Dear Food Network: Go Take A Flying Leap

13 March 2009

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I liked their old slogan better: "Because 'Fuck You;' That's Why!"

I don’t have “appointment TV” viewing, anymore.  Since dedicating myself to the life of a sexy Registered Scientist, registered scientisting equations and experiments for hours on end, I no longer have the energy or wherewithal to dedicate a few hours of my day to viewings of The Shield, Friday Night Lights, and That One Girl on The Hills With The Great Rack.  Instead, I prefer to wait until the DVD comes out, then devote myself to numerous weekend hours of season-long episode watching and red wine drinking.  When I do watch TV, it’s generally as a background accompaniment to whatever sultry activity I’m doing after work (mostly quietly weeping.)  The Golf Channel provides hours of entertainment as I listen while cooking, thinking all the while how I would give a month’s pay to punch Sergio Garcia in his douche hole.  ESPN, too, provides much distraction, as I pretend to like watching college basketball in February, when I really just want the football men to come back.  Mostly, though, Food Network provides the balance of my television viewery.  Ugh, Food Network.  You’d think that a network dedicated to food would have some of the best cooking shows on television.  You’d be wronger than a Sandra Lee dinner, though.  Top Chef, the best cooking show on TV is on the Rainbow and Unicorn Network, and America’s Test Kitchen is relegated to PBS, apparently at a time I’m clinically unable to remember.  The third best cooking show on TV is no longer on TV, as Julia Child is now making demi glace for the angels.

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Julia sez: "I once caught a fish THIS BIG! No seriously, I'm holding it, right now. See?"

Food Network started out promisingly enough, and I still watch it on a daily basis, like a crack fiend who knows what he’s doing is wrong, but still has to give hand jobs to elderly executives in bathroom stalls at Union Station in order to feed his addiction.  Or so I’ve been told.  But what was once a celebration of food has turned into a dastardly, ham-fisted attempt to sell us overpriced knives and the notion that all you need to make a good meal are pre-chopped ingredients, thirty minutes, and giving your dish a stupid-ass name.  Fuck that.  What makes cooking so special, and what will serve to be the thesis of this post, is time to experiment, a passion for matching great ingredients, and a desire to make delicious fare at the cost of your free time, calories, and occasionally giving someone the salmonella.  Those of us who love food know the passion involved in cooking.  We therefore are unmistaken when we encounter the constant bullshittery and mediocrity of Food Network.  Like an average Bengals off-season, Food Network seems to endeavour to disappoint.  What follows is a list of the cavalcade of terribleness that the Food Network seems dedicated to cramming down our throats.  So excuse me as I hitch up my angst pants and delve into this “stoup” of nonsense…

Interchangeable Home Chefs

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This motherfucker made the decision to put those fucking hoops in his ears. Do you think I'm going to trust him for ONE SECOND when it comes to matters of taste?!?! The answer is "no," in case you were wondering.

You know, it’s funny; whenever I turn on Playing Tips From the Pros on the Golf Channel, the golfer giving the lesson is never my friend, Pete, who has a 22 handicap and once threw a 3-wood further than the length of my drive.  Instead, it’s usually a tour pro who knows how to hit a plugged ball out of a greenside bunker, among other difficult feats.  This, of course, makes sense, because the tour pro knows infinitely more about golf than Pete does, and thus can teach me things to improve my game, all based upon his vast, tour-tested knowledge and groupie banging.  Somehow this concept is lost on the Food Network.  I’m not saying that every show on the network has to be hosted by Thomas Keller, Fergus Henderson, and the guy who invented the Baconator, but let’s at least get some semblance of tried-and-true cooking talent in there.  Don’t show me how to “make boring chicken breasts into exotic, family-friendly meals;” instead, show me tricks to make the crust on my fried chicken thick and crispy.  Don’t show me how to make a quick and easy soup; instead, show me how to make restaurant-quality stock or broth.  Don’t “show me to the door” after I’ve had too much to drink and have begun hitting on girls by asking them to show me their boobs; instead, you know, show me your boobs.  Until Food Network gets the memo that the “cook next door” bullshit isn’t helping anyone, I fear we’re going to keep getting dumbed-down food, prepared by cooks who learned everything they know by reading cookbooks written by their next door neighbors.  And, seriously, just show me your boobs and I’ll go away.

Rachel Ray

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I call my reaction to this picture "uncomvomeurystic," because I feel so uncomfortable that I simultaneously vomit and have an aneurysm. Seriously, she looks about as natural in this picture as a girl in my basement who's not tied up. And alive.

