Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why, Food Network, Why?

I don't want my blog to be all about Food Network rants, because if I have that big of a problem with the Food Network, I should just not watch it. Since it's hard for me to not watch anything that involves food, I do find myself drawn to the Food Network as my favorite background noise while I'm doing my Saturday morning chores. For a while I thought they were doing okay. Now they're pissing me off again.

For a while I thought they were changing. They were adding more new and interesting hosts. They brought back Jamie Oliver. They brought in Alex Guarnaschelli. They gave Anne Burrell her own show. Maybe, just maybe, it seemed like they cared about those of us who enjoy real cooking and wanted to learn useful recipes. Wow. I was ready to take down my Bob Tushman dart board.

*Sigh* It didn't last long did it? Jamie and Alex are gone. It's back to RachaelRayRachaelRayRachaelRayRachaelRayAnother crappy cookRachaelRaymaybeone decentchefRachaelRayanothercrappycookSANDRA LEE!

This morning it seemed like Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell were the only hosts with any sort of real relevant experience or training. Tyler was on pretty early. I think they only keep him around because he's hot and he's been there a while. They keep Anne because she's a female Guy Fieri. It it weren't for the fact that she knows her stuff and give useful information, she'd be in the annoying Rachael Ray territory.

I am just really feeling anti-Sandra today. Her show just never stops pissing me off. Today she appeared in a top that wasn't that unattractive (although those long dropping sleeve looked like a fire hazard/bacteria trap) but she wore this weird corset thing on top. It was completely unnecessary to the outfit. Very dumb looking. She made meatloaf mixed with Shake 'n' Bake, CANNED mushrooms, CANNED SOUP, and onion soup MIX. She cooked that in a SLOW COOKER with more canned soup on top. MEATLOAF IN A SLOW COOKER THAT IS JUST SO WRONG!!!!!!!! She cooked it on top of frozen hash browns and then got all redundant by serving potato soup on the side.

Then Rachael Ray made "risotto" with broken up spaghetti and talked about her love of Rice a Roni and more stupid storeis. She brags about how she "murdered" an oninon. I made a beautiful risotto last night for dinner. This show made me cry.

Someone give me a better cooking show!


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I feel your pain, Rachel. I've been complaining about the "dumbed down" FN shows for a long time. Fewer and fewer shows are about actual cooking and most of the ones that are, suck! I enjoy some of the Challenge shows, but they repeat and re-repeat them to death!

I am so sick of all of their guffawing, folksy, homey, canned soup and ketchup "chefs"! That's fine for some, but what about some real chefs that can teach real technique and prepare challenging recipes. FN needs something for everyone. Sorry about the rant. You struck a nerve!

noble pig said...

Food Network is going to do what sells and keeps them popular. Most of America cooks that way. I'm sure they figure real chefs are not watching so why bother. I would say Food Network knows most people are not going to spend the whole day or a lot of money making high maintenance food.

I'd take Rachael's job anyday. I can be just as silly too!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you'd enjoy some - they poke fun at the Food Network and the hosts!

Sara said...

I have trouble watching the food network these days. I still tune in for the Barefoot Contessa, that's about it!

Bellini Valli said...

Thank goodness the Canadian Food Network still has a lot of excellent shows...but only during the daytime. The nightime shows are full of crap!!!!!!!!!

Michelle said...

I totally agree with everything you said (though I do like some of RR's recipes but I make Ina's risotto, never one from spaghetti) The Neely's are an absolute horror! I can't believe these people have a show on tv. They'll give one to anyone.

Peter M said...

I'm finding Food Network Canada to also be getting lame but not that bad (no Sandra yet).

Check your local PBS station for some food/cooking shows...ours (from Buffalo) has some decent shows.

The Blonde Duck said...

Have you ever seen Alton Brown? He's fabulous!

melissa said...

There's a whole corner of the web dedicating to hating Sandra Lee. And I can't say I blame anyone who does. She does not in any way deserve her show.

RR... My attitude about her has shifted. Well, not HER. She's incredibly annoying, but some of her food is actually very good. And what she cooks is well suited to the moms or busy folks of the world, for sure.

I agree FN could be a lot better though. I stayed home from work a couple of weeks ago and wrote kind of a "live blog" the whole day while FN was on. So many of them get under my skin.

Bunny said...

