Don’t Rock the Boat

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Tina Salter, Series Producer ironing in the Green Room

Taping two shows a day is exhausting. I mean, I'm just sitting in the control booth, shivering and observing (why DO they keep it so damn cold in there?), and I can barely keep myself from falling asleep on the commute home. The poor peeps who are actually working have it much worse. You all only see a half hour show, but getting that half hour can actually take about three.

It's interesting to note the difference between taping the morning show -- where the guests have a call time of about 10:30 -- and the afternoon show, which starts taping around 2:30. It shook out fairly often that the morning show had a completely different -- almost opposite -- vibe from the afternoon show. While that discovery is not a big surprise, since we are talking about two distinct sets of people, what surprised me most was that the morning show often ended up being the hyper ones.

I guess you could put down the afternoon crew's subdued mood to post-prandial food comas, and, for that matter, maybe a jittery cocktail of nerves and morning caffeine is what sets morning tongues a-chattering. On the other hand, due to technical difficulties, there were times when we didn't actually traipse into the studio until noon, so that chattiness may have stemmed from the "breakfast wine" the guests were offered to calm their nerves. Anyway, this week's show was definitely a morning taping.

Stephen is clearly a professional charmer. He showed up in the greenroom bearing flowers for Leslie and the other two guests. I'm sure he would have brought flowers to yours truly if he knew I was going to be lurking around, taking down and analyzing his every word. Right? Not only did Stephen say it with flowers, he said it with wine. My first thought when he pulled out the slender bottle of Inniskillin Ice Wine was, "Oh, the boy has certainly done his homework!" I have down in my notes the following, hardly legible, comment: "Knowing that Leslie is a wine writer, he brought along a bottle that he knew was sure to impress." (There's a scribble of something after that, but I think it's my grocery list.) Somehow Stephen also managed to rope Tina, our intrepid series producer, into ironing his shirt! As Wendy captured this priceless moment on film, Tina said dryly, "I don't do this for all the guests." See? Professional charmer.


I had another chance to sample the fruits from this famous and fabulous winery at a chocolate tasting put on and hosted by a few of my fellow food bloggers. On that occasion, the Inniskillin I tried -- generously supplied by yet another of my favorite food bloggers -- was made from the Cabernet Franc grape. It was pink, cold, and perfect with chocolate.

Speaking of food bloggers, I was interested to discover on taping day that Kristin was one as well. Her blog, Give Me Some Food, is sown with honest commentary and seeded with delicious photographs. She may be a teacher in her professional life, but she's a food lover in her personal.

So now I'm going give you some tidbits about the taping that never made it to the air.

When Stephen mentioned the bottle of wine he brought along to South Park Cafe, you all must've caught that he said the wine had a screwtop -- hey, a lot of the best wines do these days, you know? -- but what you didn't see or hear was Leslie's comment, "I always say: it's hip to be screwed."

Now before everyone gets all upset at me for putting those words back in Leslie's mouth and starts bombarding the suffering KQED inboxes with irate emails, hear me out. I think it's really endearing to hear Leslie joke like that. In the first place, it relaxes and jollies up the guests. And when the guests are relaxed, life in the control room is much more relaxed. And when life in the control room is relaxed, you get a better show! Secondly, it's simply flat-out endearing to know that Leslie is not a wine snob. Her real personality is warm and boisterous, not pinched and pearl-clutchy.