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Food Network

FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:39 PM

Is it me or has the Food Network lost it's appeal. When they first aired years ago it was great. I would really like to see shows on French food , Regional Italian Cooking, Culinary Education 101, How to butcher, Foods of Spain , German Cooking,Asia Foods . ( Sorry if i forgotten your favorite country). The Food Network had such a vast well to draw from. We get How to boil Water. I just don't get it anylonger.

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  1. MMRuth RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:42 PM

    I rarely watch it any more. If there's a Barefoot Contessa that I've missed, or an Alton Brown that sounds interesting, I'll watch. I've even given up SL bashing!

    1. r
      redchile RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:46 PM

      I agree, somewhat. Today the network is all about the personalities and branding.

      Rachel, Giada, Paula, Ina, Bobby, Emeril (ugh), it's all about selling their books, restaurants, cookware, etc.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm a capitalist, but the network is now more about showbiz than cooking.

      1. Chinon00 RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:49 PM

        I have never gotten through an entire episode of "Unwrapped".

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00
          dsquarefla RE: Chinon00 Jan 19, 2007 06:31 PM

          I've have always wondered how much they charge to put your place or product on this show. Talk about an infomercial.

          1. re: dsquarefla
            New_2_718 RE: dsquarefla Jan 20, 2007 12:46 PM

            The first time I tried to watch that show (unwrapped) I actually thought it was aimed at small children. I was horrified to learn it was not.

            1. re: New_2_718
              Withnail42 RE: New_2_718 Jan 20, 2007 05:14 PM

              Yes, the history of Lifesavers that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

              1. re: Withnail42
                New_2_718 RE: Withnail42 Jan 20, 2007 05:33 PM

                what's truly pathetic is that I might actually enjoy the history of lifesavers if it were not presented in that truly horrible manner. I cringe within 2 seconds.

        2. janedoe67 RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:50 PM

          I Tivo a couple of the shows, but rarely watch it live. I was snowed in the other day and had the Food Network on for a while. It was PAINFUL. I was about to reach through my screen an strangle Rachel Ray. I used to be able to tolerate her, but she is EVERYWHERE and her voice is so irritating I could scream. If I have to hear her say "EVOO" one more time.....

          Also, Emeril drives me crazy, well, maybe it's just his audience. It is so sad to see a group of adults clap and yell every time they see a bottle of alcohol or a clove of garlic.

          There are about 3-5 decent shows on the network, but everything else is dreadful. FAL, thanks for letting me vent.

          7 Replies
          1. re: janedoe67
            geg5150 RE: janedoe67 Jan 18, 2007 09:06 PM

            Jane! I just realized, perhaps it's not Emeril I find so obnoixious, but his audience. I feel embarassed for them. They way they whoop and holler over garlic and hot sauce. It's pitiful.

            1. re: geg5150
              way2cook RE: geg5150 Jan 24, 2007 01:33 PM

              I agree-- alot of it is his audience. I watched 5 minutes of Emeril Live last night-- he was doing a soup/stew special and one of the things he made was jook. As he was garnishing the jook (w/fresh lime juice???), I was hoping, in vain of course, that he would bust out the 1000 year-old eggs. I would love to have seen the uneasy applause from the audience follow the over-the-top cheers for fried slices of garlic.

              The one FN personality that I do like is Michael Chiarello. His food always looks good, and he doesn't rely on some schtick or fake persona to attract an audience. It's just a straightforward, pleasant presentation.

            2. re: janedoe67
              Jestner RE: janedoe67 Jan 19, 2007 03:25 AM

              Yeah - Rachel Ray I find very condescending, especially considering she appears to know nothing. However, the "EVOO" thing is, by far, the most grating to me. It was very sad when I saw someone repeat it here in a Chowhound thread. I wanted to light the computer on fire.

              Who can't take a Duncan Hines brownie mix and put sprinkles, cheez doodles and broken glass on top to make it "festive". Ridiculous.

              (Although broken glass would have to be prepackaged and frozen, and of a poor quality)

              1. re: Jestner
                braineater RE: Jestner Jan 20, 2007 10:47 PM

                The use of "EVOO" has spread to other shows on Food Network. At least, it had when I last saw anything on that network, some six months ago. I find their little cult of personalities really unbearable, and don't much miss not having Food Network anymore. The only thing I have any interest in watching is Alton Brown's show, and I can just download episodes of that if I hear of one that particularly interests me.

                1. re: braineater
                  ChefGirl412 RE: braineater Jan 21, 2007 05:57 AM

                  Yeah, and get this...I heard Rachael Ray say on her TV show the other day (only watched for a minute), that now EVOO is in the dictionary. Make her go away.........please

                  1. re: ChefGirl412
                    shindiganna RE: ChefGirl412 Jan 22, 2007 12:24 AM


                2. re: Jestner
                  Mr Taster RE: Jestner Jan 22, 2007 10:06 AM

                  It's not just on other shows... it's crossed over into real life.

