Welcome to EatWisconsin, the blog formerly known as Undelicious. This blog will focus on the food, the people, the history, and restaurants in the State of Wisconsin. Though we will focus primarily on the State of Wisconsin, there will be occasional forays into other Cities.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The New Emeril

Rachel Ray launched another TV show, though this time its on network TV. Its called "Rachel Ray," and it highlights everything that is wrong with cooking shows. Ok, I haven't seen it but I have seen enough of the overly-caffeinated Ray to know exactly what this show is about. Over the past few years it seems that Rachel has eclipsed Emeril Lagasse as the darling of the Food Network. And like Emeril, she has her own catch phrases. Instead of Emeril's macho "BAM" Rachel uses "Yum-O" and while Emeril thinks that "pork fat rules" Rachel likes the healthier taste of "EVOO," which stands for extra virgin olive oil. In case you don't know she always follows the phrase "EVOO" with the description of her acronym by adding "that's extra virgin olive oil." I always thought that acronyms were created so you don't have to read out the lengthy description. Then again I am not raking in millions of dollars telling suburban housewives how many different applications there are for McCormick's Grill-mates seasonings.

I am not denying the supreme power that Ray hold over her legions of fans. She has about six 30-Minute Meal books and many stories have been told about how people are going into grocery stores looking for the products Ray uses on her show, even though the labels are fake and are thrown on the various cans, jars, and bottles to hide the true manufacturer. Food Network has indicated that they receive hundreds of calls asking where they can find these made-up products.

I guess my problem is not necessarily with her, but with what the Food Network has done to food television. She just happens to embody all that is wrong with the network. There are not too many shows worth watching and the network really doesn't bring in much new material, just recycles network stalwarts like Alton Brown (who I like), Rachel Ray, Emeril, Bobby Flay, Paula Deen (shit, her fucking kids even got a show, which sucks balls), Giada DeLaurentis, and Mario Batali (who I also like) into new show formats. They added George Duran, who is really entertaining and probably gets my vote for funniest guy on the Food Network but over the past 2 years they have lost some of the better personalities, Anthony Bourdain and Sara Moulton, because I assume Boiurdain was too scary for their target audience and Moulton was actually teaching people about different styles of cooking and not out shilling for her own line of pots and pans or coming up with some catch phrase. She probably wouldn't put her breasts on display as Giada so proudly does either, which probably didn't help her cause.. So essentially the food network is not really that concerned with developing new talent or new ideas, they just want to keep promoting their own. How many fucking shows does that jerk-off Bobby Flay have anyhow? Iron Chef, Boy Meets Grill, Throwdown, Food Nation, BBQ With Bobby Flay plus the numerous specials he is involved with. Like there is nobody else on earth that can grill except Mr. Flay? Come on. And the new shows they have like Guy's Big Bite, and Party Line with the Hearty Boys (both of which feature reality show winners) really suck. And am I not the only one who wants to punch Dave Liberman in the face? What a tool.

So who do I like? Well 10 food shows on TV (not limited to Food Network) that I enjoy:

1. Boy Meets Grill – Yes I am a hypocrite. I just ripped Flay but I must confess he really makes some kick ass food and his food features my favorite types of ingredients, cilantro, chilies, chipotle, avocado, citrus and other southwest ingredients.
2. Pretty much anything with Alton Brown is entertaining. I liked Feasting on Asphalt because I am also a motorcyclist.
3. Cookin' In Brooklyn with Allan Harding.
4. License to Grill with Rob Rainford
5. The Kitchens of Biro
6. BBQ University with Steven Raichlen
7. Napa Style or Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello
8. Molto Mario
9. Ham on the Street with George Duran
10. Iron Chef and Iron Chef America.

The common theme in most of these? You learn something. Almost every episode of Iron Chef includes some ingredient or technique that I have never heard of. Mario Batali is one part historian one part chef. Each ingredient or recipe has a specific reason that it was used and what region it comes from. Alton Brown is a great teacher as well. Rob Rainford has some of the easiest recipes with great results, same with Flay (on that show only). I guess I want my food television to teach me something like PBS or the Discovery Channel does, where the Food Network wants to entertain first, teach second and that is the root of the problem.


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