Monday, July 16, 2012

You've been chopped!

Summer is a very interesting time of year for us. And by "interesting" I mean, "is it wine-thirty yet?" I might need to pull out my Pyramid of Crazy...

I have been working with the boys on a new reward schedule for our token economy system. They can earn treasure coins to pay for rewards by following a list of expected behaviors.

That's fancy talk for, "follow the rules and earn prizes!"

One of the things they can earn is time to watch a show of their choosing. If they don't want to pay coins for a show, then they are stuck watching whatever I pick. Or, they can go play elsewhere if they don't like the show I selected.

We don't watch all that much TV in our home because we can't afford cable. We rely on things like Hulu and Netflix and we have our PC hooked up to the big TV in our family room so that we can stream shows over the internet for free. Well, it's free except for the exorbitant cost of high-speed internet!

One of the shows I have recently rediscovered courtesy of the internet is Chopped, from the Food Network. I love this show! I figured it was somewhat educational for me in learning about ingredients and food preparation, and it didn't seem to have anything offensive that would be bad for the boys.

As it turns out, the boys love this show! They are glued to the TV when I turn it on. So much so, that they do something miraculous: They sit still. The entire time. I know. Miracle!  

If you've never seen the show, a group of 4 chefs come on the show to compete for $10,000. They have to go through 3 rounds - appetizer, entree, and dessert. With each round, their dishes are judged by an esteemed panel of chefs/culinary giants, and then one chef is "chopped" and does not move forward to the next round. Depending on the course, they have 20-30 minutes to create an amazing dish that must feature all of the ingredients revealed in a black mystery basket. The chefs open up the basket and the clock starts ticking away the few minutes they have to execute their brilliance.

Some of the ingredients the show comes up with, and the combinations of those ingredients, are truly insane. I mean it. I've seen things like candied fennel seeds (that look that sprinkles on steroids) for use in an entree. They come up with the most unlikely pairings of ingredients that have no relation to each other in any way.

One dish can include things like: chicken kidneys, sea beans, popcorn, and star fruit. I don't know. I'm trying to think of ingredients I have seen them use... Crazy stuff!

"Chefs, open your basket! Your time starts now!"

Really? And, what the heck are sea beans anyway? How exactly do you prepare chicken kidneys? Ewww...

So, my boys, the little script memorizers that they are, absorb everything about the show while it's on. Prince Charming can actually do a Ted Allen impression. It's the funniest thing ever to hear him interject things he's heard from the show when I'm cooking.

In fact, we were out having dinner at a restaurant and Prince Charming was reading the menu. Titan and I were ordering an appetizer and Prince Charming piped up and asked, "Is that an 'on ray'?" Puzzled, Titan and I looked at each other trying to figure out what he was talking about.

Then it hit me. Not "on ray." Enree. He's trying to say "entree!" He is figuring out that at a restaurant you can order an appetizer, entree and dessert. Just like Chopped!

Smart boy.

The next day, we were hanging out at home doing nothing in particular. The boys were playing in the same room. When this happens, it can spell trouble very quickly. Monkey did something that Prince Charming didn't like and he was getting agitated and escalating his behavior. All of a sudden, he angrily glares at Monkey and I hear him yell:

"You've been chopped! Grrrrr!"

Well, I guess Prince Charming figured out how to turn a Food Network show into a way he can fight with his brother. It was so priceless, I could barely stifle my laughter.

Now, that is scripting in all of its glory. And it was pretty awesome.       
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