Food: Cooking Shows

Apr 19, 2013

I will admit that I have a complicated relationship with food television. To me, it’s like a lover I broke up with, then hated, then slowly began to tolerate again, then just forgot about.

Food TV right now is mostly awful, with hosts so cartoonish they make me cringe (Guy Fieri is one example), or so focus-grouped to death they have almost nothing interesting to say (Rachael Ray is who comes to mind.)

Rachael Ray has a food adventure
Credit dyobmit / Flickr

And poor Giada De Laurentiis, so thin that there is no way that she is eating any of the food she prepares.

Don’t get me started on Alton Brown, whose show looks like it was made with third-graders in mind.

I miss Julia Child. Her realness, her oddity, her willingness to make fun of herself and her food. Anyone remember the episode where she is roasting a suckling pig and tells you where to tuck the tail so it doesn’t burn? That was good TV.

I miss the Two Fat Ladies, who didn’t care that they weren’t fashion models and said whatever came into their heads, be it naughty or nice.

I loved Nigella Lawson, who is not only lovely but actually has a body that let you know she not only ate her recipes, but enjoyed them as well.

Anthony Bourdain was tolerable-- although fairly sexist and sort of a jerk-- but was a refreshing change from all the bobble-head dolls on the Food Network. I liked that he cursed and smoked and got smashing drunk and his crew filmed it all. He was awesome for a while. I had a secret crush on him. We broke up (I even wrote him a letter) when he came to what he called “the Midwest,” did not hit Kansas, and did not speak to a single woman. That was when it was really over. I turned the channel on him forever.

One good thing I have to say about food television is that it made people here want to try what they were seeing everywhere else. This made it easier for me to feed Wichita things like polenta and goat cheese, for which I am forever grateful.