Wednesday, August 11, 2010

MasterChef Episode 3: My mom's take

I didn't get much MasterChef airtime in the first two episodes, so I was confident I'd get a little love in the third.  And I did.  But in Colorado, it was an election day.  And the local FOX affiliate mistook Andrew Romanoff's concession of the Democratic senatorial ticket to Michael Bennet, who was up by 10 points, for breaking news.  Just as we were about to watch the one minute of airtime that MasterChef would devote to me, FOX cut to Bennet's acceptance speech.  Good thing I'm not registered to vote; I might be forced to vote for the crazy dude on the Republican ticket come November just to spite Bennet for stealing my show.

But the rest of the world was watching, with only limited commercial interruption.  My mom, who lives in a suburb of Toronto and who thought that MasterChef was not only a waste of time but also a
surefire detriment detrimental to my professional career as an attorney (even though she equally disapproves of my post as a government attorney), was also watching.

As it turns out, she was having viewing parties with all of my aunts and uncles (this includes their close friends who are not actual blood relatives, but nonetheless carry the titles of "aunties and uncles".... yes, just like in the Joy Luck Club) in Toronto.  Today my mom finally fessed up that she'd been watching, and she told me what she really thought.  Disclaimer: If she weren't in such an unusually chipper mood, it would have sounded mean.  But really, her voice was almost melodic when we spoke today, so it was more comical than hateful, which is how I'm able to share this.

On my egg dish: "You really should have cooked Chinese food.  Too bad you never learned how because the Vietnamese girl cooked traditional food and white people just like Asian food.  They don't know the difference.  You could have wowed them with real Chinese food because all they know is sweet and sour." [I'm sure Gordon Ramsay regularly dines at the Panda Express, Mom.]

On learning how to cook Chinese food: "How would I know where you can learn how to cook Chinese food?  No one taught me so I don't know either.  But I think I have a DVD somewhere.  If I can find it, I'll mail it to you." [Cool, thanks.  Just look for the DVD that's still shrink-wrapped.]

On how I looked: "You're almost 34 years old and you still don't know how to put on makeup.  You looked terrible... So your makeup melted off but no one else's did?  Did you notice that they only picked pretty girls?  And those girls probably don't really know how to cook because they never have to cook for themselves.  They just get taken out on dates every night... No, I didn't say you're not a pretty girl.  Those were your words."  (See below... does it look like I'm not wearing makeup?  Indeed, it did all melt off in that warehouse with 24 Viking ranges with ovens all set to 350 degrees and studio lights towering over us.)
More on how I looked:  "So it's true what they say about how the camera put on ten pounds, because your auntie and I were saying they made you look really fat.  All those other girls who looked normal, they must have been reeeally skinny.  Maybe you should lose ten pounds."

On going back next year:  "I wouldn't do it if I were you.  All they want is to make you cry for the show.  Why show everyone your shame?  That's just ridiculous."

I am my mother's daughter.  Both pride and brutal honesty are in my blood.  And I don't make empty promises; I always do what I say I'm going to do.  Just like I'm positive that I will be getting an instructional Chinese cooking video in the mail in a couple of weeks, I'll be back for MasterChef Season 2 if they'll have me.  In case you were watching in Colorado and missed me making that vow, you can watch the whole show here: http://www.fox.com/watch/masterchef

15 comments:

  1. Haha, Charmaine- this was a hilarious post! Your mon sounds like my mom- my Masterchef 5 seconds garnered illicit disdain, but that was only if she could actually figure out how to turn on her tv to the correct channel. Glad we weren't the "criers"- interesting what advancement really requires. Oh, & tell your mom you were definitely one of the hot chicks on set!!

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  2. LOL... oh, that is so, so funny. Nothing like mom's. You'll always be her little girl (and therefore subject to all kinds of comments), but to the rest of us you're beautiful, smart, and talented!

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  3. Charmaine,

    You'll always be our jazzy master chefette! Wow, I know someone who was on the show and missed the episode (sadly, I don't watch much TV - I leave that to Claudia). An experience all the same...so to that, congrats!
    KEN

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  4. Hey if you're not going to use that DVD can you send it to me?

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  5. HAH! This totally cracked me up. Do our moms know each other?

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  6. Your mom is as bad as mine! I disagree on almost all counts with her (especially the "you're not fat and pretty" comments), except for the comment about groveling and crying to get further in the show. She's right on there. None of the boys cried! Why should the girls?

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  7. Again, I would like to reiterate that you did NOT look fat and you DID look pretty. (People put too much emphasis on makeup, and you don't really need much, if any, makeup. So there, Charmaine's mom.)

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  8. omg your mom is such a chinese mom!

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  9. Are our moms twins as well? Because really, I'm sure I had the EXACT conversation with my mom (minus the melodic voice. Hers was cranky, at best). I was glad to be one of the 24 best home cooks in America with you, friend!
    PS: I'm glad we were both eliminated that night. Most hilarious dinner ever :)

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  10. What a hilarious way to end yet another day of "my stomach hurts, I have nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Can you prescribe some Vicodin for me?" Your mom is so Chinese it's ridiculous. And wrong, by the way. She clearly tells you the opposite of what you really are for some unknown reason. In any case, you should have worn chopsticks in your hair. Or shuffled around the kitchen on platform wooden shoes in a red dress. You were clearly too good for GR and his posse. Can't wait for the crab boil!

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  11. typical asian mom criticizing their offspring... i swore i wouldn't be like my mom but christian asked me a few months ago why i'm always criticizing him. wish i read this blog entry earlier - i would've sent a totally different bday gift!!!

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  12. Hahaha sounds like a Jewish mother/grandmother. And honestly? I can't cook eggs worth shit because I don't eat them as eggs unless hardboiled. Ick.

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  13. oh momma cheung....classic. for the record, i am white and i do not like chinese food. so i am glad you did not cook that. lol.

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  14. What a hilarious way to ghd iv end yet another day of "my stomach hurts, I have nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Can ghd hair you prescribe some Vicodin for me?" Your mom is so Chinese it's ridiculous. And wrong, by the way. She clearly tells you the opposite of what you really are for some unknown ghd styler reason. In any case, you should have worn chopsticks in your hair. Or shuffled around the cheap ghd kitchen on platform wooden shoes in a red dress. You were clearly ghd norge too good for GR and his posse. Can't wait for the crab boil!

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  15. I Just had to read this after our conversation today!! It is just so hilarious!!

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