I used to be a great cook. In my younger days, I was forced to cook all the time. I had four children who needed nourishment on a daily basis, and I couldn’t really afford to feed them fast food every day.

Not that I’d want to even if I could afford it, but the idea appealed to me from time to time. So it was fortunate that I enjoyed cooking.

These days, I’m not crazy about it.

I have my moments when I’m feeling domestic and take great pride in producing a delicious meal from scratch, but not very often. I think all those years of cooking for my family just burned me out.

So now I am content to watch other people cook, which is how I spend most of my evenings and weekends thanks to the Food Network.

My husband and I have made our way through most of the reruns of “Chopped,” the cooking competition that pits four chefs against each other. The chefs have to create three courses using mystery ingredients that are revealed just seconds before each timed round. All of those ingredients must be used, but the chefs can add others to the mix as they see fit.

A panel of judges, all chefs and restaurant owners, tastes and critiques each course and then eliminates the chef who had the worst dish. The eliminations can be quite heartbreaking, especially when my favorite chefs are thrown out. I often take it very personally, and, unbeknownst to the panel, end up in a big fight with the “famous” chefs who thumb their noses at the dishes that appeal to me the most.

Granted, I’m not actually tasting the food, but I know delicious when I see it.

Despite my love-hate relationship with the show, “Chopped” is well worth the hours spent in front of the TV. It even inspires me to do some cooking of my own. Not very often, but sometimes. That’s why my husband likes “Chopped,” too.

Catch new episodes of “Chopped” every Tuesday night on the Food Network.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548

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