The HelmetCam Gourmet: A Self-Critique

02.22.2011 | 12:05 pm

201102221032.jpg About a week ago, I had an awesome idea. I thought to myself, “Hey, people are always telling me how good my guacamole is, and asking me how I make it. I should do a blog post about how to make guacamole.”

Then, I had an additional idea: “Hey, I haven’t done a video with my helmetcam for a while. What if I wore my helmetcam and just narrated while I made guacamole?”

At the time, it seemed like a can’t-miss idea. Me! Wearing a helmet! While cooking! And being funny!

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, here’s what went wrong.

First of all, the way I think is probably much better suited for writing than for extemporaneous talking. When I write, I edit a lot on the fly — by the time I get to the end of most sentences, I’ve had an idea of how the beginning of the sentence might work better. A couple of tweaks later and I’ve got a perfectly usable sentence.

That doesn’t work quite so well when you’re talking off-the-cuff. Oh sure, when I get to the end of a sentence I’m saying, I still have the idea of how I might improve the beginning of that selfsame sentence, but it’s kinda too late to fix it, what with my having said it and all.

Next, guacamole — while almost certainly the most amazingly delicious use of what is almost certainly one of the three most perfect foods on the planet — is kinda gross-looking when filmed from above, without special lighting, by a guy who has no experience making food look good on film (or the electronic equivalent thereof).

Third, I forgot to use my radio announcer voice, and so what you hear is my actual, normal, nasal voice. I’m so sorry.

Fourth, yesterday was not a school day, and so I had to contend with my kids in a couple of different ways.

  • I had told the twins I’d be filming in the kitchen and so I needed them to go to a friend’s house or go play outside or something. This backfired beautifully; they kept coming inside to tell me what they were doing, which friend’s house they were going to next, and so forth. If I ever do a director’s cut of this video (very, very likely), I’ll include (and commentate) the part of the video where I yell at the kids to please, please, please, stop coming in and yelling, and to just go outside for ten minutes and let me get through this.
  • I had a vivid mental picture in my head of how ridiculous I looked — talking to myself about how to make guacamole, while wearing a mountain biking helmet — and how uncomfortable I’d be trying to explain myself to any of the three teenagers that might wander into the kitchen.

Fifth, I take guacamole very seriously indeed, and so had very few hilarious things to say. Instead, I listened to myself in horror as I found myself giving an earnest rundown of how to make guacamole.

Wherein I Force Myself to Continue

Halfway through making this video, I nearly stopped. I didn’t, though, because I considered two things:

  1. If I don’t ever try new things just because I think I suck, I’ll never get good at anything new.
  2. Thanks to the miracle of electronic media, I could always just delete the whole thing if I decided I just couldn’t bear to put it on the blog.

And so I watched the video, and then edited it. Thinking, the whole time, “Well, it’s not quite bad enough to abandon the project.”

[Note to self: A good way to tell that a project should be abandoned is if you have to repeatedly tell yourself that the project isn't quite bad enough to abandon.]

After about 45 minutes of editing work, I had a video. Here it is:

Why put it up, when — obviously — I’m not exactly a fan of how it turned out? A couple reasons:

  1. It was an experiment. While it didn’t turn out great, there’s a chance that something I learned will be useful in another project I do. Or in a project someone else does. Who knows?
  2. This blog was built on a foundation of self-humiliation. So this fits right in.
  3. There’s a fair chance that someone will make and enjoy some guacamole after watching this video. In which case I will be partially responsible for an increase in the amount of happiness in the universe.


  1. Comment by Dan in Sac | 02.22.2011 | 12:18 pm

    I LOVED you in Julie & Julia last weekend. And this guacomole video is just another plume in your acting cap.

    You talked me into guacamole tonight.

  2. Comment by Steve | 02.22.2011 | 12:25 pm

    How much is a “blob”, exactly?

  3. Comment by Zeeeter | 02.22.2011 | 12:32 pm

    The Guac is awesome. The induced motion sickness not so much. I may never eat Avocado again! :)

  4. Comment by Alon | 02.22.2011 | 12:35 pm

    You double dipped the chip! No matter what you say!

