Within the past several years, television has been bombarding the viewing public with various forms of food entertainment. We’ve gone from good spirited cooking shows to competition food game shows to watch a celebrity cook shows with every other thing in between. Naturally my love of cooking and food has influenced my viewing habits to some degree. With this being said, I am not particularly fond of the Food Network or the Cooking Channel as the ratings chasers have been continually lowering the standards to achieve the highest ratings possible which they have certainly attained while bringing us more and more watch celebrities cook shows which I personally abhor with every fiber of my being. The Food Network/ Cooking Channel have foregone the really good programming to bring forth shows for people who really don’t cook or even care for cooking. Granted, I really like Alton Brown, “Good Eats” is still and will remain to be one of the best cooking shows ever. I completely understand the “Cutthroat Kitchen” which is way more into the entertainment side and the show is good by virtue of Alton Brown. “Chopped” is a great show which I must admit I will watch almost anytime with exception to the children/teen cooking shows which is total schmaltz for TV dung. Nothing against kids cooking, but I’d rather see chefs or great home cooks competing on the show. But what ever happened to the Food Network which brought us Emeril Lagasse?! Ratings is what happened to the Food Network.
I’ve noticed the move towards notable people with cooking shows. Mostly former TV/Movie and Music personalities showing the hungry public how to make magic in the kitchen. It reminds me of seeing Ice-T at Lollapalooza back 25 years ago. He came out on stage and said “I’m not here to party for you, I’m here to party with you”. When I see the celebrity cooking shows I just get the feeling they are there to “party for me”. It’s a passive experience which is almost insulting but the network isn’t above this in any way. I realized when the celebrity cooking shows started to appear that the shows were mainly for those who revere celebrity which is perverse in it’s own way, but certainly not about a cooking in as much as watching celebrities entertain other celebrities and so forth. Again it’s the ratings being boosted to sell more crap to more people. I would have to guess the Food Network’s in house home made celebs aren’t enough to keep folks entertained and they are reaching out to Rev Run, Tiffani and the bunch to keep us all “entertained” with BS. I’m sure these folks cook well, but I really don’t care about a celebrity cooking anything to be blunt. The ratings driven programming is drivel. The time could be used to exhibit better shows which generally tend to appear on PBS more often than not. The cooking shows on PBS are rock solid and damned entertaining as well. The shows encourage folks to cook for themselves while sharing tips on how to create great eating experiences at home.
The one issue which really caught my attention is when I started seeing fast food restaurant and easy buy in a box and flash heat meal commercials on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. I felt angry inside. I know why this is happening but I feel cheated to a great degree. Our country has been a bastion of piss poor dietary habits and corporate crap in a box for too long. In any town/city in America you can find “murderer’s row” which is my nickname for the strips filled with every form of fast food imaginable. The grocery stores are filled with easy heat crap in a box designed to to keep Americans from wasting time in the kitchen. They don’t need help anymore than I can carry my house on my back. The advertising on the Food Network/Cooking Channel just supports this profanity of food aberrations. One fact about cooking at home which has been overlooked. When people cook at home more often they tend be healthier and maintain a healthier weight. Basically the premise of this thought is based on the fact that most of us who cook at home will prepare just so much food given a certain period of time. When folks have access to more food which is already prepared they tend to over eat. The advent of the monster buffet restaurants hasn’t done anyone any favors which exception to the owners. I have no power to change the “food entertainment” world by any stretch of the imagination, but I can choose to entertain myself with my cooking and share the experience with my friends and family, as well as to encourage other people to cook for themselves which I do wholeheartedly.