Rachael Ray is getting replaced. Well, at least on one television. With the NFL lockout over and training camp underway, Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson now has to break down film instead of Food Network.
"I liked watching those 30 Minute Meals though," he says.
Still, Wilson is happy to be back on the field, even if it means he won't get to watch as many cooking shows. He's excited about the Bills draft picks, a healthy Shawne Merriman, and the addition of Nick Barnett who was released by the Packers recently.
"I know we've got a lot of ground to make up after being 4-12 last year," he says, "but I feel really good about this season."
He should. Wilson was one of the lucky few who received a new deal before the work stoppage began, signing a three-year contract extension in March. Now his main concerns are opposing offenses and making dinner.
It's mostly pot roast these days.
"I can put it on in the morning and come home and smell the aroma in the air," he says. "I put carrots, potatoes, celery and onions, and let it cook down for five or six hours."
Wilson has his own secret though -- the juice from a jar of pepperoncinis. What else would you expect from a guy who’s been cooking for over half his life?
As a teenager growing up in Paducah, Ky., he took over preparing dinner from time to time when his mother's job as a nurse required her to work late. He began reheating leftovers or doing something basic.
"It's hard to mess up a hamburger," he says.
His strongest memories are from the spread his grandmother would put out on Sundays after church. The family has a large garden and just about everything they ate was fresh out of it. The biggest hits are his mother's fried corn, and his grandmother’s sweet potatoes that Wilson says are to die for. But he can't quite duplicate the family recipes.
"I've tried, but you can't replicate a grandmother's or mother's love," he says. "That's the ingredient that's always missing."
And speaking of love, it's hard to believe that Wilson is still single considering his many talents. But that may be because he refuses to break out an apron for the ladies right off the bat.
"That's a treat right there," he says. "I try not to give them everything in the beginning because then they don't have anything else to look forward to."
And maybe because Wilson wants to get some professional lessons first. He plans to take some cooking classes after the season so that he can come into his own in the kitchen and create some signature dishes. For now, he'll just cook for his teammates.
Wilson likes to have a few of the guys over a couple times during the season just to relax and maybe watch a game on their bye week. He doesn't claim to be the best chef on the team, but says no one has complained about his cooking so far. He says the pot roast is a hit, along with soul food staples like chicken, green beans and sweet potatoes. About the only thing he won't make is the city's famed appetizer.
"I've never tried to make Buffalo wings. I'd rather not mess them up," he says. "If I want some good ones, I know where to get them."