Breaking Bad Habits

I am going solo for the next six weeks or so. That means I can be a selfish writer. I can tackle those home projects I’ve put off. And I can watch what I want to watch, which in this case is the entire series of Breaking Bad.

I wrote in December I was starting with the first episode and working my way through. Like a lot of hit TV shows, I missed being a part of this one. But I didn’t get too far, only midway into the second season. I got too busy and Hank didn’t buy into the show. 

So I decided to return to the second season and see Breaking Bad to the end. I’m now on the second half of season four. I average one or two episodes a night. I get home, make dinner, write, treat myself to some Breaking Bad, and then write again.

I read recently Breaking Bad tops the list for binge-watchers. I can see why.

Of course, the show is set in my state of New Mexico, but south in Albuquerque, a much bigger and badder city it would appear than Taos. That has a lot of appeal.

I am taken with the characters, Walter, Jesse, Gus, etc. and the plot. I am an astute reader and movie/TV watcher. I can usually see what’s going to happen next but I’ve been delightfully surprised, such as the death of Combo and how that was resolved story wise. Or brother-in-law Hank’s near-demise. Resolution. That’s another good attribute of this show. Story lines come around. Characters change, or for those who don’t, their circumstances do.

And, there are no commercials.

So far there has only been one stinker, the episode called The Fly. Walter White is obsessed about a fly in the lab. Frankly, I didn’t care and fast-forwarded to the next episode.

Like a zillion other TV viewers, I watched the show’s final episode so I know what’s coming for Walter and Jesse. But it doesn’t matter. I have a lot of good Breaking Bad still ahead.


To Be a Judge on Iron Chef

I am hooked on cooking competition shows. The Top Chefs. Next Food Network Star. Chopped. Iron Chef, and its better half, the Next Iron Chef.

I enjoy watching chefs work under trying conditions to create absolutely great food that pleases a panel of judges — or not. And, that’s where I come in. I don’t want to be a contestant. I want to be a cooking show judge.

I’m not an uber-chef, which seems to be the qualification for the Top Chef shows. I don’t own a vineyard or a high-end restaurant. I’m not an entertainment celebrity.

I’m simply a fiction writer waiting for the big break …. and a newspaper editor by day.

But I know great food when I see, smell, and taste it.

I know how to make a satisfying meal for a family of eight. I can bake a cake at 7,200-feet altitude without it falling. I write about food and cooking shows for the newspaper I work for in Taos, New Mexico.

So what cooking show would I love to judge? Oh, Iron Chef without a doubt. We are talking about two super chefs knocking themselves out over a secret ingredient. The panel of judges gets to taste each one and gives them a score.

If I were a judge, I wouldn’t be a know-it-all like a few are. I wouldn’t be rude. Or prickly. I wouldn’t pick over the minutest detail. I wouldn’t let the power go to my head.

I would be the charming but discerning dinner guest.

Ah, to taste the food prepared by Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Geoffrey Zakarian, José Graces, Alex Guarnaschelli — and those brave enough to challenge them.

I have yet to discover where you can volunteer to be a guest judge. So if you or someone you know does, please let them know.

As the chairman says, “Allez cuisine.”