Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Food Shows Today
Is it just me, or is food in pop culture getting kind of boring? It feels like it's all the same. It isn't evolving. It isn't expanding even as the public grows accustomed to what's on television. I used to really enjoy watching Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian and others (actually now that I think about it I do still enjoy watching Everyday Italian, but not for the food) but now they're just boring.
I mean every show is kinda the same. Giada boils pasta then tosses it with pesto then makes some wonderful biscotti, "which means twice baked in Italian," Paula Dean makes "good ol southern fried chicken" for dinner and butter for dessert. It's funny how well I can sum up their shows with two dishes. After watching these shows for years they're getting kinda dull. They seldom offer information to help me elevate my cooking and I don't really learn anything new by watching them.
This isn't true for everybody I'm sure and I would think that, for instance, my mom disagrees. She probably learns a lot from each episode of Rachel Ray or Everyday Italian. A lot of people do. A lot of people are fascinated by what the hosts do on these shows, and I argue that that is because the viewers have little background in technique. They understand how to read recipes, but don't comprehend processes.
And who can blame anyone for that? Food culture these days is based around recipes. On every food show, a recipe is offered, hardly does a show zero in on a technique that will alllow you to create a recipe over and over again with different ingredients. Why would they? Then you wouldn't need to watch their show.
You should buy Ruhlman's Ratio and learn the basic methods that govern the creation of everyday dishes. Then, every new show may be entertaining, but it certainly won't be revolutionary and over time, the individual shows will begin to blend together as you realize that all the mainstream food shows use a series of basic techniques with different ingredients and some flourishes added on.