Friday, March 4, 2016

My 1.5 Minutes of Fame

"That Ira Glass is such a doll."
Whenever Ernst pulls into the driveway and doesn't get out of the car right away, I know it can only be one thing: He's totally engrossed in a National Public Radio show and wants to hear the end of the segment. I do the same thing. I've been known to sit in the hot/cold/stuffy/steamy car in the garage, unable to tear myself away from an intriguing story or interview. Ernst pops his head out the door, wondering what's wrong. "Oh. NPR." Then he closes the door and lets me finish listening in complete, if not hot/cold/stuffy/steamy, peace. Sure we could come into the comfortable house and catch the end of the segment inside, but there's just something about listening to NPR in the car. It even rhymes. 

One show I love to listen to on my local station is America's Test Kitchen. Although I cook maybe .2% of all food discussed on the show, it's still one of my favorite segments to catch while driving. If you see me sitting outside the Post Office/Trader Joe's/Grocery Story/Medical Office staring off into space, just know "Oh. NPR."

The people that call into ATK with their questions always sound like happy folks, quite awake and alert. I assumed that the calls were live. I got the idea to call in one day, but since that's illegal and dangerous to do while driving, I decided to email in my question - which was about the riveting subject of cauliflower. 

After making Cauliflower Hot Wings, I got to wondering if any other vegetables would work with the garbanzo flour batter, transforming into the creamy yumminess that the cauliflower did. Of course I could experiment around myself, but what better team of experts could save me all that work but Christopher Kimball and Bridget Lancaster, the hosts of ATK. If they didn't know, who would?

I sent in my email and got a response right away. I was asked to sign a release and was told my pre-taped interview would be on March 3rd. So, those questions which seem so "live" are actually taped. This totally calmed my nerves. I would not be allowed to say anything stupid. Whew!

I imagined gettin' the call, sittin' back and chewin' the fat with ol' Chris and Bridg, talkin' vegan food, gettin' to know each other. I thought I would just talk away, and a talented person with great editing skills would put my ramblings into a segment that would make people sit in their cars so as not to miss a word. My biggest fear was getting asked the call letters of the NPR station I listen to, which I can never remember. "Um, I dunno, my radio is just set to 90.9 and I never change it" would make me sound like such a yokel.

Then I got the final email. My call would come in March 3rd at 7:30-8:30 am. Eastern Standard Time. You mean I have to get up at 4:30 IN THE MORNING to talk to these so-called-experts about a dumb ol' vegetable? It was looking less and less fun. The person on the other side of the email said I could be put on the end of the call list, so I set the alarm for 5am. The crack of dawn, just to talk about hot wings that were beginning to leave a very bad taste in my mouth.

I didn't want to wake up the dog, or the husband, so I sat with my hot tea and honey on the steps into the room we still don't quite know what we're doing with. I shut the louvered doors and waited, hoping the dog or the husband didn't stumble out and make a racket and ruin my chance of culinary fame. The call came and curtly said please hold on for Chris and Bridget.

Wait. No Hello how are you? Where are you calling from? How's the weather? What station do you listen to and don't just spew out the numbers we want the actual call letters and we want to know when was the last time you donated to Public Radio?

I sat there and waited. Then a voice, from Chris, What is your name? Jessica! Got that right, and I didn't even spill my tea. Then Bam, What is your question? At this point I wanted to make up some complicated question involving marbled emu meat or clarified ghee yak butter or wild elk steaks or anything, anything but a question about Vegan Cauliflower Hot Wings. I wanted to go crawl under a leaf of kale and turn into a pile of nutritional yeast.

But I plugged on, keeping as smooth as I could, trying to not bring shame to the entire plant-based community. Bridget had never heard of Cauliflower Hot Wings and said they sounded intriguing, or some other very encouraging word. Chis was a bit more dismissive. I think the man may need some more plants in his diet. 

But I got through the call. No one asked me anything too hard. And while I thought of some really funny things to say after the call ended (such as "Cauliflower - the Other Other White Meat") I'm putting it down as a fun experience. Of course, I won't dare listen to it live, I really am not fond of hearing my own recorded voice. But some day, maybe I'll be sitting in my hot/cold/stuffy/steamy car and I'll hear my little interview about cauliflower. "Oh. Me on NPR."

Chris Kimball

Bridget Lancaster