A few weeks ago, I was invited to do a segment on LX New York to make a lemon meringue pie. I thanked the producer profusely before reminding her that the lemon meringue pie recipe was the one I screwed up really badly in Cherries in Winter (see chapter 15, “When in Doubt, Bake”). Maybe they were looking for a comedy segment? In that case, book me and the wibbly, watery meringue! But no, they were looking for something a little more straightforward.

There’s nothing more straightforward than Mom’s Version of Great-Great Grandmother Matilde’s Baked Pork Chops with sauerkraut and applesauce (chapter 2: “Backbone”), so that’s what I made on live TV yesterday. Actually, that’s what I made for dinner on Friday to do a test run; the Husband Reaction Factor was very positive, so I proceeded to Operation: Pork Chop on Monday. That meant picking out the four best-looking chops for the “before” plate and then cooking up eight more–one set of four for the halfway-there plate and then the final four for what those in the biz call the “beauty.” (Don’t I sound like I know what I’m doing?)

The producers also wanted me to make a side dish. I thought about reminding them that I’d never cooked on live TV before, but I was worried that I’d start to sound like Bones McCoy from Star Trek: “I’m a writer, not a chef!” Not wanting to put the kibosh on Cherries‘ TV debut, I chose a supersimple side dish of roasted potatoes with rosemary. Impossible to mess up, even for me.

The LX host, Sara Gore, was amazingly sweet and a great interviewer. She also helped me out with the potatoes, which, as a former sous chef, she probably could’ve done while napping. The show was totally fun, all went well, and you can see the results here. Oh, I also got to see Valerie Bertinelli, who was there to promote her new book. She looked absolutely great–fit and gorgeous–and when she talked about getting ready to run the Boston Marathon a day before her 50th birthday, I was so filled with admiration that my heart glowed like E.T.’s.

Special thanks to LX New York producer Jeannine, hosts Sara and Megan Meany, and everyone who watched!

LX New York producer Jeannine making the set table look gorgeous.

The ingredients for the potatoes: rosemary, salt, olive oil...uh...oh yeah, potatoes!

I kept looking at the white wine and thinking, There's no water in this recipe... Wait a minute...