Australians are currently caught up in a battle for supremacy, newspaper inches and coffee gossip centers around the intriguing topic of who is going to win. I am of course talking about Masterchef, the Australian program that combines reality show with cookery, as amateur chefs compete their way through a number of challenges. It is an absolute winner in our household and the two younger drama queens in particular are completely addicted to it. There is an upside to the concentrated television fixation in that they are cooking up a storm and the house is awash in Masterchef-inspired cakes and dishes. Drama Queen #3 talks knowledgeably about “plating up” her offerings with vegetables built into towers with the odd leaf strewn on the top. The cooking frenzy does have its unnerving moments though; I received a call from Drama Queen #2 asking if I had a thermometer that would show if she had boiling sugar at the correct temperature. I managed to quell the incipient hysteria that always begins when I feel a trip to the emergency burns unit is coming on. Just as importantly, I also managed to stop her before she stuck the first-aid thermometer into the pan. I don’t know what exploding glass and mercury does in cake decorating terms but I’m pretty sure I don’t want my confectionary laced with it.
The Masterchef final is scheduled to be televised at 7.30 p.m. this Saturday. It is particularly unfortunate that is apparently tradition that the first televised political debate of any election campaign is held on the first Saturday after an election is called. Hands up here if you weren’t aware Australia is having a general election. If your hand is up and you’re an Australian, shame on you—though I have to confess I missed the actual announcement and am presuming that it has taken place, based on the preponderance of photos of politicians clutching babies, toddlers, environmentalists, unionists, and mining bosses to their metaphoric bosoms. In a twist worthy of a television show of its own, it transpired that the political debate between the prime minister and leader of the opposition (and you score extra points here on the international stage if you can name these two characters) was a direct clash with the Masterchef final. I did hear Julia Gillard (the prime minister) say that she had every confidence that Australians would choose to listen to a debate on the national future over other options—I am not sure many people shared her touching faith in the likelihood of the population going for the option of entertainment, suspense and drama provided by politicians rather than a full on contest featuring knives, blow torches, heat in the kitchen and suspense—or should that have been the other way round? Anyway guess who blinked first on this one—and I’ll give you a clue, it wasn’t the producers of Masterchef who were worried about possible viewer numbers. Surprise, surprise, the debate has been rescheduled at the earlier time of 6.30 p.m.
Clever signs and advertising always make me laugh. I have just passed a van with a “Love is Blind” sign advertising blinds—and I feel like ringing them up and ordering blinds immediately despite the fact I have just finished replacing all the blinds in the house with shutters. My other favorite hangs outside a personal training outfit in Neutral Bay and proclaims “Birthday Suit Alterations Here.” Given the preponderance of Masterchef-inspired treats in the household, it’s just as well we are reaching the grand finale as I think we may be talking about my birthday suit being let out rather than the optimistic nip and tuck for which I am hoping.