                  I was at my local Ralph's supermarket the other day and saw a Rachel Ray branded bottle of EVOO.

                  The worst part is that tt was actually labelled as such! Big as day, in large letters on the front label... E.V.O.O. (and RR's dumb picture popping up behind the letters, like some maniacial culinary jack-in-the-box in a tight red sweater.)

                  Mr Taster

              2. ballulah RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 08:56 PM

                I tend to agree, though I do still watch it a lot. There is one new show that I really enjoy, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, although it is less about cooking and more about the game show aspect of the network. It's still enjoyable.

                Gone are the days when you'd get those really kooky people on Chef du Jour. I remember seeing Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid on CDJ one week when they were promoting their book "Flatbreads and Flavors" and I ran right out and bought it, I thought their stories were so interesting. That experience really opened my eyes to idea food history and ethnography and the anthropology of food, rather than just having a meal on the table in 30 minutes, etc. That Food Network is long gone.

                1. r
                  Rory RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 09:03 PM

                  I entirely agree;
                  I used to be a devoted watcher, loved Chef du Jour, now it's horrible. Commercial & bad cooking & zero if you care about your health.
                  I cook all the time & used to get great recipes & learn a lot. BTW I love Alford & Duguid too & jumped into Indian flatbreads because of them!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rory
                    ballulah RE: Rory Jan 18, 2007 09:37 PM

                    Actually, I will say this in defense of healthy food and the Food Network, lately I've watched Ellie Krieger some, and I like some of her ideas. I know that I'm enjoying a cooking show when I'm mentally cataloguing my pantry during the program and switch of the TV and get down to cooking when it's over. She did that for me last weekend...it was her low low fat, double chocolate pudding pie and it was a wonderful dessert to make with kids.

                    But I do miss the old quirkier, less Vegas glitz, Food Network.

                    1. re: ballulah
                      shindiganna RE: ballulah Jan 19, 2007 03:41 AM

                      I agree with you about Ellie Krieger. Great suggestions without wagging the "eat healthy or die" finger.

                      Good Eats is the most interesting offering these days.

                  2. i
                    ishmael RE: FAL Jan 18, 2007 11:55 PM

                    What the folks at FN have realized is that good cooking makes lousy television. They are about entertainment and pandering to the lowest common denominator. They have gotten rid of most of the people who really know how to cook in favor of hype and food porn. They could care less about informing and educating their audience. More's the pity. PBS shows are much more enlightening. Have you noticed that the great PBS personalities (Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, et al) do not ever show up on FN. That must tell you something.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ishmael
                      Candy RE: ishmael Jan 19, 2007 12:35 AM

                      Amen amen amen!!!!!!!!! If the channel is on it is just background noise on Sat. AM's and Click and Clack are not on

                    2. s
                      Sam Harmon RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 12:43 AM

                      Other than Good Eats, there's just not a lot there of interest.

                      1. m
                        maestra RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 05:32 AM

                        I agree that most of the shows are lousy and unwatchable (though I do occasionally watch Sandra Lee for the comedic value; have since the first episode). I have no use for Paula, but I seem to be in the minority in not caring for Giada either. I don't understand people's fascination with her food. It seems to me that she always cooks a variation about 2 pasta sauces, two soup bases, or some fresh-fruit-meets-poundcake-or-mascarpone dessert. I don't think I've ever watched a complete episode, but from what I've seen, her food is the type you learn to improvise when you first become comfortable with Italian or pseudo-Italian food combinations in the kitchen. Of course it tastes good, but it's more of a basics show, and she's scraping the bottom of the basics barrel. The other day I flipped by at the end, and she was making "paninis" out of fresh strawberries and Nutella on poundcake. She used butter-flavored spray on the poor grill. How is that a recipe? If they want an Italian show, they need to get a new host with fresh ideas and recipes that inspire you to try new combinations.
                        Sorry for the rant. That Nutella thing just really sealed it for me.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: maestra
                          julietg RE: maestra Jan 19, 2007 07:16 PM

                          I agree with you.

                          No Italian chef should be that skinny. Makes me not trust her.

                          1. re: julietg
                            Phaedrus RE: julietg Jan 19, 2007 07:25 PM

                            Its not the cooking that is the key to her "success", its the cleavage.

                            I think they should put Giada, Sandra Lee, Nigella Lawson, and Rachel Ray all on Tuesday nights and call it Booby Tuesday.

                            1. re: Phaedrus
                              Withnail42 RE: Phaedrus Jan 19, 2007 09:13 PM

                              I don't want to deal with Rachel Ray's boobies.

                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                julietg RE: Phaedrus Jan 20, 2007 12:50 AM

                                I'm sorry- you think Giada has cleavage?

                                You must not get out that much.

