Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eating Out A Show Diary #1

Dear diary,

I really dig this whole TV thing. So far I’ve been able to knock out 2 recipes with only minimal difficulties. Although deciding to add the garlic at the beginning of cooking was a rather boneheaded move and I should have known better. But oh well, the chicken was done all the way through and still pretty moist. And this time I managed to make enough so that all of the crew got to have a taste as well.

Plus I got to meet Peter Moredyk, a fascinating ukulele impresario and probably one of the nicest guys I’ve met all year. Not only does he play and sing quite sweetly, reminiscent of a Tolkien ballad on a desert isle while sipping rum drinks, but he’s also a well travelled and interesting fellow. Originally hailing from South Africa, he has travelled quite a large portion of the planet and has sampled cuisines from all over. The only living man I know who has consumed the dreaded bhut jalokia peppers of India and could brag about the experience. (This man puts cayenne on his breakfast cereal!) I can’t wait to get out and see him perform live.

There was also Chuckle’s co-host for the day Amy Kohl. She’s a transplant to Fresno from the terrifying backwoods of upstate New York. But much more than that, she’s a local artist who, not only sculpts metal but is a fair hand with ink and graphite. I always feel a wee bit of farm-boy shame whenever I meet someone who can weld, since Pop never let me do much more than operate a cutting torch. But I also feel like I’m all thumbs around visual artists as well. So a welding artist pretty much makes me feel like a hack. But she brought me back from the brink by being a really sweet and genuine person. The oddest part about TV so far is how much the conversations will extend into the commercial breaks. Oftentimes one of their plucky techs will have to urgently remind us that we’re going back on the air so we can reset and be ready for another entertaining topic.

And what can I say about the great and powerful Chuck Leonard that hasn’t already been added to the Library of Congress? Considering I ditched Mr. Steven’s Radio/TV class after the first two weeks, Chuck makes doing and understanding TV extremely easy. He and all of the Central Valley Talk family make me feel really welcome and go the extra mile to help me not look like a fool. And trust me, that’s no small task!

To top off a fabulous day, after the show, Chuck took me over to see the Tower Community Garden. Truly, I have to say that I’m very impressed. From the mulch pile where they gather green waste from restaurants and mix it together on site, to the worm box for raising soil enriching wriggly beasts, to the amazing collection of plants and flowers lovingly laid out in their raised beds and in the serenity garden. Yup, there’s even a serenity garden to enjoy. 300 steps lead around in a tightening spiral where you stroll past a parade of color and smells. I’m hands down impressed. There’s a nice block of tomatoes set up, as well as squash, brussel sprouts, strawberries, various peppers, pumpkins and a ton of other items that I’m still learning how to identify on the fly.

I’ve got to say that I found the garden to be incredibly inspirational. Especially because, as I understand it, there is no central authority guiding it’s care. Rather, it’s the community of the Tower District that brought out the plants, tends the soil, weeds the beds and in general keeps a tidier garden than I do in my own back yard. And the young folks beating the heat in the shade as they listened to a friend belt out some tunes on his guitar provided some pleasant ambience as we walked the paths and admired the beauty that kindness and community can bring out.

Not a bad day at all. Let’s hope that next Tuesday is just as cool if not a little bit cooler.