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"Food Entertainment Network" - Enough Already

Ok this is a general post about the direction the Food Network has been heading the past few years. The Food Network is no longer about food, it's about food entertainment. The exact same thing has happened with Food Network that happened with MTV. MTV started off where the programming was almost exclusively music videos, but over the years dropped the videos altogether for game shows, specials, and music-related entertainment programming. Food Network has followed the exact same path and has gone from shows that were about food and cooking to game shows, specials, and food-related entertainment programming. They've replaced programming featuring top notch chefs with programming featuring bush league cooks. What they have left of top notch chefs are now doing "entertainment-style" shows, or are being shown at times with the fewest viewers. Ming Tsai, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, Sarah Moulton, even David Ruggerrio all gone. Now we get Food Network Challenge, Ingrid Hoffman, Rachel, Giada, and the chefs with actual cooking chops stuck in "game-show challenge" type shows like ICA, Dinner Impossible, and Throwdown. I think the time is right for another food network that actually goes back and focuses on food and cooking, not entertainment. /endrant

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  1. I totally agree. Without Batali, Ming Tsai and Sara Moulton it's just not worth my time. I watched to learn from talented and engaging chefs, not to see Paula Dean cackle and pour confectioner's sugar over a competitor on ICA.

    Is there another option on TV?

    1 Reply
    1. re: alexig

      This has been the theme here at CH for a year at least. Try the sister channel, Fine Living, they show some reruns of the classic FN series, or check out PBS, like we used to do pre-FN. Just don't watch.

      To paraphrase Anton Ego

      "I don't LIKE food, I LOVE it. If I don't LOVE it, I don't SWALLOW or WATCH!"

    2. gotta come up with a new name...dubbing it the food "entertainment" network indicates that the programming is actually entertaining.

      5 Replies
        1. re: bubbles4me

          Emeril and Mario leaving were the kickers. The face of the network is now Alton Brown, the only true chef left not involved in a "challenge" type of show like ICA or Throwdown is Michael Chiarello. Well and Wolfgang Puck if you count his 2am reruns of episodes taped 6 years ago.

          1. re: Bunson

            Apparently "Emeril Live" is to continue in re-runs and "Essence" is to continue.


            As to Mario, here's one version of the story: http://www.nypost.com/seven/09052007/...

            Maybe just like there is TV Land for really old sitcom reruns, there can be FoodTVLand for old cooking shows.

            1. re: Bunson

              AB may be the face of what's left at FN, but the T&A is Giada...

              1. re: Bunson

                i was just watching an episode of the martha stewart from about a week ago with mario on it. they made a butternut squash ravioli and some other amazing stuff. while they made the ravioli martha asks mario "why aren't you going to be on foodnetwork anymore?" and he answers they're going more mass market then he would like but he'll still be on iron chef...so there it is...he's also admitted to it's crappy mass market demise as well...

          2. Sadly, I too agree. I used to love FN, but now I find myself shooing myself away from the countless (and needless) "challenges" (Rice Krispie treats, anyone?) and hoping that maybe someone would recreate the old "Great Chefs" programs that showed, well, GREAT chefs in their natural element. I do look to Fine Living or Create to watch some real cooking shows, but even those are interspersed with some real dreck.

            I'm guessing the America's Test Kitchen crew doesn't have enough hippy-hippy-shake-shake to make it on FN. That's a doggone shame.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bards4

              is "great chefs" still on any other network? fine living? pbs? i used to love that show!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Only running in my brain and on my 25 year old video tapes that I know of.

            2. Bunson wrote, "The exact same thing has happened with Food Network that happened with MTV. MTV started off where the programming was almost exclusively music videos, but over the years dropped the videos altogether for game shows, specials, and music-related entertainment programming."

              I agree. But unfortunately for us, MTV had many years of success with their non-music-video programming. In the past few years MTV has been criticized for being stale & having lost their way, but their first years of reality TV was quite successful (e.g., the first few seasons of "The Real World").

              Those of us on Chowhound may really dislike what the Food Network has become but part of me suspects that the rest of America loves it.