                                1. re: julietg
                                  Phaedrus RE: julietg Jan 20, 2007 04:25 AM

                                  Have you seen the shots they use on her show? Uh, yeah.

                                  1. re: Phaedrus
                                    shindiganna RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2007 12:26 AM

                                    LOL right on Phaedrus (of Uncle Phaedrus fame?) Note that the camera operator adjusts to keep her cleavage centered

                          2. Phaedrus RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 03:17 PM

                            From one of my other postings elsewhere:

                            "Food Channel is to food what MTV is to music, which is not much."

                            Anthony Bourdain.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Phaedrus
                              NYChristopher RE: Phaedrus Jan 19, 2007 06:47 PM

                              I was about to post the same thing, glad you found the quote.

                            2. la vida dulce RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 06:03 PM

                              Ditto to ishmael and Phaedrus. Years ago FoodTV was interesting and informative. Chef Du Jour and Melting Pot were among my favorites. Sorry, the idea of watching a guy deliver a wedding cake in a dirty van is not my idea of a great food show. I'd rather watch PBS or RFD.

                              1. n
                                nyebaby37 RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 06:08 PM

                                The Food Network Chefs should wear hair nets, or at least hair ties! Rachel and Ina make me nuts w/ their hair flying around. I have very long hair and try and be very careful especially when preparing for more than myself! Gross!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: nyebaby37
                                  dagoose RE: nyebaby37 Jan 19, 2007 08:03 PM

                                  UGH! yes, i totally agree--I watch that hair fly around and think about how much must end up in the food! I know! I have that hair too...

                                  But my favorite was in the Iron Chef Rachel vs. Giada, when they had to give them each a real chef (Bobby Flay and Mario Batali) because as I believe Rachel said "I can't do this, I'm not a chef!"
                                  It was hilarious to watch the girls flail and the guys get increasingly frustrated

                                  1. re: dagoose
                                    pescatarian RE: dagoose Jan 19, 2007 10:29 PM

                                    I am ambivalent about both Giada and Rachel. I wouldn't want to watch too much of either of them. However, I used to think that Giada was a slightly better cook until the Iron Chef episode where I think Rachel did a much better job than Giada. Yes she kept saying that she's not a chef (which I saw as humility) but she was much more focused and seemed more skilled from my perspective than Giada.

                                2. c
                                  CookingBabs RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 06:12 PM

                                  I agree! They need to regroup and remember what made them popular and interesting in the first place.
                                  Glad I'm not the only one who can't stand Rachael Ray! When are her 15 minutes going to be over?

                                  1. v
                                    vvv03 RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 06:15 PM

                                    I couldn't agree more. I used to love that channel. Could spend most of a lazy Saturday on the couch, watching, learning, salivating, etc. Now it's a bunch of silly egomaniacs and bullsh*t "chefs" making pre-fab, make America even fatter crap. Yet another example of the red states winning the fight to make America less interesting. Nothing to learn, nothing to entertain. It's sad really. It was a great concept once.

                                    1. f
                                      foodslut RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 06:20 PM

                                      Totally agree about PBS--love Jacques Pepin/Julia Child and America's Test kitchen is also useful.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: foodslut
                                        ballulah RE: foodslut Jan 24, 2007 07:45 AM

                                        I LOVE America's Test Kitchen. And I saw Todd English's travel food show on PBS the other day and really enjoyed it.

                                        1. re: foodslut
                                          FAL RE: foodslut Jan 31, 2007 12:58 PM

                                          THAT IS A GREAT NAME

                                        2. c
                                          chezlamere RE: FAL Jan 19, 2007 08:36 PM

                                          touching food with fingers is my personal pet peeve. Specifically the men. Ugh it just drives me insane. TONGS people. The restaurant shows in particular. Why do they play with the food so much. And the rings. I've never seen a chef anywhere that has rings or long nails. I use disposable poly gloves at home all the time. That's one of the reasons that I hate eating out. What kind of a chef are you if you let your nails grow, I mean chopping is impossible unless nails are short. There's a reason that forensics always scrapes the nails of victims. Ugh

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: chezlamere
                                            Jestner RE: chezlamere Jan 19, 2007 10:05 PM

                                            I actually prefer touching the food. I dont particularly like feeling like I'm living in some ultra-paranoia ultra-sanatized germ-free world. I think the reason some people get sick more are because they are so fearful of germs. Washing hands with soap? Absolutely. Refusing to touch the physical world? Not so much.
                                            The point is, I think its interesting how people can be so diverse. You can't stand people touching food, whereas I feel like I'm not cooking if I'm using tongs for everything. To me, part of cooking is getting personal with the ingredients.
                                            Different strokes for different folks - although I will say that I'd rather not trust the Subway/McDonalds employee to be washing hands. I've noticed way too few people in general wash their hands with soap after hitting the restroom. That said, clean hands totally suffice with me - I imagine washing hands with soap and water leaves them near the level of tongs washed with the hands, amidst soap and water...unless you wash everything with gloves on too...

