Complete Failure

We started watching Masterchef Junior last week at the request of the kids, and I do not think I can continue to watch that show. It’s just too depressing.

Last week, a nine-year-old girl made a molten lava cake. She’s nine. NINE. Several kids aged 10 or 11 made their own pasta. From SCRATCH. One 11-year-old boy made his own tortellini. Other kids, aged perhaps 11 or 12, took raw squid and turned it into a gorgeous, restaurant-quality dish.

I think you can see how I might get a little down in the dumps watching this kind of thing.

I mean, wonder kids exist all over, there’s always some 15-year-old sailing solo around the world or some 13-year-old playing a solo piano concert at Carnegie Hall, or some 12-year-old scoring more hockey goals in a season than half the NHL. But the cooking, the COOKING, it is killing me. I will never be a sailor or an Olympic athlete or a concert pianist, and I have come to terms with that. But every day, I prepare three meals for five people. Cooking, much as I hate it, has become my de facto job, my forced-upon hobby, my raison d’etre around here (yesterday, the Captain referred to me in a dibs-calling-war as his “personal chef,” and yes, SO TRUE.)

So to see children, CHILDREN, understanding the difference in saltiness between certain kinds of cheese, or inventing their own recipe for lime/coconut cupcakes, is just so freaking DEPRESSING. Years of cooking, and still I can’t hold a candle to a freaking NINE YEAR OLD.


And even worse, it has me looking askance at the kids. I know, I know, I should be satisfied that they are (mostly) happy and (kind of) healthy. It is rare, I need to remind myself, that a child stumbles across a thing they truly love at such a young age, and have the personality and drive to work away at it for long hours, and have the parental support they need to make it all happen. Plenty of other families, I tell myself, have kids that whine when they aren’t allowed to play that fourth hour of video games in a day, or that cry when asked if they would (for once) actually practice the piano, or that love every single activity so much that they flit from one thing to another every five minutes.

And still. When you see kids like that on TV, don’t we all ask ourselves what’s wrong with our own freaking children? Is it too much to ask that they, occasionally, bring home a school mark higher than a B-minus? Is it too much to ask that they find an activity, any activity that does not involve Super Mario or Fruit Ninjas, and actually want to spend time doing it? Is it too much to ask for them to at least TRY to cure cancer??


Making things even worse is this article I read over at MamaPop, in which Mia Farrow’s son Ronan Farrow is revealed to be the son of Frank Sinatra, not Woody Allen. But much, much more important than his dashing good looks and killer blue eyes is this segment:

“Ronan Farrow started college at the age of 11, went on to Yale Law School at 15, and was a Rhodes Scholar and lawyer like 10 minutes later. Now he fights for humanitarian causes and serves on councils that do stuff I don’t even have the energy to Google. Oh, he also founded the State Department Office of Global Youth Issues in the Obama Administration.”

It’s like, why did I even BOTHER procreating? We’re a whole family of crap-ass. SIGH.

11 thoughts on “Complete Failure

  1. Ooh, that post made me laugh. I feel your pain! Cooking always gets to me because I really enjoy it, but I have the two pickiest eaters on the planet. And watching kids the age of Mini Me making their own pasta? Stab me in the heart! It took me half an hour to get him to stop whining when I taught him how to make boxed macaroni.
    It’s hard not to look at these exceptional kids and feel like a family of “crap-ass” but you post got me thinking about what it’s like to be so driven so very young. I was thinking about some of the “adult” cooking shows I watch like Chopped or Top Chef. It’s amazing how many of those brilliant, driven people talk about being divorced, or missing time when their kids were young because they were always working, or not having kids because of their careers. It makes me think that kind of brilliance and drive comes with a price and maybe I would rather see my kids well-rounded and happy. Still, I could really go for some kid-made fresh pasta right now!

    1. “It took me half an hour to get him to stop whining when I taught him how to make boxed macaroni.” SNORT. Also: EXACTLY. GAH.

  2. So funny Lynn! I see your point but I absolutely loved it, and was in complete awe of those kids! I anything, I was inspired it.. to learn to cook better 🙂 i’m thinking, if that little twirp can do it, I guess I can! I thought the kids were really nice kids too… and the judges were appropriate with their comments etc.. great to see Ramsay w/o the swearing etc.. I love him by the way.

    my boys really enjoyed it and we will be watching again tonight for sure!!!

    1. We all also love Ramsay – to me he is the warmest with the kids and it was so sweet to see him being gently encouraging. I probably won’t be able to stay away from the train wreck of Masterchef Junior either, so I hope it turns into inspiration instead of depression!

  3. Jackie

    I have my doubts about Masterchef. I think the Masterchef judges decide (in advance) who will win, regardless of who REALLY has the best cooking, because no one other than the judges taste the food. It seems quite staged. And Kid Masterchef I think is even more guilty. It also seems to fetishize food; celebrating kids who spend so much time thinking about food and cooking did feel a little creepy. I don’t think I’ll be watching the rest of the series.

    1. We’ll see how the kid one plays out, but I also have my suspicions about them pre-deciding things. This past season I correctly predicted the top 4 based purely on who would have the most marketable cookbook – and even called the winner based on who the audience was most likely to come out and want to meet at a book signing event. Yet I still watch it, despite the cynicism…can’t help myself!

  4. This was me and Angus (who is THIRTEEN) tonight: “Can I have some apple?” “Yes.” “Can you cut it up for me?” “I can show you how to cut it up yourself.” “I know how to cut it up, I’m just lazy.” “You’re not embarrassed to be thirteen and asking your Mommy to cut up your apple?” “Nope?” …………… “Fine. Give me the goddamned apple.”

  5. smothermother

    Max won’t ride his bicycle. There is very little hope. Sigh.

    mental note: don’t watch master chef kids.


  6. I may have never been a Rhodes Scholar, or attended Yale Law School at 15 (or ever), and I’ll never be a lawyer. But that’s okay, because I wasn’t raised in the loopy side show that is Mia Farrow’s life and that means a great deal. By the way, a paternity test is $200 so I call bullshit on the fact that Farrow hasn’t confirmed her son’s sperm donor. That being said, I’ve often wondered how Woody Allen could be in any way responsible for that man’s genetics. He’s pretty.

    My son cooks dinner. Nothing too fancy, but certainly at a higher level than I ever managed at his age. This might sound great except the clean up is so, so much work.

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