We have satellite TV at the house, which means we’ve got a gob of channels with nothing to watch…probably a lot like you. So we find ourselves at the Food Network all the time. And most of the time, I’m ok with it. I like food. My wife’s a great cook. So watching people cook food is sort of entertaining.
Don’t get me wrong…not all of the shows are fun to watch. Some of the hosts are ultra-annoying…just impossible for me to watch without yelling back at the TV. I won’t mention any names because, if you know me personally, you know who they are.
But several of the shows are really interesting. Dinner Impossible is a really fun show, where a chef (Robert Irvine) has to cook these massive meals for 500 people using only an Easy-Bake oven, 5 loaves, and 2 fishes. Back when the original Iron Chef (the Japanese version) was on, we watched it religiously. Even though I wouldn’t eat 90% of the dishes, it was a great show, mainly because it was so fast-paced, the Chefs had great names (Chen Kenichi, Hiroyuki Sakai, etc.), and there was that goofy female judge that was there all the time. And I simply can’t not watch Jamie at Home. That show is completely captivating…absolutely terrific. We’d get up, any time day or night, to watch it.
But my favorite “Foodie” is Alton Brown. His main show, Good Eats, is a triumph. It’s the perfect blend of humor, fun, science, gadgetry, and good food. It’s like a 30-minute variety show. Sometimes he’s at the frying pan store, trading barbs with W while teaching us about the proper saute pan. Other times he’s been kidnapped by a more-than-slightly “eccentric” woman and has to cook for her. There are the goofy props, the nutritional anthropologist, the hysterical oversized Swiss Miss lady with the yellow braided hair, the Catholic nun that slapped his hand with the ruler (hilarious!), the lawyer types that make him state the obvious food safety stuff, and his nephew.
And his cheesecake recipe rules!!
And then a couple years back, Alton got the idea to go on the road. There were two years of Feasting on Asphalt, where he took to his motorcycle with a film crew and traveled across the country, stopping and eating at various places. Both series were masterful. Alton Brown, who was born on July 30, 1962, is a trained chef, but he cut his teeth in TV production and cinematography, so he knows how to work the camera as well as the burner. Of all the “specialty” productions I’ve seen, those two series just might be my favorites.
There are a good number of shows on Food Network that I couldn’t care less about. Alton Brown’s are not among them.
Oh, and kitchens should only have one uni-tasker.
Happy Birthday, Alton Brown!!