                                            Definitely a different perspective. Cool deal.

                                            1. re: Jestner
                                              revsharkie RE: Jestner Jan 20, 2007 04:36 AM

                                              I watched the folks at my dad's restaurant mixing salads with their (clean) hands and even tried it myself when I worked there. I found it to be the best way to mix large quantities of salads, the best and fastest way to dish up green salads to put out on the line, and so forth. But we washed our hands a lot! Every time in the bathroom (naturally), anytime we were getting ready to put our hands in a salad, if we'd done one salad and were moving on to another one, etc. Clean hands are, in my opinion, a perfectly acceptable way to prepare food.

                                              1. re: revsharkie
                                                chezlamere RE: revsharkie Jan 23, 2007 02:13 PM

                                                I to use my hands for mixing lots of things including salads, but a always put on a poly glove first.

                                                1. re: chezlamere
                                                  gridder RE: chezlamere Jan 24, 2007 09:49 AM

                                                  Wow -- you realize your pile of poly-gloves is going to be in the landfill for the next billion years, don't you? Good 'ol soap and water (often) is the way I go.

                                            2. re: chezlamere
                                              misscrown RE: chezlamere Jul 22, 2008 12:09 AM

                                              I'm sorry thats just disgusting. Instead of relying on efficient handwashing, you use GLOVES to prepare food for yourself and your family? Gross. I can see worrying a bit about other people touching your food, but wow, loosen up. If I ever saw my mother slap on a pair of gloves to cook dinner I would decline the invitation. Yuck. Oh...I'm sorry, I just cant think of anything weirder and more gross...

                                              I can just picture someone eating a bag of chips with gloves on and long tongs to reach in there.....

                                            3. ChefGirl412 RE: FAL Jan 20, 2007 05:34 AM

                                              I must say, I do enjoy Nigella's new show on Sunday. And that it's not on all the time in reruns. I actually saw a NEW Barefoot Contessa the other day, that was a surprise/treat. I feel Rachael Ray's show is the same ol' thing - saute peppers, garlic and onion and make up another new dish - Pizzagna (combination of pizza & lasagna) slop !

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ChefGirl412
                                                Withnail42 RE: ChefGirl412 Jan 20, 2007 12:11 PM

                                                Pizzagna-Sounds like the monster from a Japanese horror flick.

                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                  ChefGirl412 RE: Withnail42 Jan 20, 2007 05:50 PM

                                                  Well, let's just say it was rather scary ;)

                                                2. re: ChefGirl412
                                                  Chocolatechipkt RE: ChefGirl412 Jan 24, 2007 09:40 AM

                                                  That still doesn't top her attempts to combine chili, burgers, and hot dogs (her fave ballpark food) into chili burgers with chopped up hot dogs and velveeta inside.

                                                3. hotoynoodle RE: FAL Jan 20, 2007 10:39 PM

                                                  i stopped watching it ages ago. it was on recently at work and RR made hot dog nachos. i nearly went hysterically blind.

                                                  the average viewers are not people who frequent this site. they don't cook much from scratch, dine out or care about exotic ingredients. the FN execs realized the key to success is having the person at home say, "gee, i could make that," and then waddle off to the kitchen to open a few cans.

                                                  many of the hosts have successfully branded themselves with the modern formula of not really being anything other than telegenic.

                                                  i constantly see rants on here about this. it's pretty simple. just stop watching.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                    Josh RE: hotoynoodle Jan 21, 2007 02:31 PM

                                                    I think the reason you see rants about it is because it used to actually be a good channel. I remember when Taste was on, which was awesome, and Emeril Live was an embarrassingly bad anomaly in their lineup. Unfortunately, the money is in catering to morons. Good Eats is the only bright spot in their schedule, which makes me wonder just how long it will be before it's removed from their lineup for something more dumbed down.

                                                    1. re: Josh
                                                      hotoynoodle RE: Josh Jan 21, 2007 04:26 PM

                                                      yeah, it used to be, but it hasn't been for a very long time. enough already.

                                                  2. k
                                                    kimberlie RE: FAL Jan 20, 2007 11:59 PM

                                                    You know, I've never actually watched it myself, but the Food Network purchased two organic goat carcasses from our small farm about 2 months ago to do a show on how to cook goat. I thought it was cool that such a big show would request meat from a small farm and highlight the farm's production practices and such. So it doesn't seem like it's all big business promotion.

                                                    1. p
                                                      personalcheffie RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 12:00 AM

                                                      Let's not forget Bobby Flay stirring the sauce with the spoon, tasting off of it and then putting the spoon back in the same saucepan. This was on the air! Man, could've been the same episode where he jumped up on the counter. I can't really remember.

                                                      If I were a judge on that show, I would have blatantly declined.

