“Lights, Camera, Action!”


“Hello and welcome to another instalment of Cooking with Mel!  Here is your host, Mel!”

“Thank you, thank you!  On tonight’s show, I want to talk about something very special.  This is, your own special, secret thing.  This is the fantastic trick of cooking, to have your grandmothers recipe, to have the same dish as everyone else, but it your own unique way.  Some of my friends use paprika in nearly every dish, some use pepper and think they have re-invented flavour.  Tonight, I share with you my special secret.  But first, this from our sponsors…”

“Tackle that annoying zit with new Zit-B-Gone.  Simply apply to your face and within 2 to 3 days, your zit will be gone! (warning, may cause boils, rashes, eczema, delirium)”

“And we are back!  Thank you for your patience.  You see before me three dishes.  To each I have added my special secret ingredient.  If I could have three volunteers from the audience?  You sir? Yes, and you, miss, please if you would, and a third… yes you Madam.  If you could all join me on the stage, thank you.”

“Now if you try the first dish sir, and tell me what you think?”

“Hmm, its delicious.”

“And can you tell us what the special ingredient is?

“I taste nothing special, it is delicious lemon sole.”

“Lovely, thank you sir.  Miss, if you could do the same?”

“It is delicious, but I taste nothing special.  I have never had lemon chicken before, is lemon the special ingredient?”

“We shall see miss, we shall see.  But first, an ad break.”

“Lush lowlands, quaint townsfolk, an air of tradition.  For your autumn break, choose… Transylvania… it doesn’t suck!”

“Welcome back, if you are just joining us we are investigating the tradition of secret, or special ingredients.  Our first two dishes have been reported as lemon flavoured.  We move on to third.  Please, Madam, taste and tell.”

“This is the most delicious beef stew I have ever tasted.  It is soft and light, yet hearty and filling.  There is certainly no lemon in here!  I cannot figure out what the special ingredient might be.”

“Thank you, please, return to your seats.  A round of applause for our admirable volunteers!”

“Now, I am sure you are all dying to hear what my secret ingredient is?  Well, it is lemon!  Lemon zest, to be precise.  Not such a secret in the first two dishes, as it is expected in those dishes, you see?  Lemon sole, of course, a very popular dish in European restaurants, and while lemon chicken is not so popular, it could be conceived of by any one with a basic understanding of cooking.  But the lemon zest in the beef stew?  I stumbled upon it by accident, and it was a most proud moment for me.  It has led me to a belief that I hold with me not only in my kitchen, but also in my daily life.  Many things serve their purpose well, while they may be mundane or average they do what it is that they are supposed to, like a hearty beef stew.  But there is nothing, nothing I have known, that cannot be improved by experimentation, chance and imagination.  So, to you here in the audience, and you viewers at home, I hope that in your next meal you will try a little zest of life, and in your next adventure you will do the same.  Thank you, and adieu.”


“Cut!  That’s a wrap folks.”


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