    So you’re a “Courmet”, huh?

  5. Comment by dug | 02.22.2011 | 12:39 pm

    if only you had used a gaffer. good lighting might have changed my mind about guacamole.

    and a foley. you could have used some woosh and pow sounds.

    although, those wouldn’t have helped me like guacamole any better.

    and, hey, are those really your hands?

  6. Comment by Jenn | 02.22.2011 | 12:43 pm


  7. Comment by chtrich | 02.22.2011 | 12:45 pm

    The unused drink on the counter was a nice touch.
    I make mine the same way, but add in some sour cream. Love the Jack’s Salsa

  8. Comment by bikemike | 02.22.2011 | 12:46 pm

    you need a “key grip”, also. that and if you said you were making guacamole to throw at someone, i’d have stayed interested. just to make and eat, not so much.

  9. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 02.22.2011 | 12:58 pm

    4-5 kids in the home and not a book, jacket, or toy on the table or floor in the background? Can I send my kids to you?

    As for Guac. I suggest we all bring our Avocados to Davis, we can have a dip-in.

    Wife no. 1 also mentions no bike equipment to be seen in the kitchen, I think she wants to send me as well.

  10. Comment by Penina | 02.22.2011 | 1:07 pm

    I’m getting hungry.
    Why are you tempting me with such yumminess?

  11. Comment by Michelle | 02.22.2011 | 1:08 pm

    I really need to know what the other two perfect foods are and if there will be associated HelmetCam videos? The Runner can buy you a Pampered Chef citrus press. You will love it!

  12. Comment by Chris | 02.22.2011 | 1:19 pm

    “DORK” is redundant.

  13. Comment by Scott R | 02.22.2011 | 1:22 pm

    Thanks, Fatty – and I wanted to say how much I loved Race Across the Sky, especially your scenes. Can’t wait to buy it on Blu and make others watch it.

  14. Comment by Microchip | 02.22.2011 | 1:27 pm

    Really funny scenario to imagine your kids explain to their friends why their dad was wearing a bicycle helmet in the kitchen? Guacamole is great!

  15. Comment by Russell | 02.22.2011 | 1:42 pm

    Guacamole? You wuz. What kind of fat cyclist are you anyway. How about homemade pancetta?


  16. Comment by Russell | 02.22.2011 | 1:51 pm

    I don’t think my pancetta photo link worked. If you like, visit my family website to see the bicycle pancetta process. I aged it in my bike shop.

  17. Comment by Fat Cathy | 02.22.2011 | 1:57 pm

    I particularly like the porn movie music in the background.

  18. Comment by Mike | 02.22.2011 | 2:01 pm

    I say “good job”! 1)You showed us how to make great guac (Im gonna try it soon), 2) You cut up those last 3 avacadoes like your were in fast forward (very very impressive), you also smashed it really fast, And I chuckled about the measuring joke and the double dip joke. I think the video was right on par with your normal material!!!!!

  19. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.22.2011 | 2:08 pm

    You bagged on the video so much, setting my expectations so low, I liked it.

    And I have a wicked craving for guacamole.

  20. Comment by Terri | 02.22.2011 | 2:29 pm

    Other than the fork scraping against the glass bowl, I liked it. I tried to start a food blog but couldn’t remember to take pictures while preparing the recipe. I think I should get a helmet cam and try again.

  21. Comment by Eric L | 02.22.2011 | 2:43 pm

    I’ve made some calls and Bobby Flay has agreed to a Guacamole Throwdown on June 4th. Please make sure Kellene is there with her camera. If you win, Bobby has agreed to race your 100 Miles of Nowhere for you. …wearing your Fat Cyclist kit.

    I’ll have his people contact your people.

    ps. the only place for iodized salt is an icy driveway. Sea salt and Kosher salt simply taste better and there’s plenty of other sources for dietary iodine.

  22. Comment by Class Cyclist | 02.22.2011 | 3:04 pm

    You should totally try adding some garlic powder too – it gives it a bit of a zing, and bit better flavor!