                                                      1. extramsg RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 04:49 AM


                                                        Oh, sorry, I thought we were doing free association. Someone said "Food Network" and I naturally responded "Sucks".

                                                        They've done everything they can to become more bland. They've taken duck confit and turned it to grilled chicken breast. Pinot noir to white zinfandel.

                                                        1. n
                                                          nosh RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 06:37 AM

                                                          As much as everyone is dissing the Food Network, we sure are familiar with all of the hosts. And while I'll agree that much of it is unwatchable (particularly Sandra Lee, Paula Deen, Giada, and the breathy Contessa) so is much of the fluff on daytime network and other cable TV.

                                                          Tonight they showed a few reruns of Alton Brown, who I like. Good Eats is a fun, sometimes informative show that expresses opinions on methods. And tonight's motorcycle road trip, while using reality-TV techniques and gimmicks, had some interesting segments and showed Alton at his social and thoughtful best.

                                                          Sure, Food Network could be more useful and compelling to us if it focused more on real chefs cooking real food. But all of TV would improve if they gave a little more respect when addressing their "target" audience.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: nosh
                                                            othervoice RE: nosh Jan 21, 2007 01:50 PM

                                                            IMO the food network's target audience is the young unexperienced homemaker who is just learning how to put something on the tabel for his/her family to eat. It's not aimed at the professional chef or the experienced restaurant goer.

                                                            1. re: othervoice
                                                              New_2_718 RE: othervoice Jan 21, 2007 03:33 PM

                                                              That point is well taken, but is the average inexperienced homemaker 5 years old? Can't we find some kind of middle ground?

                                                              1. re: othervoice
                                                                hotoynoodle RE: othervoice Jan 21, 2007 04:34 PM

                                                                obviously i can only speak for my area, but my local public television station still has plenty of serious cooking shows, like with lidia bastianich, jacques pepin, maryann esposito; and ruth reichl now has a travel/cooking show. the programming exists, people.

                                                                if FN drives you nuts -- STOP WATCHING.

                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                  New_2_718 RE: hotoynoodle Jan 21, 2007 07:50 PM

                                                                  Yeah, I did that already. Just find the discussions interesting.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                    extramsg RE: hotoynoodle Jan 23, 2007 12:58 AM

                                                                    I've stopped as well. Every once in a while I'll think a show might be interesting when I see it in the guide but don't last more than 5 minutes. Caught the beginning of a "Secret Life of...Cheese" Not much of the cheese history and education I was hoping for. A few minutes in and it was an infomercial for a restaurant and its chef, essentially.

                                                                    Funny thing is, that the couple shows I do like, such as Good Eats and Iron Chef, I never watch anymore just because I'm never even thinking about the channel anymore.

                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                      NYChristopher RE: hotoynoodle Feb 1, 2007 03:45 PM

                                                                      Indeed. I get more enjoyment (and knowledge) from Pepin's FAST FOOD MY WAY and Michael Lomonaco's EPICURIOUS

                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                        Mr Taster RE: hotoynoodle Feb 1, 2007 04:00 PM

                                                                        Certainly I can turn it off (and I often do). That is not the issue as I see it.

                                                                        The problem is not that food network provides lowbrow cooking shows that people enjoy. The problem is that today's middle-america cooks actually **want** to be pandered to!

                                                                        Most people are happy to continue sacrificing quality for convenience (a trend that was started post-WWII with the Wonder Bread industrializatin of our food supply.) It's a continuing cultural shift, and in my opinion, not one for the better.

                                                                        Of course I know there are slow food movements creeping up, and some people are pursuing quality again. Those of us are in the minority, however, and we die slowly inside as we see Rachel Ray become America's culinary go-to girl when a generation ago it was Julia Child (who did her part to shift America's middle-America cooks away from Jello salads and cream of mushroom casseroles).

                                                                        When TV "chefs" are now espousing modern day equivalents of the Jello salad (think Sandra Lee), I think it's not hard to see that the bar has definitely been lowered. SIgnificantly.

                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                  2. TonyO RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 02:45 PM

                                                                    Hopefully at some point, maybe there will be a spinoff channel (FN2 ?) that will have some merit. I would like to see restaurant reviews that are not done by RR ohhing and ahhing about every bite of mediocre garbage she eats and then feels inclined to leave a 10% tip after disrupting the entire restaurant. There is a commercial for Giada's new show where she is in a car with the hugest sunglasses in the world which make her look like one of the Power Puff Girls. I heard Guy Fiori is going to be a guest on the Hearty Boy's and he beats them up when Dan and Steve continually pat him on the buttocks after repeatedly dropping utensils so he has to pick them up.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: TonyO
                                                                      New_2_718 RE: TonyO Jan 21, 2007 03:34 PM

                                                                      Right, like VH1 emerged as an antidote to MTV. But then that also became unwwatchable and NOT about music, in the same way the FN is not really about food.