              41 Replies
              1. re: alanstotle

                It's all about the Benjamins, I am sure.

                1. re: alanstotle

                  Food Network isn't for good cooks, it's for people who sorta wanta cook. I was in the hospital a couple of years ago, and wound up watching it several hours a day, though my idea of "cooking" a meal involves a microwave and something from Trader Joe's.

                  What a lot of the programming did was demonstrate that cooking needn't be all that difficult, nor anything to be afraid of. If they manage to sell some Rachael Ray knives or Paula Deen-brand grits, so much the better.

                  I don't like a lot of the programming: on those "inside" shows, a person labeled something like "meat expert" is most likely the PR person for the meat company, and I wish Anthony Bourdain was on TFN rather than the Travel Channel.

                  But I also wish I was rich and famous, and that isn't about to happen, either. Still, life goes on.

                  1. re: Muskrat

                    My issue is that the Food Network is no longer showing or teaching new things. Everything has been dumbed down to cater to the home cook, or given an entertainment spin. I learned a LOT about food from watching Food Network since my days in college back in the mid 90's. East Meets West, Emeril, Ruggerrio To Go, Grillin' and Chillin', Calling All Cooks...some of the raw early shows that focused on food and cooking.

                    Then came "The Golden Age" of shows that really expanded to show more "global" food, and the grassroots blood sweat and tears aspects of food in the mom and pop suppliers and restaurants. A Cook's Tour, Ciao America, Molto Eats Italy, FoodNation, Food Finds, The Naked Chef, Ming's Quest, Molto Mario, Boy Meets Grill, Into The Fire (one of the best shows ever that never took off), Food Hunter...all of these shows focused on the food, ingredients, and sources. Most importantly it helped people gain an APPRECIATION and RESPECT for the food (at least it did for me). It also showed food that most people would never hear about or see anywhere in the U.S. I don't travel much, and these shows opened a gateway to an aspect of food on a national and global scale I couldn't get anywhere else. That in turn piqued my interest in learning more about food, top chefs and top restaurants. Most of my friends see Eric Ripert on Top Chef and say "who's that?" while I'm in as much awe as the contestants themselves. As it is right now, someone can watch 80 hours of FoodTV programming a week and all they'd learn is a pseudo gourmet recipe that they can make in 15-30 minutes, or get a few laughs from some "entertainment show" that involves food. Yay.

                  2. re: alanstotle

                    True alan but it must be conceded that MTV lost it's way in the end and now really isn't a channel of anything - it's no longer a destination channel even for the demo it was designed to attract. I think the MTV comparison is a fair one and that Food Network a few years ago with Emeril Live was in their version of "The Real World" phase and they've now moved into a very bad space. Even MTV doesn't know what MTV is anymore and they're no longer considered "cutting edge" or much of anything in the media world. MTV doesn't mean anything these days (nor do most of the MTV channels - Nick at Nite, TV Land, etc.

                    But I digress. The point is those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it and Food Network didn't learn the MTV lesson.

                    If one doesn't learn from

                    1. re: laylag

                      Wow. I must be watching a compeletly different network. On the weekends I often have it on all day or if I'm off I watch a lot of if and I see lots of cooking demonstration. Yes some of it is entry level like Paula Deen and Sandra Lee, but believe it or not, there is some actual cooking on the channel. A lot of the shows many of you seem to have issues with are part of the Food Network Nighttime brand and are designed to appeal to a different demographic. That's how TV works. You have to appeal to different demographics and types of people. Why do people think that the only programs worth airing should feature professional chefs? Some people find them off putting or too advanced. You know, Julia Child was not a professional chef. She was a housewife. She learned to cook by cooking dinners for her husband.

                      It seems they are trying to have a selection of programming that appeals to lots of different levels. Why is that so threatening? But to say that there is no cooking on Food Network anymore is just ignorant.

                      1. re: Wellfed

                        "She learned to cook by cooking dinners for her husband."
                        NO. Julia Child went to cooking school in France and then started teaching.