  23. Comment by Brad Barnes | 02.22.2011 | 3:15 pm

    I agree 100% with your usage of sea salt (and the comment about your background porno music)! Mine gets a can of regular Rotel, and I do splurge for fresh cilantro. Looks tasty!

  24. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 02.22.2011 | 3:27 pm

    Guacamole is one of life’s great joys. Thanks for venturing in to the land of cooking shows and sharing your recipe!

  25. Comment by Squirrelhead | 02.22.2011 | 4:34 pm

    I love guacamole! I think you made a good cooking show video. I would like to see one where you make the worlds best cake recipe you posted.

  26. Comment by Michael H | 02.22.2011 | 4:39 pm

    Oh, I definitely see a “cooking for the cyclist” segment new for Fat Cyclist in 2011!!

  27. Comment by Moss | 02.22.2011 | 5:18 pm

    I like the idea of the “Cooking for the Cyclist” segement but think all appliances should be powered by the indoor trainer.

  28. Comment by Brandy | 02.22.2011 | 5:20 pm

    ok, is there an exact measurement of a “blob of salsa?”

    Now I am hungry.

  29. Comment by Lizzylou | 02.22.2011 | 6:01 pm

    I’m feeling slightly dizzy. Perhaps next time you could put your head in a vise to prevent accidental bobbing around?

  30. Comment by cece | 02.22.2011 | 6:13 pm

    YUM! I love love love guacamole! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will try it this weekend!
    PS. How about the “Cooking with Fatty Show” ????

  31. Comment by distressed | 02.22.2011 | 6:26 pm

    No No NO! Your real accent is nothing like your voice in my head. Does not compute! No. Cannot cope with this. Had to shut off after the first “guacamole.”

  32. Comment by megan | 02.22.2011 | 6:35 pm

    … you’re American! This serves me right for reading everything in an Australian accent. Although now I do indeed want some guacamole.

  33. Comment by bradk | 02.22.2011 | 6:47 pm

    I’m sorry but guac without fresh cilantro, jalapenos, onions isn’t guac. yeah, yeah it tastes great, whatever. It’s like calling california pizza kitchen pizza pizza. and dug, we are no longer be friends, I can’t possibly like someone that doesn’t like guac.

  34. Comment by bikerman57 | 02.22.2011 | 7:38 pm

    Definitely not a double dip on 2 accounts, since:
    1. Chip was placed on the counter top between dips (this alone is sufficient to cancel a double dip)
    2. You went above a simple counter top chip placement by executing a quick 180 degree chip rotation prior to dip insertion.

  35. Comment by Anna | 02.22.2011 | 8:21 pm

    What? You don’t double dip the chip?!?! haha!

    Great video! Look forward to more to come!

  36. Comment by Paul Guyot | 02.22.2011 | 8:28 pm


    What about the helmet cam????

    I want a review on it toot sweet!

  37. Comment by chris | 02.22.2011 | 8:55 pm

    So, one note about squeezing the juice from a lime (or lemon really), toss the lime into the microwave for 10-15 seconds, then roll it on the countertop a good 20-30 seconds under some weight (like you hand pressing down on it with 30-40 lbs pressure), then cut/squeeze… This will get more juice from the lime… you really can’t ever have too much lime juice.

  38. Comment by Jay | 02.22.2011 | 9:06 pm

    Fatty – two words: raw garlic.

    This is my secret ingredient. For the number of avocados you used, I would put in 1-2 cloves of fresh raw garlic, minced via a garlic press. It gives a nice little kick to the flavor while not overpowering the other flavors.

    Happy eating!

  39. Comment by skippy | 02.22.2011 | 9:12 pm

    Saw your tweet on Vaughters and had done a post in
    Tondo deserves recognition for his courageous discision and support from Vaughters will encourage others, racers and management, to join him in getting Road Racing back on the right track !
    Didn’t look at the video as your commentary said it all !

  40. Comment by Annette | 02.22.2011 | 9:38 pm

    That was seriously nerdy. But hey, I watched it.

  41. Comment by HappyBiker | 02.22.2011 | 9:52 pm

    I LOVE your new blog picture! – and when I get ready to make guacamole I’ll be back again…

  42. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 02.22.2011 | 9:54 pm

    What “Fat Cathy” said. Nice porn music!

