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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, December 16, 2005

And The Pudding Made of Fig...Aah!

With the abundance of networks there are on television these days it's no wonder some of us never leave the house. Almost anything you can think of has an entire channel, or at least an entire program on a channel, devoted to it. I'm serious about this. Court TV, anyone?

Which brings me to my beef, no pun intended, with the Food Network. In some ways the Food Network is educational, teaching everything from how to make a turducken, a new word I learned this year, to how to boil water. It's easy access gives do-it yourselfer's the ingredients necessary to kick their cooking up a notch.

That is, of course, if your cooking manages to go as smoothy as it does on TV.

I don't know about you, but I always semi resented the television personalities on do it yourself cooking and home and garden programs. They make everything look ridiculously easy, and they manage to be somewhat witty while doing so! It's just not human. Try this at home and you might get one or the other, but definitely not both. I suppose this is why these people have a show and I don't.

But with the Internet, now the Food Network is really cooking. You don't have to catch every step Emeril did when basting that turkey, it's all spelled out for you in an easy to print format on the Food Network site, along with a zillion other "try me and you'll be pulling your hair out" type recipes.

Yes, if you've got the time, they've got the ideas. And if you don't? Well, don't worry. They've taken care of that too! Consider programs like that of the relentlessly perky Rachael Ray. Rachael teaches things like how to make 30 Minute Meals and how to eat on 40 Dollars A Day. Just give Rachael a number and she'll meet it. She's got this down to a science, now anyways. The other day I was watching a Christmas 30 Minute Meal and relishing in the fact that she had to rush a bit. Cause I mean really, what is up with this 30 minute meal stuff anyway? You can't fool us. You made this stuff on tv, the land of editing. There's no accounting for crying children or ringing phones in the 30 minutes is there, oh no. Cause before you know it, the soufflee is slightly burned and you realize you don't have anymore milk. I'd like to see Rachael cook in real time and see how smoothly things ran. I'm just saying.

Within those 30 Minute programs it gets even funnier. She breaks down how long it takes to make each item, driving the point home that this just cannot be any simpler. She made a 15 minute pasta with sauce, a 5 minute fudge dessert and a 2, count 'em, two minute appetizer! Well I say, why stop there? Why not the 2 second vegetable! Just look at them and bam! Their done. Now that's what I'd call progress.

Better yet, I'd like to see how the other half lives. Because you and I both know that not all meals are easy to make. You've tried making some and I've tried making some. So the question becomes who is going to address those? I want to see Rachael tackle a 2 Hour Challenge, a nice companion piece to all of this easy shit. Now that, that would really seperate the men from the boys.

The other thing about the Food Network is how much the idea has caught fire. In fact, there are, dare I say, almost too many cooks in the kitchen these days. Years ago you wanted to learn how to cook? You watched Julia Child or some random old lady on public television and you were done with it. No back then you pretty much knew how to cook or didn't. It was a baptism by fire either way. None of this holding your hand garbage and there weren't nearly as many selections either. And the product tie ins alone can make these people so rich. Plus you don't eve really have to be an actual cook, you just get points for trying! I mean those old time cooks must have been kicking themselves the day they first heard about George Foreman's grill.

Despite my love/hate relationship with the Food Network I watch occassionally, mainly because my mom enjoys watching it. She doesn't attempt making any of it, of course, just watches it. But sometimes watching the Food Network is a frustrating experience. If I could compare it to anything, I'd compare it to a guy going to a strip club. You know you can look, but you can't touch.

These chefs create beautiful dishes that make our mouth water, but if we can't put our food where our mouth is, what's the point of that? Instead most of us don't start cooking we sit there, salivating, waiting for our next meal. We don't have Smell-O-Vision and we can't taste a sample like at Sam's Club, so what's the point? All we get is to watch the host sample their delicious dish which of course they are going to rave about because they made it!

In a way this is a good thing. I mean could you imagine how much we all would weigh if we could try all the stuff they make on these programs?! It's funny how much progress we have made in the land of healthy eating because on most of these shows, you would never know it. Most of the things they make are not only hard to eat, they are also hard to justify eating, no matter how little they will tell me to make it.

That's why I adopted a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy to all of this. I came up with the perfect Food Network program that not only teaches you how to eat, it teaches you how to eat and be healthy. It's called, drumroll please....

Watch What You Eat

Get it? You're watching as in it's on tv, and you're watching as in counting calories!

I know, I know. I thought it was ingenious too!

Now if only I could get someone to cook the actual food, I'd have it made, literally.



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