THE DAY MARIO BATALI BLESSED MY MEATBALLSHelen Cavallo
I’m asked to be a guest on The Chew! I’m a huge fan of the show. I mean these are real chefs… people I admire, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall…
My nerves kick in immediately because the show will be taped live in front of an audience. OH SWEET JESUS. My nerves are shot. I’ve been told this happens to everyone before they perform/speak in front of an audience/get in front of the camera. I’m sure they’re just saying that to make me feel better. I’ve also been told that after a while of doing it, cell memory kicks in and it goes away. I can’t wait until I suffer from cell memory. Right now, the only thing I know for sure when I’m in front of the camera is my name. It’s like the SAT’s—you get an automatic 300 just for writing your name.
Some words of wisdom I received prior to the taping included:
Look, there are bigger idiots than you on TV.
Whatever you do, don’t pull a Cindy Brady. (Remember the Brady Bunch episode when Cindy was asked to be on a quiz show because she was so smart? Until the camera rolled and she totally froze.
And from my sister Grace…Oh God Hel, don’t mess this up…
The show was “Comfort Food Minus the Calories” so I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs—using spaghetti squash as the pasta (only 340 calories!) It’s delicious and still has that slurpy spaghetti feel. GREAT!
5,4,3,2…moment of truth…
I’m not entirely sure what happened that day. It went by lightening fast. I remember sounds, clapping, smiling, and not much else. My Aunt Gom and best friend Jeanine were in the audience beaming with pride. Gom told everyone in the audience I was her niece, I mean everyone. I didn’t see them prior to taping but I could feel just how nervous they were for me. Grace wouldn’t even come to set, there was no way she could handle it. It was explained to me afterward that it was as if it was happening to them…which is nice to know people have your back like that. DARE TO DREAM.
Michael and I cooked together.
Mario watched and said he makes his meatballs the same way I do, by braising them in the sauce. I mean c’mon—from one Italian to another! I mean, howelseyagonnadoit, right?
(I could swear I heard Gom yell, That’s right Mario!)
Carla was lovely, giving hugs and kisses.
Daphne allegedly asked me something…I have no idea what. We’ll have to wait for the clip!
And the last thing I remember is Mario tasting and then complimenting me on my meatballs. I was beaming! I mean, I’m from Staten Island, the Italian-American Meatball Capital of the World and Mario complimented my meatballs! Delicious, he said (allegedly!) Michael said it’s not too often Mario throws those compliments around. THIS I do remember.
The only snafu was when Michael asked me what was in my sauce.
Not a trick question…but definitely a Cindy Brady moment.
I said tomatoes, I think…and couldn’t for the life of me remember what else even though I was looking straight at it.
Michael helped me out…Onion? Carrots? And then I blurted out GARLIC! There’s garlic in there too!
Everyone takes a bite; there are hugs and kisses, smiling, clapping, and its over!
I’ve got a photo of me with THE CHEW crew (here) and now walk with a “Mario loves my meatballs” swagger.
Tune in and watch me have recipe amnesia and have my meatballs blessed:
My guest appearance on The Chew airs January 10th at 1e|12 p|c on ABC.