                                                                    2. spades RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 07:11 PM

                                                                      I disagree with most of these posts. Personally, I think it's great that a medium such as the Food Network is around and hopefully inspires people to make fresh meals for their families - as amateurish as some of the dishes are, no one can argue that it's STILL better than pizza or McDonald's for dinner.

                                                                      If the people who would just normally pick up the phone and order takeout for the hundredth night in a row get inspired by Rachel Ray, Emeril, or whoever, and toss a few ingredients in a pot and make something fresh, it's a very positive thing. I hope MORE people watch the Food Network and start cooking at home! I hope that the Food Network personalities get even more popular! Then maybe our society will become more healthy and respectful of the earth that makes all this possible.

                                                                      It makes me wonder how many times someone was watching a Food Network show, became curious about some ingredient or regional cuisine, googled it on the internet, and pushed off on a culinary adventure that lasts to this day? Maybe they googled "where to find (rare ingredient) in (insert city here)" and begun supporting local purveyors of fine foods? Or stumbled upon Chowhound in the same fashion? Why would ANYONE not want to encourage this?

                                                                      One thing that I definitely agree on, though, is that there should be a Food Network spinoff that caters to the more experienced cook as well as more "alternative" cooking shows and culinary adventures.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: spades
                                                                        Phaedrus RE: spades Jan 21, 2007 09:37 PM

                                                                        I am not sure that there is a direct carryover from show watchers to actual practitioners. The thing about a Julia Child watcher or a Jacque Pepin watcher is that they are pretty well educated on the topic of the culinary arts. Their aim is to improve, to make better. I am not sure the sam could be said for the RR, Paula Deen's, and the Sandra Lees. I would be interested in seeing the demographics. Most people watching are voyeurs, and I don't mean they watch because of the titlllation factor, they watch because this fulfills their fantasy of being a competent chef. I think the same could be said of the home improvement shows on TLC and the This Old House watchers, and the people who watch hat Not to Wear: they want to be hip but they don't actually want to do anything about it. Anyways, just a conjecture, no data to support it.

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                          spades RE: Phaedrus Jan 22, 2007 04:35 AM

                                                                          Well, it's a little easier to toss a few ingredients in a pot than to tear down a wall or get a new wardrobe. I get ideas for dinner from cooking shows all the time.

                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                            chezlamere RE: Phaedrus Jan 23, 2007 02:22 PM

                                                                            I can't recall ever making anything that either julia child or jacque pepin cooked. But I have been inspired many times with nigella, barefoot contessa, rachel ray, tyler (whatever his last name is, forgot), ciarello, micheal smith

                                                                          2. re: spades
                                                                            extramsg RE: spades Jan 23, 2007 01:02 AM

                                                                            It's not food-ed, it's food porn. It's all about someone oooing and ahhhing and groaning while they eat something. Notice there are never any recipes given out anymore. It's about the Unwrappeds.

                                                                          3. TonyO RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 07:21 PM

                                                                            Do you notice that as people become more popular they somehow morf into characters of their former being ? For example, Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, Oprah, most of the Jackson's but especially LaToya and Michael, and now even some of the food network personalities. They seem the accentuate their appearance to the point of not looking real. I can only imagine what Rachael, Emeril, Mario, and Giada will look like in a few years.

                                                                            1. o
                                                                              obxspiritdreamer RE: FAL Jan 21, 2007 07:30 PM

                                                                              I do think the Food Network has changed alot over the years. But I also think that they have added a lot of shows that are very intersesting and imformative. It seems to be just like the Home and Garden channel. The showes that dont appeal to me I simply dont watch. I feel that with the enormous increase in "foodies" the network is trying to capture as wide an audience as possible. I do believe we could use a little less fluff though...And I dont mean the marshmallow kind !!

                                                                              1. t
                                                                                terryterry RE: FAL Jan 22, 2007 04:54 AM

                                                                                In the beginning: Variety, global cuisines, regional cooking, more chefs who actually are chefs not just personalities who can make $$$ for the network. Too many repeats, overexposed personalities, dull topics --- I've been thinking it was me 'cause I no longer think Food TV is as good as it was in the beginning. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Although, as a cooking instructor: Everyone seems to love Rachael, Paula and the dreaded Sandra! Although Paula is the most professional of the three mentioned, her recipes are not very healthy. I have noticed that the New Year's resolution idea comes across in the shows on the network lately: Healthier recipes. Time will tell how long the public will be in love with Rachael and Sandra (pleeez). Paula appeals to me because my family is from the South but the fat used is awful for us all. Again, thank you for making me realize that I was indeed noticing that Food TV is odd nowadays.

                                                                                1. m
                                                                                  MrSuzyBaker RE: FAL Jan 22, 2007 09:59 AM

                                                                                  When I look at the day's line-up, I always feel a little queasy. Never watch any shows on Food Network any more, nor do my friends, with the exception of Nigella.

