The azaleas are blooming. The birds are chirping. More and more folks are getting vaccinated, and it feels like things are getting back to normal. There is much to be thankful for and look forward to!
I should be in the best mood ever. But I’m just not. I’ve been so down in the dumps lately.
Why? I really don’t know. I just find the world we now live in so depressing. We are just so divided. And people are so angry and mean to each other. And it’s hard to escape.
I used to be such a news junkie, watching morning and Sunday shows obsessively, but I just don’t anymore. If I turn on the TV at all for news, I turn it to CNBC where they only talk about margin calls and SPACs, which I really don’t understand, but at least no one is yelling at each other or being righteously indignant about absolutely everything. Apple stock is down a little today, in case you were wondering.
You can’t scroll through any of your social media feeds without seeing people viciously fighting over a news article or a comment on Twitter. The snarkier the better.
I’ve been trying to limit my consumption of this negativity, but it’s hard, especially in this business.
Somebody call me a whambulance! Yes, I need some cheese with my whine! I’m annoying myself at this point too. I know you are like, “Boo freakin’ hoo, the news makes you sad. Get over it.”
You are totally right. And I will. In fact, I already have.
In an effort to keep my spirits lifted, I have put myself on a new TV diet, and I have found great comfort in a surprising place from an even more surprising source.
And that place is in “Flavortown.”
Yes, Chef Guy Fieri’s “mythical place or state of mind, where fun and food meet in perfect harmony.” He has a show, “Guy’s Grocery Games,” where chefs compete in a grocery store called Flavortown Market, making high-end, restaurant-quality dishes, incorporating frozen foods or mystery canned goods.
I will admit I was one of those people who wrote Mr. Fieri off as a d-bag simply because of his hair and sense of style and the fact he wears sunglasses on the back of his head. In fact, when the city of Mobile was in talks with the Cordish Company to replace the Mobile Civic Center with an entertainment district in 2019, I wrote this: “Cordish often fills the restaurants with ‘themed restaurants’ or with the eateries of cheeseball chefs like Guy Fieri or chains like Chipotle.” And I made a dig about how much product he put in his hair and ran a picture of him alongside said column with a caption reading, “Is this ‘Guy’s’ brand really what we want visitors to think Mobile is all about?”
Brutal. And I am the one complaining about people being so mean to each other!
I was really just trying to take up for our local restaurateurs who weren’t so keen on having a competing entertainment district filled with chain eateries across Government Street. But in any case, I feel bad about it now. And when I am wrong, I say I am wrong. And I was wrong about Guy.
I didn’t really “know” him then, like I “know” him now, after cracking out on this show.
I can now say with great confidence I find him delightful and think he is one of the nicest people on the planet. We should all be more like Guy. Maybe not in the hair or apparel department, but definitely in the human being department.
The man promotes unknown chefs, giving their businesses invaluable publicity, and he gives loads of money to charity. During COVID, he raised $21.5 million to help struggling restaurants in just seven weeks.
And he makes goofy dad jokes on the show I really enjoy these days. They feel like a healing balm in these hateful times.
Since he is my new hero, I did some research and stumbled upon his seven laws of Flavortown, and though they are his rules for the kitchen, I think we can apply some of them to everyday life as well. I will share a few of them with you now .…
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
“If you’re cooking and not making mistakes, you’re not playing outside your safety zone,” Guy says.
I think we have all retreated into our “safety zones” too much of late, out of fear of saying something wrong and being ridiculed for it. But we need to be able to have thoughtful debates again, and know it’s going to get messy and mistakes will absolutely be made but we have to be a society that allows for them to be made — that’s how we improve and get better as humans and as a country.
Don’t ever use lighter fluid.
Just go on Twitter and you will see way too much of this is being used every single day. Take it from Guy: Step away from the accelerants, people. They make everything taste bad.
Taste as you go.
We all get so caught up in the grind of our daily lives, we sometimes don’t slow down enough to appreciate what we have around us and why we are doing what we are doing. I looked at my 11-year-old son this morning, and he is almost as tall as my husband. How did this happen? Where has the time gone? Have I savored all of the milestones and moments enough?
It doesn’t feel like it. I want a do-over.
More bacon is always a good choice.
“When cooking bacon, count out three pieces for each person … then triple It,” Guy says.
See, I told you, the man is a national treasure.
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