I use to get up in the morning and turn FN on for the whole day when I had off, I barely tune in anymore.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

SGCC - Thanks for the support. It's not about real cooking anymore unfortunately.

NP - Do you really think most of America cooks that way, or is it just the demographic FN has invented. I believe that if you're going to have a network centered around food, it should teach people how to cook. It should teach people real technique. I would shout it from the mountaintops that there really isa middle ground between Sandra Lee and haute cuisine. Knowing a few good techniques and basic recipes can do a world of good, rather than telling people to make "assemly" type meals. Real cooking isn't difficult. They had shows like How to Boil Water that taught people that, but they keep getting rid of that type of show.

Anon - I'm quite familiar with it.

Sara- I have trouble too. It's like a train wreck for me. I put it on for background noise while I'm doing my morning chores, but then it just pisses me off and I end up ranting like this.

Val - Yeah. You Canadians have it lucky - no Rachael Ray!

Michelle and Melissa - I have to disagree with you on the Rachael Ray thing. I find her recipes disgusting. She had a few decent recipes in her first season, but she ran out of ideas quickly and now she's just pulling crap out of her butt. Here's a typical Rachael Ray recipe: Cook some bacon in olive oil (???), add two pounds of ground beef (or turkey or chicken), add a palmful of cumin and a palmful of smoked paprika, toss it with a pound of pasta, cover it with a pound of cheese, and put it under the broiler. If only I could make millions of dollars with recipes like that!

Duckie - I use to like Alton Brown. His show is entertaining, but I've grown a little tired of the schtick. I sometimes feel her really complicates things too much. I saw on a message board once that Alton Brown takes a whole show to explain something that Jacques Pepin can explain in two minutes. He also seems like a real jerk IRL. He was so obnoxious on TNFNS and I've heard him say some very cruel things about overweight people in the past.

Peter - I do watch the PBS shows when I can, but they tend to not be on when I'm home.

It's funny that I mentioned Jacques Pepin above. He has a show. He has a book on "fast food". He can explain things well for a novice, but people are so convinced that only Rachael Ray can teach them to cook and that a French chef is too intimidating or elitist or whatver. That just burns my butt!

Sue said...

Forgive me for taking so long to comment on this post. And HEY! What's wrong with spending all one's time ranting about the Food Network?!!

Sandra Lee's cooking is evil. There's no other way to describe it. I still remember when she took apple crisp out of a slow cooker and it turned out to be beef stew or some such thing. THAT was entertaining.

Of course, Rachael can't make real risotto. She only knows how to cook ground meat and pasta. My mother used to occasionally "make" Rice a Roni. I must have tasted it once to know I hated it, but it is so artificially poisonous and vile, it gives rice (not to mention San Francisco) a bad name.

we are never full said...

you friggin make me LAUGH with this one. you know what happened to me after i had 3 or 4 years of straight rants about TFN ? i actually did stop watching. i used to watch about 1-2 hours a day at my highest peak. now, i'd be lucky to watch 15 minutes of it. even iron chef america which i used to like, bores me. the only two real awesome talents are gone or are never shown (mario and morimoto) and that "chairman" sucks bigtime and has zero relevance to the show. he sounds like he has to memorize his 3 friggin lines every time he utters them (ie: "What is your approach to today's secret ingredient" - he stumbles on it every time!!!). i don't understand why ted allen has become an expert on anything. in fact, if he can get a job on the food network, i can. if jeffrey steingarten wasn't on, i prob. wouldn't even watch 12 minutes of it.

it's worse than ever... it's boring, lame, stupid and, did i mention boring? oh, and you're so right about anne burrel. WTF!? she is SO annoying. what is up w/ that deep weird sound she often makes? she sounds like a truck driver. and to be called the female guy fieri has to be the worst compliment in the world (besides just being called guy fieri).

anyways, i've actually stopped ranting about TFN bc it's so boring now that i've finally stopped writing. pbs, bravo and now, DVD's of jose andres, bourdain etc. become my background noise if i really need it. buying tv show DVD's has saved my life!

melissa said...

About RR - I have one of her first books and the recipes really aren't bad at all. In fact, they're anything I would see a lot of my favorite bloggers cook. But I hadn't thought about the present. And you're right. In looking more closely, she really has just fizzled out on anything decent. Blech.