My husband is having an emotional affair. There, I've said it.
Actually, if we're being perfectly honest, it's three emotional affairs and they're all with cooking show honeys. I'll refer to them as the Southern Sweetie, the Pioneer Person and the Italian Temptress.
It all started when Olof had minor surgery that went really wrong. For a month, he lay in bed sipping his liquid diet and incongruously watching the Food Channel. I guess it was eating by proxy.
You'd think that would all have changed once he could eat actual food again. But I knew for a fact he was still cruising cooking shows. Other people try to sneak a look at someone's cellphone or email but I was trying to get a peek at Olof's DVR. Which I would if I could figure out how to use it.
Of the three, the one that really worried me was the Southern Sweetie. After walking in on the show some 20 times, I was dismayed to learn that the total number of episodes in the first season had been...six. Not a whole lot of deleting going on there, a classic sign of food porn addiction.
I soon discovered, however, that the problem wasn't the food.
Inga: "I didn't realize you liked southern cooking."
Olof (transfixed to the screen): "Is she cooking?"
No, Olof is completely infatuated with this young hottie's 100-watt smile, her big blue eyes, her blond hair and her southern accent that's thicker than the maple syrup she uses in her pumpkin scones.
Every time she says "mah" (my), Olof falls deeper under her spell. When she starts creatin' a casserole, or "buildin' mah bourbon pecahn pah," Olof's eyes go completely out of focus. When she looks right into the camera, flashes that killer smile, and says (hopefully of the pah) "it's super moist," Olof has gone to another dimension.
The premise of the first six shows was that in each episode, she's teaching some clueless codger, who has never even boiled water, how to make a "romanic" meal for some lady love. She's all encouragement as she coos at the codger with her drop-dead smile, "You could be a little more vig-rus with yer whiskin'." Olof would love to be a little more vig-rus with his whiskin', believe me.
It's total culinary seduction. No guy fails with her. Cook "cun-try haym n' pataytas" with her and everything will be unicorns and rainbows. It will be like the first time you had sex. Only better. The girl will be happy too.
She may have her blond hair in a demure pony tail at the nape of her neck but I'm sure Olof is fantasizing that the second that camera is off, the pony tail comes out, the blond hair cascades down the back and she and the codger are locked in a hot embrace over the curried cauliflower florets. If he can find out when it is, I guarantee you Olof will be first in line for the next codger casting call.
As for the Pioneer Person, I'm sorry to say that as attractive and appealing as we both find her, what Olof is really lusting after is the cheddar. I swear she must have a skip loader backing up to her house every Monday with 500-pound palettes of full-fat dairy products, i.e., all the stuff our primary care physician, Dr. No, won't let us have. I get that the Pioneer Person is feeding ranch hands in addition to her own family but a typical recipe starts with a roux of flour and six sticks of butter, followed by whole milk or cream and a couple buckets of shredded cheese all melted into a decadently gooey sauce that's poured over a vat of pasta and served alongside individual two-pound steaks. Given that this is a cattle ranch, you kind of suspect that you saw the steak in a different form in a previous scene.
As for the Italian Temptress, even I agree she's drop-dead gorgeous and has a radiant smile. (Olof is a sucker for smiles.) She's also suspiciously thin. This isn't the saturated fat fest of the Pioneer Person but it isn't exactly diet food either. I'm guessing that off-camera, she spends seven hours a day on a Stairmaster interspersed with kale cleanses. It's the only explanation. Fortunately for me, she doesn't have time for Olof with all that Stairmastering. Besides, she's got relatives who are Italian. You don't mess with those folks unless you want to end up as an ingredient in a tray of Party Perfect Lasagna.
I just want to make clear to all three of them, especially the Southern Fried Vixen: you can't have my codger! And as for Olof, I'd like to point out that I have a nice smile too. Olof? Olof?