Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: A ranch wife cooking show?
Some of the ladies at Tri-State teasingly suggested I should have a cooking show last week when my kids took lasagna noodles, added apple cider, and made “choo choo noodle soup.” I, of course, had to salvage the noodles. So, I rinsed them thoroughly, cooked them, and we had apple cider infused skillet lasagna that night.
The experience made me think of all the reasons why there aren’t many, possibly any, true, blue, help-with-the-outdoor-work ranch wives with a cooking show on a syndicated television station…
1. Child nudity. Cooking shows tend to be very PG, and a naked toddler streaking through the kitchen yelling they have to poop is hard to seamlessly tie into a shot where herbs and spices are being carefully added to a dish.
2. Germs. It’s also going to be a tough sell when the same, naked kid comes back from the bathroom, grabs a spoon, and begins to help while answering that no, they did not wash their hands. Not to mention the trail of, err, livestock poop they may have left on their way by. Only ranch kids can trail in manure without wearing a stitch of clothing.
3. After these messages… I am betting most film crews don’t understand what it means when the man of the house pokes his head in the door and asks his wife for, “just a couple minutes,” of help.
4. Limiting infrastructure. What happens when all the cows hit the tank at once, and there is no water for three hours in the middle of filming. Every day. Or, someone calls in with a question or for an interview, but a cow steps on the exposed phone line and cuts them out indefinitely. Or, it rains two inches before the film crew arrives, and the ranch is located down 30 miles of ungraveled road. Then what?
5. Out of the box plot twists. Cooking shows are pretty straight forward. But, on a ranch circumstances often result in meal plan A being replaced with plan B, or C. Not a lot of cooking shows switch up recipes halfway through, or showcase out-of-the-box brownies. But, the ranch wife is also likely grabbing a bag of chips and warming up a can of corn for a side dish as she explains the only reason there is dessert of any kind on a day like this is because she’s on the air. She certainly isn’t going to cook one thing for the show and another for her family, which could cause issues on high-stress days.
6. Unleavened bread. This is the only option, because the combination of film day and rising bread dough results in a 100 percent chance of a train wreck outside. It’s never pretty when rising bread dough is left on the back of the wood stove for half a day.
7. Pasture-to plate. This lady is going to know exactly where everything she is using came from. Referring to every cut of beef as Bandit the Bucket Calf ribeyes, burger, etc…, and inserting tidbits about his life and good for nothing mother is simply too much for most modern folks taking in a half hour cooking show.
8. Non-GMO. Forget scare tactics, current food trends or hot button words; this gal will tell the truth. Bluntly. If you want to know what your pig ate and how it was raised, pasture pork is the furthest thing from that, not the closest. That pig may have come upon a mangy coyote eating a dead deer, killed the coyote, and finished both off. And, did you know pork tastes like what it ate? Sounds tasty…
9. Sense of humor. She isn’t going to realize the general public won’t find stories like the one above humorous. Just like they may not appreciate her kids asking if they are having, “dead moo,” or “dead pig,” for supper.
10. Scheduling. I assume when they film a season of a cooking show, they like to knock it out in a short period of time. Setting aside an entire week, or two, dedicated solely to cooking is laughable, no matter how many desserts are included to appease the woman’s husband and kids. They’re already two weeks behind waiting for the road to dry out enough to get in.
The more I think about it, the more it sounds like a fantastic idea to feature real ranch wives and their favorite recipes. Wild kids, chilled calves or lambs in the background by the stove and ruggedly handsome husbands roping a yearling out the front window. Cooking while they expound on the realities of bringing food to people’s tables, dispelling myths, backing themselves with both science and personal experience, and….Oh wait, my husband just stuck his head in the door and asked if I could help him for a couple minutes.