                                                                                  Bring back the classics: Julia, 2 Fat Ladies, original Emeril, orginal Iron Chef etc., or at least get rid of this parade of non-culinary Oprahesque infomercials and get back to food.

                                                                                  It is a FOOD network, yes? How could something so good go so bad so quickly?

                                                                                  The current hosts create too much indigestion. And please tell Paula to stop pawing the young men in her audience. People are starting to believe the rumors about the south.


                                                                                  1. v
                                                                                    venture6 RE: FAL Jan 23, 2007 06:14 PM

                                                                                    The Food Network isn't aimed at foodies/chowhounds/chefs/frequent restaurant-goers. It's for folks who's idea of eating out is a sit-down fast food place, IHOP, Denny's, Coco's, etc.

                                                                                    As spades posted above, if the shows get their target audience excited about the various and infinite possibilities of food, then it is working exactly as intended. And who cares if the celebrity chefs and their shows are making money? At the end of the day, the FN is still a business.

                                                                                    I'm thrilled that there are people getting tuned into the wide world of food from watching shows on the FN.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: venture6
                                                                                      Withnail42 RE: venture6 Jan 24, 2007 04:13 AM

                                                                                      How can they be 'turning' on people to 'the wide world of food' when the have McDonald's sponsoring their shows. Sorry we all know what McDonald's is all about. No one needs to be introduced to it as a gateway to culinary delights.

                                                                                      FN has simply sunk to a new low. Have a look at the link below.


                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                        Phaedrus RE: Withnail42 Jan 24, 2007 05:38 AM

                                                                                        How can you say that about scrumptuous fare like the Quarter Pounder with cheese or Royale with cheese in France? If people in France are eating it, it has to be good right? :P

                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                          venture6 RE: Withnail42 Jan 24, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                                                          It's a business. They need sponsors, McD's offered.

                                                                                          1. re: venture6
                                                                                            Withnail42 RE: venture6 Jan 24, 2007 11:46 AM

                                                                                            They want(more money) not need sponsors...besides they should have some sort of standards.

                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                              venture6 RE: Withnail42 Jan 24, 2007 12:19 PM

                                                                                              The sad truth of the matter is that "high-end" food businesses rarely, if ever, advertise on tv. McD's is a staple of Americana, whether we like it or not.

                                                                                      2. Pincho RE: FAL Jan 23, 2007 08:51 PM

                                                                                        Used to watch a number of FN shows, now almost none but I do Tivo Iron Chef... last show, they were actually displaying the McDonald's logo in the lower left corner of the screen - yes, during the show. That's it for me... done with FN.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Pincho
                                                                                          Josh RE: Pincho Jan 24, 2007 06:08 AM

                                                                                          Seems to me, though, that it's a choice between accepting money from advertisers you may not like, or ceasing to exist. Ultimately, Food Network is a business, and if they aren't making money, they will stop broadcasting. I'm no fan of McDonald's either, but seeing their logo isn't going to convert me into a Big Mac eater.

                                                                                          1. re: Josh
                                                                                            Pincho RE: Josh Jan 24, 2007 10:33 PM

                                                                                            I don't dispute that...

                                                                                            My point was that their association with McDonald's was just another confirmation that the channel is not a serious venue focused on good food. Would advertisers support such a thing - a serious food channel - given a perhaps smaller audience or even worse a voice for slow food and against corp. giants? Well no probably not...

                                                                                            Not that FN will care if I watch or not, as people serious about food are clearly NOT the target market.

                                                                                        2. h
                                                                                          hana RE: FAL Jan 24, 2007 08:16 AM

                                                                                          the shows are not meant for people who can really cook. i can my boyfriend can't. if he watches and then decides to make something because it looks easy and has few ingredients, that's progress. as for "real" cooking shows, in nyc on monday nights on channel 21 from 8:00 through about 10 are cooking shows -- it starts with lidia (because of her i am not afraid of brussel sprouts anymore), everyday cooks (i think an offshoot of martha stewart, but simple). i've also found new (to me) shows on discover home.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: hana
                                                                                            rcheng RE: hana Jan 24, 2007 08:56 AM

                                                                                            I agree with that statement. I know that Sandra Lee's show gets bashed on this board and it's not one of the ones I watch, but my wife, who does not cook often, likes it because the recipes are very simple (semi-homemade) and they fall within her comfort zone. It's a start and I do think it hits a certain target.

                                                                                            1. re: rcheng
                                                                                              venture6 RE: rcheng Jan 24, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                                                              Exactly! Anything that gets people who are afraid/timid about food and cooking to try something new is a good thing. So what if it was SL or RR or Paula or Ina who was the cause?

                                                                                              Once again, the people who post on this board is not the FN's target audience.