    I’m a little distressed by how well-acquainted with the porn-music genre so many of my readers are. – FC

  43. Comment by Mark | 02.22.2011 | 10:25 pm

    Great video! I’ll use the recipe. I like your new banner photo, but even more, the Maxim Break ad with the bikini babe above it that popped up when I opened the site! Bonus!

  44. Comment by Ian | 02.22.2011 | 11:50 pm

    I always gauge a video by the time taken for me to be distracted by other things on this here computational device.

    I made it to sea salt, then I started checking my email. (sorry)

  45. Comment by ChrisL905 | 02.23.2011 | 6:53 am

    My favcorite part was the avacado cutting. The way you roll the blade around the pit pointing the sharp side of the blade toward the palm of your hand thats holding the avacado.

    Could just be the view from the helmet cam but I think there’s a reason no one else cuts that way.

    Also, does anyone else cringe at the sound of a fork in a glass bowl? hate that sound.

  46. Comment by Franky | 02.23.2011 | 7:09 am

    I just made Guacamole yesterday and prepare it almost the same way. Instead of salt I add garlic powder and omit the lime since we eat it so fast it doesn’t have a chance to turn brown :)

  47. Comment by Pedalpink | 02.23.2011 | 1:08 pm

    I’m with Bradk on this one. I can’t agree to mashing fresh, ripe avocado’s with old, bottled salsa. It’s like trying to build a bike with campy and shimano.

    It would only take an extra minute to dice an onion, mince a glove, chop some cilantro (… dang, now I’m weeping).

  48. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.23.2011 | 1:33 pm

    I cut avacados that way, too.

    I did notice the music, and thought it to be goofy and campy, but more in a infomercial type way than as porn music.

    After you hilarious comment about the porn music comments, I am ever so glad that I did not think porn music when I heard this, Fatty.

  49. Comment by Jim B | 02.23.2011 | 3:03 pm

    “I’ve never seen anybody else cut an avocado this way,” or words to that effect: really? Is there another way to cut an avocado? Spiral cut perhaps? Or maybe creating a pinhole and then squeezing the avocado like a pastry bag while a high velocity stream of avocado goop jets out?

  50. Comment by Chris | 02.23.2011 | 3:27 pm

    a) I’m hungry now, thanks.
    b) Yeah, that’s the way we cut up avocados too
    c) My favorite was the sound the fork makes as it swishes around in the bowl (was that a see through bowl at the bottom? in keeping with the music theme)

  51. Comment by daddyo | 02.23.2011 | 5:40 pm

    rode cheyenne canon today (1500′ rise in 3.1 mile) great weather.

    will try the recipe.

    found the scirrous sound of the spoon the bowl raised the hair on the back of my back.

  52. Comment by JB | 02.23.2011 | 6:09 pm

    Superpowers! cutting the avocado like the Flash!

    Yeah, I always keep taste testing like that….and then I have to make another bowl for the fam.

  53. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.24.2011 | 2:26 pm

    If the pit doesn’t come out, whack it gently (!) with the knife blade and rotate.

    I am also all for the fresh garlic and a little jalapeno.

    Lastly, pronounce it “wa-ca-molay” and we are back on track.

    There is a future there for you, young man! Great post!

  54. Comment by ms Brenda | 02.24.2011 | 9:36 pm

    Made my first ‘wacamolay’ today. Hubby says where did you learn to do that? (My culinary skills are on par with my biking.) Thanks for the inspirational video.

  55. Comment by Niall in Brisbane | 02.25.2011 | 11:42 pm

    I’m a little bit puzzled re your comment about how uncomfortable you’d be trying to explain yourself to any of the three teenagers that might wander into the kitchen. Does this mean they have never seen you look and act like a dork before? Hard to believe! Nice guac…now, where did I leave those chips?

  56. Comment by Grego | 02.28.2011 | 5:32 am

    Wow, accent not at all what I expected!

    Loving guacamole recipe, will definitely try that soon, get off the pre-made bandwagon for once in my life :o)


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.