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Friday, April 25, 2014

Love Food, Not the Shows

I love food, so I should love shows about food. And I do.

"Unwrapped" is probably my favorite because not only do I get to find out just how some of my favorite snacks are made, I get to find out about things I've never had a chance to try. "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" is fun because Guy Fieri seems to have so much real fun visiting the different eateries. He's cute with his family.

What I can't stand are show like "Man vs Food", "Bizarre Food",  and "Dinner Impossible". Let me break this down:

Watching "Man vs Food" makes me feel a little ill. When that dude puts down that much food in one sitting is just a glorification of gluttony. I have caught sight of this show more times than I'm proud to admit. I usually last until I find out what monster-sized meal he's going to try gnawing his way through, but when he starts sweating and dribbling on his napkin, well, I'm just done.

"Bizarre Food' is interesting. I'm always fascinated by foods from different cultures. I grew up in a culture where every part of the pig, ox and cow is not only eaten, but craved by a lot of folks. The thing that irritates me about Zimmerman is that I can never gauge how well his taste relates to that of most westerners. He will eat the anus of an alien and remark about the smokiness and layers of flavor. Rarely does he go ahead and just say how gross most of us would find a dish. I mean, come on, man: tell us that something is just delicious to you and the people who grew up acquiring a taste for it.

I admire the guy who does "Dinner Impossible" because he seems to do a lot of charitable events. It's his over-the-top manner that turns me off. He has figured out his TV persona and he works it like a boss. Very annoying. He's probably a super nice guy, but I can only take about five minutes of the "realism" that is him.

I'm not ashamed to say that I used to dig me some Paula Deen. I'd never use her recipes because of all the pounds of butter and other fatty stuff she uses, but I liked that motherly attitude she had. It wasn't her use of derogatory terms for ethnics (specifically, the "n-word"), but when I heard that she had a super-foul mouth. This was probably two years before she weathered the accusations a former employee made about her (and her son, Bubba). I just lost my liking for her when I realized she wasn't anything like my own mother or any other mother I could truly admire.

Now, don't misunderstand my irritation with these shows. I have nothing against eating flavorful and seasoned food. My peeve is when some shows seem to encourage people to over eat or just slam down any and every kind of food. I can't get a handle on what media wants more: to have everyone thin and beautiful with great cholesterol numbers or folks who glut until they can't breathe.

I do like it when food shows try to help teach ways for saving time or money in the kitchen. There just aren't enough shows like that. I used to like "30-Minute Meals", but...

Rachel Ray is just a little too damn perky for me. She's probably belongs in the club of the perfectly nice (right along with the "Dinner Impossible" guy), but, boy, I can only take so much of her hyper-happiness. She is really a cute lady though, isn't she?

My sister likes Bobby Flay and his "Throwdown" series. Not me. He comes off as the kind of person I avoid on a prejudice. I prejudge him as arrogant and grating. My sister agrees, but she finds his ways cute. He does too. You can tell.

Love, love, love the "Two Fat Ladies". I don't find many of their finished dishes to look very appetizing, but they are so much fun to watch. They seems so down to earth and real. They do no posing for the cameras - unless they are pretending to be women who don't pose. Fun stuff.

I really like Ina Garten on "The Barefoot Contessa" for the same reasons I like "Two Fat Ladies". She's so elegant without being frou-frou. I like how naturally loving she and her husband treat each other. I also like that she looks like someone who actually eats what she cooks (and that she cooks it without pounds of butter). She just seems like a person who'd have you in her home for dinner even if you don't live in her zip code.

In the We Never Agree category is "Good Eats". My sister doesn't like it. At all. I love it. I like learning not just about a certain dish but also how and why it's best prepared a certain way. Not that I often use what I learn. I have watched shows on fixing meat in a dutch oven right after I tossed my tin-foil wrapped steak into an oven that I forgot to even turn on.


I have food on the brain tonight. My girlfriend called and gave me a recipe for steaming my vegetables in broths and stocks instead of plain water. I can't wait until she mails me her son's recipe for vegetarian collard greens. (When you stop giggling about what I just said, think about all the fatback, smoked hocks and necks most people season their greens with. I'm not that bad, but I'm looking for more flavor without going broke buying smoked turkey wings.)


(I tried linking to videos of the mentioned shows. Sure hope I didn't pick ones that contradict any of my complaints!)