09 February 2007

Bourdain Re Food T.V.

Food critic and general misanthrope Anthony Bourdain considers the Food Network with typical acerbity. Here he riffs on Rachael Ray:

Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook. She shrewdly tells us so. So...what is she selling us? Really? She’s selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough. She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could--if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?” Where the saintly Julia Child sought to raise expectations, to enlighten us, make us better--teach us--and in fact, did, Rachael uses her strange and terrible powers to narcotize her public with her hypnotic mantra of Yummo and Evoo and Sammys. “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped. Aspire to nothing…Just sit there. Have another Triscuit…Sleep….sleep….”

I mostly agree with his judgements (our Tivo seems to record the Food Network pretty much none stop), especially - on the positive side - about Alton Brown. I always learn something when I watch and feel like the food I (on rare occasions) prepare, or at least my experience of food in general, is "enriched." Also, Brown's four episode "Feasting on Asphalt" series is a great cultural history of those conjoined American passions, food and the road. Keep an eye out for the next time it is re-run (re-ran?) and set your Tivo.


Anonymous Scott K said...

Man, I loooove Alton Brown. Last weekend I made his chocolate waffles and they were amazing (although he made me feel slightly inadequate for owning a square, not round, waffle iron).

And honestly, I'm not a Rachel fan, but she's alright for what she is. Sometimes I don't want to make art; I just want to make a decent dinner quickly. I do usually watch her with the sound turned down, to attenuate the perkiness.

09 February, 2007 15:09  
Blogger Thunder Jones said...

AB is the crap. Bourdain is also a lot of fun and his nasty habit always seems to come in handy...

09 February, 2007 15:48  
Blogger PSA+ said...

Scott, if you were any kind of a friend, you would invite me over for chocolate waffles (I'll condescend to eat 'em square). After all Thunder has already served me up some exemplary shrimp & grits. Maybe since y'all are the only folks who ever comment - or probably look at - this blog, I should feed you. But maybe not.

09 February, 2007 15:55  

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