Monday, October 09, 2006

Food Network

Accidental Hedonist had a post the other week about the Food Network being dumbed-down. The good cooks like Sara Moulton and Mario Batali are being replaced by the Sandra Lees and Rachael Rays. Not only that, but their programming schedule is being filled with, well, filler, like Paula's Party and Rachael's 5 million shows. I don't watch the Food Network to learn about the best steakhouse in San Antonio or how to make an appetizer using only Velveeta and marshmallow fluff. I want to know how to make things from scratch using fresh ingredients and how to apply my knowledge of cooking techniques learned from making one dish to dishes I'm making for the first time. The number of people with actual knowledge on that network is really lacking. Don't get me wrong; I don't hate every show except Good Eats, I just wish they would have more of a balance. I love Paula Deen, but I don't feel that she's an expert. I highly doubt she'd do well making traditional French cuisine. Alton, on the other hand, understands the science that goes into cooking as well as the art, so he can be more informative. I don't learn many useful tips when I'm watching Paula or Rachael or Ina.

I suppose I can't really blame the network. They're just providing the public with what they want: fast and easy. No one sits down to home-cooked family meals anymore. Maybe I should be more disappointed in our society. Next thing we know there will be a cooking show featuring someone going through McDonald's drive-thru and then bringing it home and arranging it artfully on a garish tablescape. Uh oh, I better not give Sandra Lee any ideas.

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Blogger Karen said...

"Next thing we know there will be a cooking show featuring someone going through McDonald's drive-thru and then bringing it home and arranging it artfully on a garish tablescape."

Um, that's Sandra Lee. :) Gotta agree with you to a certain extent on the quick and easy emphasis. I also think you're right - the network is just feeding the demand.

I'm starting to feel like Rachael Ray is that friend that you really liked in the beginning until you discovered she's kind of annoying and you really don't want to be around her that much. I still have to give her props because she's the one who got me cooking again after about 15 years of John doing all the cooking. I just love hearing Paula Deen's voice though and fantasizing about all that butter so I guess it's not all bad.

10/09/2006 1:35 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Rachel makes some good food, but she's just throwing stuff together. She gives me ideas but she never teaches me technique. I love Paula because my maternam grandmother was from North Carolina and she kind of reminds me of her.

10/09/2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger Funky Smith said...

What else bothers me about Sandra Lee is all that waste--she's always got her kitchen decorated in a new color with lots of expensive-looking knick-knacks. It just seems wasteful. Same with Rachael, you hit the nail on the head.

I find Sara Moulton rather boooring, if I do say so myself, although I can see you're right--she's got talent.

Personally I've seen a lot of good cooking shows on public television, believe it or not.

10/09/2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger oMeSSiaHo said...

This happened with ZDTV years ago. They had shows like "The Screen Savers" that had really smart people talking about technical shit. Of course people arent smart and dont care about technical shit so it became the "Stupid Video Game TV Show and Star Trek" channel. Enjoy the Food Network while you can!

10/10/2006 3:30 AM  
Blogger Gina Marie said...

I think AB should start his own network...

10/10/2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Funky: Don't get me started on the fact that Sandra has KitchAid mixers in every color when I can't even afford one. Sara's boring but she knows her stuff. I should check out PBS for some shows.

Mess: That sucks.

Gina: I'd watch.

10/10/2006 10:00 AM  

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