Let the hoopla begin!

The excitement leading up to the Pillsbury Bake-off contest is starting! As I mentioned before, I am one of two Rochester-area finalists in this year's contest. Yesterday morning we both had an interview with Norma Holland at WHAM News. She and the rest of the WHAM staff were quite pleasant, even though we happened to be in the newsroom on an unusually frantic day. Rochester was having winds of up to 75 miles an hour, causing downed trees, power outages, closed schools, and so on.

In fact, when I woke up, I was really nervous about driving in the crazy wind and rain -- I literally didn't know if I could control the car. I poked my sleeping husband and told him that I was worried about driving in this weather. He opened one eye.

"You'll be fine," he muttered, and rolled over and went back to sleep. Irritating. But he was right -- I was fine.

When I arrived at the studio, a WHAM staff member took me to the newsroom. It was quiet and mostly empty, other than three three women answering phones and sharing notes about the weather. A few minutes later, I was joined by Vanda (pronounced Wanda), the other Rochester-area finalist. She and I hung out in the newsroom and chatted. While we were waiting, Vanda plated her tacos, nicely garnishing them with orange slices and parsley.

Finally, we were called into the studio. When we got there, two men were wheeling around large parts of the set to arrange for our interviews.

Vanda's interview was first, at 7:45. She talked about her Mexican Pesto-Pork Tacos, which she told Norma she submitted to the contest without having cooked first. I've heard of people doing that but I don't have that kind of talent.

After Vanda's interview, Norma chatted with us and the production guys. It went something like this:

Norma: Is anyone watching American Gladiators? I'm obsessed with that show.

Me: My 10-year-old son is crazy about that show.

Norma: I love Helga. She is so tough. She makes me want to hit the gym. (Pause. Looks at camera.) We are told that 20 thousand people in the area are without power today and many area schools are closed. We join Doug Emblidge in the newsroom for details. (Pause. Looks at us.) Helga has these long blonde braids. I can't believe how strong she is...

That's a talent in my book. I can't tell you the number of times I'll start a story, go off on some tangent, and then draw a complete blank about what I was originally talking about. I liked Norma. I could hang out with her.

At 8:40, it was time for my interview about my Jalapeno Popper Cups (the video doesn't appear to be on their Web site any more). For me, TV interviews are like an out-of-body experience. My mouth is moving and coherent words are coming out, but my brain is thinking unrelated things like "I look old and pale in that monitor ... I should have worn more makeup ... I look fat too .... I can't be that fat, can I? ... I wonder if I change the way I'm standing I'll look thinner ... nope, that didn't help ... I wonder if I should be looking at Norma or at the camera ..." And in a few minutes, the interview is over and I couldn't tell you a single thing I said.

In fact, Vanda pointed out that I had said something wrong about the rules of the sweepstakes. Oops, I didn't notice a change from last time, which makes me wonder if that's why my video is no longer on the WHAM Web site. Who knows. Anyway, here's the correct information:

1. Check out the 100 Finalists Recipes.

2. Vote for your favorite recipe. The recipe that gets the most votes is declared "America's Favorite Recipe" and the creator win $5,000!

If course, I'd be thrilled if you'd vote for my recipe, but I should mention that you really do want to like the recipe you vote for. By voting for your favorite recipe, you are entered into a sweepstakes. One voter will be randomly drawn, and if that voter picked the recipe that received the Grand Prize at the Bake-Off® Contest finals, that voter will also win $1 million! (If not, they get a $500 coupon for GE Appliances.) So vote for your favorite recipe today!


Ann said...

Congrats on being a finalist!

SteamyKitchen said...

good luck!

Jenny said...

Oh boy, I so remember all of the craziness with those news interviews. The waking up at early hours to prepare your dish. It's all so fun, hope you have the best time at the bake-off, can't wait to hear all about it! Have fun at future interviews!

Tracy said...

Ann & SteamyKitchen, thanks!

Jenny, I made my cups the night before and so did Vanda, and took them there cold. The people in the newsroom wanted to try the recipes and we both suggested that they nuke them to get them warm. Not a single person did that. They ate my cups and her tacos cold, right off the plate. And said yum. I think the people who work in TV news are total chow hounds.

Deborah said...

Congratulations on being chosen as a finalist!! They had one of the finalists from Utah on the news the other night, and my husband asked why I didn't enter. Then I had to remind him that I own all of those cookbooks because I'm horrible at making up my own recipes!

Anonymous said...

My vote's in---Good Luck!!!

eatme_delicious said...

Oh wow that's so exciting to be one of the finalists! Good luck. :)