Our two older boys have just returned from their annual fortnight in the wilderness of Camp Nominingue. They're more tanned, more self-reliant and more helpful around the house than when they left - though we know from experience that none of this will last! Nominingue is brilliant, a hugely positive experience for them. They love it.
Each year I have a theme for my emails to them at camp, to add variety to the updates on how their soccer teams are doing without them and the latest Arsenal transfer news. Last year there was my infamous series of lame Knock Knock jokes. This year I combined their favourite TV programmes into a script for a new show: Big Bang Masterchef on beIN Sports!
(None of the following will make sense, even if you're familiar with The Big Bang Theory, Master Chef, and the football talk shows on beIN sports. My goal making a connection with the boys, not making sense!)
In the first episode, Penny is trying to heat milk for hot chocolate but she burns it. Gordon says not to worry, because she’s cute, and anyway he really wanted crème brulée so "well done Penny!".
Sheldon comes up with new tactics for the team, based on a dodecahedron formation in midfield instead of a diamond, with the number 10 role filled by a physicist playing in the black hole behind the striker. The shouty guy from Newcastle says that’s ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT.
Howard says no no that’s just RIDICULOUS, you have to apply quantum theory not relativistic mechanics because the potatoes aren’t perfect spheres like a brazuca. He gets so annoyed he throws a big mucky spud at this week’s special guest, potatoe's Wayne Rooney, who hits it first time on the volley into the top left corner of the oven. GOAL!
Today it’s the dreaded pressure test! What can our chefs make in 20 minutes with some eggs, biscuits and ice-cream?
Well, Penny has made a Baked Alaska! But the ice-cream has melted, the eggs are scrambled, the biscuits have crumbled, and it's all dripping on the floor in a messy puddle. Gordon says not to worry, she’s still cute, and anyway he really wanted a milkshake so "well done Penny!".
Sheldon is going for a real pressure test: he puts the ingredients in a pressure cooker heated in a fusion oven to 2 million degrees so as to simulate the extreme pressure conditions at the beginning of the universe, crushing the organic ingredients to a tiny point. The shouty guy from Newcastle says he’s no idea what the hell Sheldon is doing but it’s ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.
Suddenly, this week’s special guest Arjen Robben slips on Penny’s mess. He does a triple somersault with a twist landing on his backside and screams that Leonard tripped him. PENALTY! says Gordon. He shows Leonard a red card and tells him to take off his apron. Holy Dutch crap on a Bayern cracker says Raj, that's definitely not cricket. But Howard has no problem with the pressure. He steps confidently up to the penalty spot and blasts his biscuits to the top right corner of the fridge. GOOAALL!!
Today it's the season finale of Big Bang Masterchef on beIN Sports!
We're down to our last 2 chefs, who'll each create a stunning meal that displays all of their talents and everything they've learned this past fortnight. Of course Raj is one of the finalists, but poor Leonard is suspended after his red card in the previous episode. His place is taken by...Penny!
Raj creates a fabulous meal of wonderfully aromatic dishes: onion bhaji with a coriander and lime dip, chicken tikka masala with basmati rice, and sweet mango lassi with almonds. Penny really goes for it too: KD macaroni and cheese followed by a perfectly-unwrapped Snickers bar.
Gordon says Raj's meal is too spicy and complicated while Penny, who's still cute by the way, has cooked the macaroni to al dente perfection so "well done Penny!".
The shouty guy from Newcastle says this is BLOOMING RIDICULOUS and Gordon just doesn't recognise GENIUS when he sees it. Well thank you, says Sheldon. No No No I'm talking about MESSI shouts Shouty.
This week's special guest, Iker Cassillas, stands up to present the trophy to Penny. But he's not sure if he should go over to meet her or wait for her to come over to him. He takes 2 steps forwards, hesitates, takes a step backwards, takes another forwards, trips over his feet and drops the trophy. He watches helplessly as it rolls across the floor and is picked up by Howard. YES! says Howard believing he has won and raising it high above his head in celebration. GOOOAAALLL!!!