                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                            myra buono RE: FAL Jan 31, 2007 12:53 PM

                                                                                            Thank you so much for saying so. I used to love cooking shows that were serious. So many of the shows are not giving me recipes, measurements, showing me how to do it from beginning to end, etc. There used to be a gourmet show with a heavy man on channel 21 pbs years ago (it was the only cooking show) and he was great. I like Rachel Ray, Barefoot Contessa and Paula Dean. I don't trust Giada (looks like she hasn't eaten in years) and I hate those waste of time shows like Alton Brown and Emerill. I need serious cooking shows to show me good ideas for my family meals and for holidays and for entertaining. Iron Chef is boring and useless. Nobody's cooking at home like that.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: myra buono
                                                                                              Mr Taster RE: myra buono Jan 31, 2007 01:39 PM

                                                                                              I think you'll have strong opposition on this board for 1) admitting you like Rachel Ray (who seems to like everything and is unrealistically, insincerely perky) and 2) admitting you don't care for Alton Brown.

                                                                                              I for one find Alton's science-based explanations behind cooking fascinating. It gives me a deeper understanding of how food works, and I can use that information to broaden my food knowledge and apply to different recipes. For example, the process of turning milk into yogurt and yogurt into cheese. I actually made yogurt at home based on his recipe. In the end it was a 6 hour temperature-controlled science experiment which yielded a fantastic, delicious product. It is so much more interesting to me to actually learn about how food "works"... in the same way that visiting China will give you a deeper enjoyment of Chinese food, I find his explanations add a depth to my enjoyment of the food I cook.

                                                                                              For example, his explanation of what collagen is (the material that holds bone material together) explains so much... if you heat it too fast, it becomes chewy. But slow heat it over long periods of time and the structure of it breaks down into gelatin. Suddenly you realize that gelatin is what makes bbq lip smacking good, as well as what is responsible for making a stock rich and sensuous (and why stocks take so long to cook in the first place). Two totally different applications for collagen, but the reaction is exactly the same.

                                                                                              Mr Taster
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                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                Josh RE: Mr Taster Jan 31, 2007 03:46 PM

                                                                                                One of the coolest recipes of Alton's I made is from his first book. It's called Alabama Alchemy, and it's collard greens with ham hocks. The trick, though, is that they're slow cooked over a period of 3 hours, which dissolves the collagen in both the greens and the hocks. The resulting broth is simply amazing. Refrigerate overnight and the broth turns solid. Very cool!

                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                  mikezenspace RE: Mr Taster Feb 1, 2007 01:22 PM

                                                                                                  One very appealing aspect of Alton Brown to me, is the emphasis experimenting vs. strict adherence to recipes. I haven't followed many of his recipes exactly, but, I've found many of them to be a solid framework upon which I could build things to my taste.

                                                                                                  To use a musical analogy, it's like the difference between only knowing how to site read from a page, vs. knowing the fundementals that allow you to imporovise.

                                                                                              2. MSK RE: FAL Feb 1, 2007 07:34 PM

                                                                                                I too, just don't get it!

                                                                                                I've read so many posts about the Food Network, I thought I was missing something. So I just started tuning in last week.

                                                                                                First...... can someone tell me why there's a BAND on a cooking show.......Emeril?

                                                                                                I haven't seen anything worth watching never-the-less attempting the menus or recipes. Maybe it's the time of day I can watch...which is only between 11am and let's say1-2 PT.

                                                                                                So I've seen:
                                                                                                Mario (love his resstaurants),
                                                                                                Someone on a BBQ,
                                                                                                Michael Chiarello (love his NapaStyle store but when he says he's excited that breakfast only took him 1 1/2hrs to prepare, he lost me!),
                                                                                                Someone opening cans and lots of store bought components,
                                                                                                Someone making themed dinner parties with tons of high fat, high calorie dishes
                                                                                                Rachel Ray

                                                                                                I'll say it again....I just don't get it!
                                                                                                At least I get something I can use every once in a while on Martha.

                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                  chefwannab RE: FAL Feb 3, 2007 09:45 PM

                                                                                                  There is much that I still like and feel I can learn from (Alton and Ina are some of my favorites, and reruns of Molto Mario) but mostly FN has become overrun with these so-called "personalities" who don't even really know how to cook at all and should never be on a network attributed to food and cooking, for the sake of the health and intelligence of the American people. Ray and Lee especially!

                                                                                                  To answer those that attest that they appeal to a certain audience who would be intimidated to get in the kitchen otherwise, cooking CAN be easy and use only a few ingredients, without simply giving you a recipe that can be found on a box of Velveeta. Watch Ina or Nigella as an example. They really know what they're doing AND you get it without the annoying personality!

                                                                                                  I can't believe myra mentioned needing "serious" cooking shows and liking Rachael Ray in the same comment! Well responded, Mr Taster.

                                                                                                  For all fellow Raytard loathers, please visit rrsux.com - enjoy!

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