The matriarch of the INARCAIPOIM (that’s “I’m not a real chef, and I’m proud of it movement”), Ray-Ray has gone from being a source of my infinite and brutal rage to a mere annoyance, as the public backlash against her has picked up the slack in recent years.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, while I’m not one of those knuckle-dragging fuckwits who think Ray is cute and adorable, I do think she’d probably be moderately sufferable (which I just made up, by the by) once she slithered out of the obvious and oppressive patina of TV fakery she dons for the public.  In fact, I wouldn’t even be averse to grabbing a drink with her and eventually, after several scotches, thinking to myself “You know, TCP, she’s not so bad, after all.  Maybe we should ask her to show us her boobs*.”

My problem with Rachel Ray isn’t even with Rachel Ray, herself.  Rather it’s with the cooking show format she inspired which has become so ubiquitous.  She laid out the groundwork for this landscape of culinary mediocrity, and has instilled in her devotees not the inspiration to love, respect, and experiment with food, but rather a spirit of “It really doesn’t matter how shitty this food is – I’ll feel great knowing that at least it’s not McDonald’s.”  Way to aspire to greatness.

A few notes about the host, herself, though.  As a person who, because of his overwhelming senses of humor and charm would need only himself to stay entertained on a desert island, I, too, am not averse to the ol’ self-inspired chuckle (and run-on sentence.)  Giving yourself an obvious courtesy laugh, however, is never acceptable.  Likewise, using catch-phrases-that-aren’t-really-catch-phrases over and over again are similarly frowned upon by those unaffected by Asperger’s syndrome.  And, finally, one generally uses acronyms and catch phrases for the purpose of brevity, because their meanings are familiar to those they are being conveyed to, thus negating the necessity of having to use the whole phrase or series of words.  One would never say, for example, “I’m going to the ATM – the Automated Teller Machine,” because that would be fucking retarded, of course.  I guess what I’m getting at is this: SAYING FUCKING “EVOO” IS ANNOYING ENOUGH ON IT’S FUCKING OWN – SAYING “EVOO: EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL” IS NOT ONLY ANNOYING BUT SUPERFLUOUS, AND UNNECESSARY, AND CAPRICIOUS, AND ARBITRARY.  SEE HOW ANNOYING THAT WAS?!?!  OH, AND WHILE I’M FUCKING AT IT, “STOUP” SOUNDS ABOUT AS APPETIZING AS I’M SURE IT TASTES.  In closing, please knock it off.

Speaking Of Knock It Off, Knock It Off With The Fucking Cake Nonsense

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This cake should win every cake award ever.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you are no doubt aware that my love of boobs is inversely proportional to my love of sweets.  For those of you who aren’t perfectly bronzed Registered Scientists, that means that I hate sweets.  As such, I’m terribly put off by the plethora of cake shows on a cooking channel.  Baking (what you do with a cake), after all, is much different than cooking (what you do with stuff that actually tastes good.)  If it was just Ace of Cakes, I wouldn’t mind.  But, instead, we have about trelve brillion cake competition shows on, as well, each more boring than the last.  Does anyone really give a shit?  I really could not care less who can make the best Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, or Emelia Earhart, or whatever, out of flour and icing.  It’s more sculpting** than anything (except boring), and, frankly…  What was I talking about?  Something about boobs?  Oh, right: cake.  I hate cake.  Knock it off with the fucking cake.

Sandra Fucking Lee

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Katherine sez: "The secret is to drink a lot, then buy all the stuff that you cook. They even have pre-chopped vegetables!"

Is there anything to be said about Sandra Lee which hasn’t already been covered in the Book of Revelations?  I mean, seriously, dudes.  Seriously.

Do you have an older, successful husband who caters to your every whim?  Do you enjoy spending numerous hours and hundreds of dollars remodeling your kitchen to match the theme of your meals?  Do those meals suck?  Do you want to have your own cooking show, but don’t want to do things like “cooking” or “having a soul”?  Are you made of robot parts and Zoloft?  If you answered “yes” to the preceding questions, then you, too, can have your own Sandra Lee show on Food Network.

If she didn’t like booze so much, or have such a great rack, I’d almost not watch this show every time it comes on.  Seriously, though, she’s the worst thing ever.

______________________
*If you’re at all curious as to why I refer to myself in the first person plural, the story goes like this: I have no fucking clue.  We need help.
**Seriously, these cakes cannot taste good.  It’s all I-beams and construction paper and fondit.  What the fuck is fondit, by the way?  I’m almost positive that it’s a mix of Silly Putty and Play-Dough.  In other words, I bet it’s delicious!

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One Response to “Dear Food Network: Go Take A Flying Leap”

  1. […] Food Network, I honestly thought I’d gotten out all my hatred for you with my last post on the subject.  It was a purging of all the hatred I had for you and your damn cheatin’ […]

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