The Mentally Deficient Chef’s guide to life

By Leila Sales

My friend Allison watches a lot of cooking shows. As such, I am constantly being exposed to programs like The Iron Chef, The Naked Chef, The Post-Glasnost Chef, etc. Now, I am a huge proponent of being a television star, so I have decided to start my own cooking show, entitled The Mentally Deficient Chef.

Episode One: “In Which The Mentally Deficient Chef Cooks Up A Tasty Dinner Surprise.”

This episode begins with the Mentally Deficient Chef (affectionately known as the MDC) realizing that she is not hungry in the least because she has spent the past eight hours downing chocolate chips in a pathetic attempt to dredge up enough energy to write her Civ midterm.

But not being hungry has never stopped the MDC, dedicated chef that she is, from cooking dinner. When it’s 7 p.m., goddammit, it’s suppertime! So the MDC has no choice but to walk away from her computer and the open Word document which is still blank except for the words, “The Best Civ Paper EVER! Rock Out!” Because that is its title.

Once in the kitchen, having evaluated the myriad of potential ingredients, the MDC decides to cook Ramen. Ramen is a delicious, delectable delicacy, often used in high-class cooking shows such as this one, because a) it is dirt cheap, and b) it requires only one saucepan. This is a major selling point because, frankly, the MDC has only one saucepan. All her other cooking utensils are dirty.

This particular saucepan, unfortunately, is coated with a thin layer of rust. After giving the matter careful consideration, the MDC concludes that washing the rust off the saucepan would require effort. Therefore, it’s not worth it. She fills the saucepan with water and sets it to boiling.

Like any good television show, The Mentally Deficient Chef offers conflicts and plot twists. The conflict of this particular episode is: All the rust from the bottom of the pan starts floating around, tinting the water bubbles an eerie blood-red color.

The MDC considers dumping out the water. But it is already bubbling! Do you have any idea how long it takes to boil water? A few minutes, at least. There is no turning back.

So the MDC adds the Ramen noodles into the boiling red mixture. The noodles also turn red. They resemble brains, or what brains would look like if they were rusty. The MDC’s lack of appetite is turning steadily to revulsion, but she can’t dump out the pot now, because then she would have no dinner. And it’s 7 p.m., goddammit! It’s suppertime!

So the Mentally Deficient Chef sits herself down and forces herself to eat all of this tasty carbohydrate. Every last rust-laden noodle. By the end of the meal, she continues to be not hungry, with the added bonus that her body now has all those nutrients found exclusively in rust.

Don’t tell me television audiences aren’t into this sort of thing. Haven’t you ever watched Fear Factor? They’ll eat it up. So to speak.

The Mentally Deficient Chef, in addition to introducing recipes like Rusty Ramen, will also teach valuable kitchen skills like “When you finish a plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce, rinse off the plate before leaving it to sit in your sink. When you finally do dishes 10 days later, you won’t actually want to scrub off dried tomato sauce.” This rule is totally true. This rule is truer than most things that you learn from television nowadays.

You could argue that if the MDC did dishes more than once every fortnight, she would not have to encounter the problems of crusty tomato sauce and rusty saucepans. And you would be right. But frankly, the MDC is really, really bad at washing dishes. It can take her upward of 10 minutes to clean a single soup spoon.

The MDC pays marvelous attention to detail such that any fleck of orange juice pulp remaining in a drinking glass can drive her to the brink of hysteria. She rarely washes dishes because when she does wash them, she must wash them perfectly. It’s easier for us all if someone with calmer nerves and a more laissez-faire attitude takes over the cleaning.

Therefore, at the end of each episode of The Mentally Deficient Chef, one lucky member of the live studio audience will be given the opportunity to wash dishes as the credits roll. Meanwhile, the Mentally Deficient Chef will retire to her room, where she will moan about the toxic meal which she just prepared and consumed, and she will eat more chocolate chips, and she will continue to stare vacantly at “The Best Civ Paper EVER! Rock Out!”