Half-baked: taking on Amy Schumer’s cooking show


A local home cook tries a recipe from Amy Schumer Learns To Cook

Comedian Amy Schumer can make a cocktail with a kick and a wink, but at the start of her new series she can’t be trusted to prepare anything more complicated than buttered matzo in the kitchen (see her “recipe” here). Fortunately, she had the good sense to marry a chef, Chris Fischer. Together they now have their own cooking show, Amy Schumer Learns To Cook. It tapped into the zeitgeist of the time in which it was filmed (footage was shot by the couple’s live-in nanny) – the early days of COVID-19 lockdown in the USA. Remember when we all thought we could become kitchen competent? A moment of silence, please.

Onscreen, though, the show is less about cooking lessons and meticulously weighed ingredients all set up in their own little bowls, and more about Amy and Chris hanging out together in the kitchen and chatting together. Chris does most of the work throwing the dishes together, while Amy preps cocktails and moans a bit while doing little chopping tasks on the side. Chris also adapts his recipes to suit what he has on-hand when the original recipe demands ingredients that aren’t freely available under lockdown.

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Amy really is learning a thing or two. “I actually think it’s shifting our dynamic a little. He’s always been: ‘She’s the breadwinner, but I can keep the house going.’ He keeps us nourished, but now I’m like, ‘I can chop those. Are you going to make the wings or me?’ I think he’s a little shaken up,” she jokes.


Get cooking

To get in on the fun, we thought we’d go for the full immersive experience. It’s time for lockdown cooking lessons, part 2!

We sent a hapless home chef to try a recipe from the show. Mistakes were made, a recipe got tweaked, notes were taken (see below), and in the end there was actual food, in bowls, and nothing caught on fire.


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Recipe notes

The chef: Take one merely passable home cook… (our candidate watches cooking shows for fun occasionally but doesn’t read recipe books and most of her meals just involve lightly steamed green vegetables and a protein).

Recipe selection: Many of the recipes from the show are up online. Chicken wings with honey and soy sauce was rated as easy but didn’t seem quite as easy as “peas and bacon”, so she chose the chicken wings for the challenge.

The mistake: The recipe, which calls for around 2kg of wings, makes enough to feed six people. Our home chef was just one person, even with a lockdown appetite. Yet she mulishly stuck with her choice.

The fix: You can freeze cooked chicken, so nothing has gone to waste.

Shopping: Our cook shopped the day before she cooked. All she needed was the chicken, parsley, yoghurt, a shallot and a lemon. She subbed in garlic avocado oil for olive oil (it has a high smoke point so that’s fine, and rice wine vinegar for white wine vinegar). Also fine. Subbing in is in the spirit of the show.

The mistake: She remembered her gloves, mask, shopping bags, backpack and phone, and forgot her purse… which she discovered as she was headed for the tills.

The fix: Reshelving all the shopping carefully, going home, coming back, and reshopping all over again. Then she forgot to get foil (baking paper works just as well, Amy would approve).


The company: Wanting to have the experience of Amy yacking away while she cooked, our cook selected one of Amy’s free podcasts online, Amy Schumer Presents 3 Girls, 1 Keith (warning: grown-ups only) and cued it up on the laptop. She also snuck a peek at the recipe’s comment section for pointers, which confirmed some suspicions.

Changes to method: 

Glazing: As the comments warned that this makes a really runny glaze (more of a marinade, really), instead of tossing in a bowl, our cook used a ziplock bag to get all the wings coated in batches before laying them out on baking sheets.

Cooking time: The recipe recommends 30 minutes at around 204C, followed by a further 30 minutes at 218C. But it also says “cook till golden brown”. Our cook was not operating a honey-glazed chicken crematorium, so she cooked until golden brown at around 204C (really guesswork as her oven measures in 25C increments) for about 30 minutes in total, which resulted in a sticky glaze in places, crispy skin in others, and golden-brown chicken that came off the bone easily. Her oven could only fit one baking sheet in at a time and this made 3 sheets, so the 1 hour 30 minute time given in the recipe turned out to be right, but also, wrong.

Rating the cooking experience: This is an easy and really flexible recipe (it would turn into a hot sweet and sour sauce so easily) that doesn’t require much effort or concentration aside from keeping an eye on your chicken so it doesn’t burn. Perfect for puttering about with while you have a Zoom call with a friend. The end product has a mild but interesting flavour that’s actually not too sweet, and it’s enhanced by the yogurt-based dip.

Rating the show: Even better than the recipe. For the best experience, mix up a cocktail, kick your feet up and enjoy without feeling the pressure to do any cooking at all. Delicious. The best ingredient in all these recipes is Amy and she’s coming to us ready-made and pre-packaged in this tasty show.

PS: Again, all official recipe details can be found here:

Chicken wings with honey and soy sauce


Results!

Amy Schumer Learns To Cook show

Hapless home chef 


Watch Amy Schumer Learns To Cook S1 on Mondays on TLC (DStv 135) at 21:00

How to watch Amy Schumer Learns To Cook S1 online

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