But, Can we please stop pretending that 'we' have a silver palette if 'our' singular cooking accomplishment was to mix Red-Hot with Mayonnaise?, or to successfully fry friends-giving turkey without dialing Nine-One-One, again?
It is likely that the low bar for entry to our celebrity culinary cruise hangs upon uber Creeps like Guy Fieri who cannot simultaneously be your chef god, and be the loathsome slob who drips greasy food down his ironic Concert-T on the "Food" Channel. You can adore celebrities, Sure, but you cannot adore "Celebrity Chefs" who cannot even make a good grilled cheese sandwich. Of course, we won't all agree upon who deserves to win the cook-off -- but in some netherworld fantasy-land devoid of Polish-Sausage Police Procedurals and nauseous Netflix re-runs..., we've elevated uncompelling ordinary cooks in the kitchen, to be forefront celebrity chef-ish assholes. Clever Chefs who'd once made us smile with flourish and a bit of knack in the kitchen have become mega-stars. How can this be? How can it be simultaneously true that it takes 12 hours to shoot a 20 minute cooking show, another 20 hours to edit -- just to celebrate a single 'clever' contestant soundbite? Julia Child and Jaques Pepin made the entire meal from prep to tasting in front of a single camera cut.
What's been rising in food-land's sacred pyramid, is mostly made of glass. Chefs who'd once aspired to cook for people, now aspire only toward celebrity -- And also to berate staff and their unworthy guests. Yelling for likes, in the socials is noteworthy if only because if this were the case with Doctors -- Or wait... That's the wrong analogy, ...because Dr's are generally untouchable douchebags too. Napoleonic aspirations have perhaps simply become part of the modern condition. The loudest and most brutal amongst us are buoyed to stardom, because it's all part of our celebrity popularity contest, which used to be just another humble job. So let's say that if teachers became celebrities, like congress, chefs, and presidents -- then we'd barely learn our ABC's before dropping out to become a Firestarter.
So, when did it all go wrong? When did the humble kid who hung onto mom's apron become a Trumpian Tantrum? Is the Camera to blame? The internet? Cable Access TV? What Year and where did we kill the affable charming chef, and spill 'Kitchen Confidential' all over the ceramic tile? I distinctly recall the year 1993, when I'd visited a "Hot" local restaurant and well before closing the kitchen, the chef and a few sous came forward to the bar with a bottle of Stoli vodka. Just before spilling even more shots, they'd finished an 8-ball on a piece of crockery, then they cranked up Motley Crue to a fuck-you volume before dancing on the bar-top... shocking guests. The music roared, and although I was a young punk -- Even I was appalled. The next Month we were seated at a wildly expensive Prix Fixe "Hot-Spot" to burn scarce money and 4.5 hours on Foam, Foix, and some Jellied crap, between more foam, and some more sorbets... I recall we'd left hungry -- So we hit up the Wiener Circle for a Char Dog and Fries. Perhaps the Early Nineties spawned that Insolent Brat Chef Cult. Perhaps... Or was it Vegas? Hollywood? Cable Access? Can we blame Cats?, or what?
What remains unshakable from those infantile years which conceived celebrity chef ethos were their cocaine-fueled F-Bombs, spilling forth from the back room. Mom-inspired kitchens yielded to a lunatic fringe of Guitar rock, and experimentation, and over-fancyfication of what was once good food.
Things were getting silly, well prior to 1993, as "Investors" were bank-rolling the most infantile expressions of a new brat pack. And then came Vegas Two-point-O'. With absolutely no authenticity of its own, The desert wasteland known as Vegas synthesized it's new persona brandishing a fine toupee' atop the Stratosphere, before setting about to recreate Paris, and then Venice, whilst convincing every washed-up singer song-writer, and Magician to take up residence in Sin-city. It may be Vegas, that slow cooker, where this maelstrom of haut cuisine went sideways. A desert crock-pot incubator of make-believe, bad taste, and squandered resources -- Vegas was certainly complicit in the death of the earnest chef. Trapeze replaced your sommelier, with ariel acrobatics, and every portion went from Fred Flintstone Steaks a la carte, to Foam, and Glace' courses. When all the M.A.S.H. re-runs had ended, hungry cameras came to devour darling charlatan chefs such as Bobby Flay and his Nacho cat.
There is no wisdom here, as per usual, but for the warning that a culture in decline never sees the moment when they've become the brunt of the joke, until the laughs dry up. But the first rule of course correction, is to be honest with oneself, and then perhaps letting others know.
Celebrity is America's only goal today, and the internet made that happen, but well before that point -- We'd decided to worship our children, our cats, and the brat-pack chefs.
From the fin de siècle pursuit of modest happiness to our contemporary Pursuit of Celebrity Stardom, we have reinvented our society ten-fold in the image of conceit. Instead of rearing kids to be societal contributors -- Careers of service; Doctors, Inventors, Clergy, even the President... [Big Sigh...] Today, nobody wants to earnestly improve anything through hard work & service -- They want to be serviced. We want to be Pimps and Hoes, slackers, and influencers. Everybody wants to be the celebrity. Nine Year old kids get a $7.50 Mocha thing or they cry in the back seat, and we cannot have that.
Actually, why means very little at this point. One could generally argue that Celebrity Striving is OK because "At least kids are trying to be something, aren't they?
Please Select one for them, because they know not what they want:
A.  Celebrity chef
B.  Influencer
C.  Crummy Author
D.  Loathsome Basement Dweller
E.  All of the above
The trouble with the flavors in this Crock Pot are the people striving to be Celebrity cooks or Influencers are not good at anything in particular, because nobody told them otherwise.
Honesty is now merely a social construct --
Construction always begins by tearing down others.
Back in the 1990's someone helpful told you NO, and the defeated humbled you had taken up another instrument, until you surrendered to being an account manager.
It would seem that the world began afresh, c. 1995, to ignore their phone-a-friend ethos or to chastise their children's outfit which "Honestly" looked terrible. We've ignored our friends absolute tone deafness, or their bad chef skills, and instead (and this is the key element) -- Friends, relatives, and parents didn't just ignore their shortcomings, but they've encouraged them to strive toward "celebrity" something or other. Here, Let me get that for you... Chucking, Ha Ha!, we all truly knew -- that you were unqualified to be C. [x] A Crummy Author.
"You are perfect", "You are Beautiful", "You are Talented", but, "You still Cook like Shit!"...and you cannot sing.
Not everyone can sing, be a celebrity chef, be an influencer, or be famous and popular. They just cannot. Unchecked talentless striving is unfair to them. That's what Karaoke reveals. Karaoke lays bare one's real raw talent... Or it did when people went outside. Encouragement that your special someone "looks great" in that awful mid-rift outfit, is cruel schadenfreude.
(/shäd′n-froi″də/, noun: Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else's misfortune )
Honesty is the collapsed Monopoly-money backstopped by deceit, myths, and our good intentions.
We all should do our friends and relatives a favor, and at the risk of conjuring some bad emotions, break it to them gently, and let them know that they'd bombed the talent show. Stop handing out trophies for participation. Not everyone can be popular, because if everyone is now going to be popular We will need a fuck-ton more server space.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.