Guest writing in Rhulman's blog, he has a few choice (and even select and prime) words for the Food Networks Reality show, Next Food Network Star.
I think it's a useful window into the real heart and soul of the Food Network, a cautionary tale, morality play and case study of the kind of pathological narcissism and exhibitionism that drives people to grope strangers in hot tubs, vomit in public, share their cellulite with the world, bunk with a drunken Mini-Me and generally humiliate themselves utterly in the cause of Being On Television. That the "food" mostly looks like bonobo-puke is entirely beside the point.Mr. Bourdain then goes on to list the faults that Food Network will find with all of the contestants: too foreign, too nice, too capable. But his mention of one contestant, already removed from the show, stuck with me.
Patrick's heartfelt identification with "local, local, fresh fresh, fresh," for instance, put him right in the headlights of the network's raison d-etre: "Fast, Cheap, Easy and Available At Any SuperMarket." No surprise he [sic] gone.Now, I try to buy local food if available. Yesterday I drove out to the farm to buy about 10 kilos of beef from grass fed cows (plus some local pork, turkey, and ice cream). I also buy a fair share of organic fruits and vegetables. Now this of course costs more money. But unlike the bulk of the American populace, I do not find this a bad thing.
Paying more for my food makes me think about it more. When ground beef is a dollar per pound, who cares if you make a bad dish. It's cheap and easy enough to try to make again, usually without much thought as to whether you will get maximal enjoyment from your endeavors. But when that beef costs five times as much, you think more about cooking. Did I season this properly? How should I cook it? Am I sure I did not overcook it? You end up valuing food more. You respect the food. And that is why I respect Bourdain. I have no illusions that I could be friends with him, his personality and mine wouldn't click. But if I could sit down to dine with him, I would be sitting with a man who knows the value of what we eat, and hence treats food with the reverence it deserves.
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