It’s Post-Tax Day everyone! Hope you got everything in on time. You’ve certainly earned that 2-hour wait for $1.29 in Cinnabon.
When I wasn’t spending the weekend fearing for my life, I took
every breathing second hours a few minutes here and there to watch Food Network and The Travel Channel, better known as The Two Towers of Torpor. It’s a disgusting, vile habit that I intend on keeping, if only for your betterment.
Food Network and The Travel Channel (FN Jr.) dedicate almost 100% of their programming to turning my brain into something slushy that Andrew Zimmer would eat – in all likeliness, more brain. “But I learn so much about new recipes and distant, exciting cultures!” is one of the lies I repeat to myself, often through a stream of bacon chalupa spittle.
So why do I watch these shows? Because my life is a sad pathetic husk of what it used to be? Well, yes. But also, I come as a messenger, to save those that can still be saved. Heed my words below, lest you too be sucked into the food entertainment vortex.
Warning #1: Be a NIMBY when it comes to Anthony Bourdain.
I thought I liked Bourdain because, much like a copper smelting plant releasing heavy metals into a water table, he provides an important service and is usually found in a developing Asian country. He’s a guy that is willing to mix it up in foreign places, but America’s Food Will Ambassador is a tiger better left caged, or better yet, in India. Know this much: he isn’t your friend. He’s not even remotely nice. I found this out the hard way. If he is anywhere near your lily-white city, he’ll put his cigarette out on its face. Don’t even ****ing look at him. Seriously, he’ll cut you.
Warning #2: Semi-Homemade smells include death, decay.
You will get any number of food critics and bloggers (including Bourdain) tearing Sandra Lee a new one for her reliance on crappy canned goods and time-savers, not to mention the somewhat twisted addiction to tablescapes. But who really cares about the food? It’s the Stepford Wives atmosphere and obsession to detail that really throw me for a loop. I don’t like seeing a kitchen that doesn’t appear to be used for cooking. There’s so much careful decoration that it reminds me of a funeral parlor. Odds are the place smells of formaldehyde. I don’t even want to think about that woman’s bathroom, which is weird, for me.
Warning #3: Beware the Three Rs: Reinforcement, Racism, Really.
It’s a shame, because the Neelys have themselves the primary ingredients for a good cooking show: excellent recipes and hosts with comfort, charisma, and compatibility. But dammit if Food Network couldn’t leave it at that. Everything has to be sassed up and sexed up. No segment goes by without them dancing or making food/sex euphemisms. Why do I feel like this does very little for race relations? I’d be fine with that if i thought they acted like that off the air. I dunno, maybe I’m just missing something.
Warning #4: Don’t make fun of Adam Richman, because he has a job and you don’t.
How angry does this make you? Because it makes me furious. Life is a zero-sum game, my friend. For every Adam Richman out there hosting this show, there is at least one “this show” I am not hosting . Competitive eating is no longer interesting. It’s become incredibly derivative. When Adam goes out and claims victory for Man, thousands cheer for the camera. When I try to tackle a 3lb. burger, people cheer for a Maneurism, and break out cameras in hopes of massive failure. As long as this guy is alive (lol), eating challenges are no longer amusing.
Warning #5. Don’t make a martyr out of this guy.
Mario Batali has tremendous personality and talent out the oversized ass. Sadly, he no longer occupies a dedicated spot on the Food Network. He participates in syndicated episodes of Iron Chef America, but I kind of get the sense that he was just there to collect. I found his current show on the Cooking Channel, which is available in several Eastern European countries during the 2 am timeslot.
So what’s the rub? No, it’s not that The Food Network has lost one of it’s unheralded stars – it’s that I feel sorry for that guy. A guy that wears shorts everywhere and exhibits most of the same characteristics as the fat party dude from high school. But I hated that guy! What gives??? Here I am, sympathetic towards another that guy, because a few leaner and meaner hosts came in and gobbled up his time slots? C’mon, I should be cheering this move. Mario might serve a mean Pappardelle with Boar Ragu, but Rachel Ray served up a friggin’ Michelin chef in 30 minutes. That’s badass. Wait, what am I saying?
Yikes. Two things that provide so much pleasure in my life, food and TV, have combined to deliver a rather hefty 10oz cut of sadness that I won’t be able to digest anytime soon. I think I’m going to call in sick to work. If you need to get in touch with me, feel free to check in with me throughout the day. But please, just don’t call during Barefoot Contessa.