I’d love to be Pioneer Woman, even though I never watch her on TV unless I’m visiting my daughter, Dawn, on a Saturday and Bonanza isn’t on. I’m too jealous of her fame and fortune.

But I just think there’s more to the story about how she creates so many delicious meals and serves them so easily. I want to see the mess behind the woman.

On a recent Saturday, in a half an hour, mind you, she was putting together what she called a “super easy” lunch to take out to the cowboys separating the cattle from the calves. Doing that sounds easier than cooking in what my opinion was a “super complicated” meal that would have taken me all day. Maybe two.

I just fear younger people might actually think cooking is easy and mess-free. I’m here to tell you what goes on behind the scenes.

Pioneer Woman, and I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice lady, started out with 16 blueberry hand pies. Homemade hand pies. I was, however, glad to see she used store-bought pie crust. I was getting ready to turn it off until I saw that. The last time I made hand pies with two grandchildren the kitchen was a wreck, one of them got upset and refused to help and no one ate them. Maybe they would have if they’d been wrassling cattle and worked up an appetite.

Pioneer Woman rolled the crust out with her sweet smile and cut it into perfect rectangles. That alone would mess up my whole kitchen and spread flour throughout the house. Then she had to cook blueberries and make a filling. I want to know who picked the stems out of the blueberries.

After she baked the pies, she made a “very, very nice, sweet glaze” for the cowboys. She mixed together some powdered sugar, water and a little vanilla for a lump-free glaze. Her words, not mine.

I’ve never made a lump-free glaze in my life. In fact, I usually don’t get the ratios right and have to keep adding sugar to even everything up until I have a gallon of glaze. Once I had to go back to a store to get more sugar. That’s the reality of glaze, sorry to say.

Then she put together smoky salt and pepper drumsticks. That was pretty easy since she apparently wasn’t like my grandmother and had to go out and kill the chicken first, then cut it up.

But then she pulled out potatoes.

“She’d better not be making potato salad in half an hour,” I yelled at the screen. “My potato salad takes two days to put together.” But it’s worth it.

She wasn’t. She was going to grill the red potatoes that magically appeared washed and diced. Then she added sliced onions she apparently didn’t slice because she wasn’t crying a lick.

“I’m going to grill everything,” she said. She stepped up to a grill that didn’t have to be dug out of the garage and scrubbed down to remove the rust after also digging out the grill utensils from the laundry closet.

So she grilled everything and didn’t swat a fly, mosquito or annoying little gnat in the process. I just checked and their ranch, which has been in her husband’s family for five generations, is in Oklahoma. I knew it couldn’t be in Virginia if she wasn’t slappin’ or scratchin’ while grillin’.

Then it’s off to the nether regions of the ranch to spread out the spread on the tailgate. I was exhausted, mostly from trying to figure out how many people were behind the scenes helping her with the food prep and kitchen cleanup. That’s a job I wouldn’t apply for since she cooks three huge meals per day. But she probably goes to Wendy’s on Wednesday nights before church like everyone else.

I had one lingering question as her handsome husband, cute children and cowhands bellied up to the tailgate and ate. Why weren’t they dirty? If I’d been separating cows and calves all day, I think I’d be a little dirty and sweaty. There must be a crew behind the scenes cleaning them up too.

I was left with only questions as I opted out of the next segment in which she made her own hamburger patties. It was just easier, however, to turn off the TV and start eating M&Ms than to figure out how to become Pioneer Woman with a clean kitchen, magically chopped onions and a self-cleaning husband.

I can never be her. That’s my reality TV and I’ll just accept it.

Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee and can be reached at susanelzey@yahoo.com or (434) 791-7991.

Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee and can be reached at susanelzey@yahoo.com or (434) 791-7991.

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