                        "Why do people think that the only programs worth airing should feature professional chefs?"
                        How about some programs featuring professionals. Perhaps something above entry level one and a while. They had that once. Now it is all about personality and cakes. They don't have to always appeal to the lowest common denominator.

                        1. re: Wellfed

                          To call Julia Child "just" a housewife who learned to cook by cooking ofr her husband is way too much of a simplification. She studies french cooking in Paris, applied herself to the art of French cooking, experimented ceaselessly with the techniques, the raw material, she was a popularizer but she never, ever dumbed down the recipes or sacrificed taste. The so called cooking shows like Sandra Lee, Rachel Ray, and the recent Paula's party definitely dumbed down the process AND more importantly compromised the quality. I think that is what people find the most disturbing. Simplifying the cooking process while getting the same tastes is very different from destroying the taste because the purpose is to simplify the process.

                          1. re: Wellfed

                            I've read back through all of the posts and unless I missed something, no one said there is "no cooking" on the Food Network anymore and to say that that was said is itself "ignorant." The thrust of the vast majority of the posts is that the cooking technique being shown (whenever that is) has been "dumbed down" and there are more "entertainment" oriented food shows than there were in years gone by. The recurrent theme of many posts is that there no longer is "programming that appeals to lots of different levels," that its all relatively unsophisticated stuff. No one suggested that that's "threatening," just disappointing.

                            For years the Food Network worked without appealing to the demographics they now seem to be focusing on and was apparently quite successful, so I guess I disagree with the notion that a network "has" to appeal to different demographics. Why do people think that programs should feature professional chefs? Because they want to learn new things, things that they haven't seen or done themselves 40 times. There is something to be said for acquiring new skills.

                            As far as Julia Child is concerned, while she was a housewife (certainly nothing wrong with that), she really honed her cooking skills from studying in France at Le Cordon Bleu and with master chefs in Europe. She also spent the better part of 10 years researching and refining her first cookbook. Needless to say, by the time she hit the airwaves, she was a very accomplished chef. Oh, and a former spy, but I digress...

                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                              Do you think that spy stuff is true... when she worked for the OSS? I wondered myself when I first heard that but then asked people who knew her well and they said "No, no way."

                              This is from the NPR piece on The National Women's History Museum:
                              "Decades before becoming a famous chef, she worked for the Office of Strategic Services. (The OSS was the predecessor to the CIA.) She was assigned to solve a problem for U.S. naval forces during World War II: Sharks would bump into explosives that were placed underwater, setting them off and warning the German U-boats they were intended to sink."

                              Seems like the word "spy" os an overstatement, though she did have some small level of security clearance. She worked in cartography.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                How did these people 'know her'?

                                It's well documented that she was a cartographer in China. I don't know what that has to do with researching sharks in the North Atlantic.(That's where most of the U boats were.)

                                She wasn't a spy in the Cloak and dagger sense but she do work in China, in some harsh conditions, during the Second World War in the information services. I don't know what her security clearance was.

                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  Maybe we're romanticizing a bit to call her a "spy" but she did work for the OSS. If she was really a spy, it's doubtful we'll ever know the truth. However, the mystery is just as compelling...and there's no doubt that she was an accomplished woman.

                              2. re: Wellfed

                                i've worked in many large corporations not related to food but it always seems to boil down to creating market share by diversification. in other words, make more crap so more people will buy it and we can make billions of dollars to please the board of directors. and there's great pressure to do so at these places resulting in a diluted product b/c it tries to please too many people, in this case TV programming.

                                when i lived in the bay area i loved saturdays on kqed when they showed food shows like julia child, jaques pepin, culinary secrets of the CIA. hmmm...those were the good ol' days!

                                1. re: trolley

                                  Yes! I watched all of those when I was in grade school/junior high, all classics. Don't forget The Frugal Gourmet (his post-tv career issues aside) and "If Yan can cook, so can you!"

                                  1. re: Bunson

                                    i LOVED the frugal gourmet! until...well...yes, his sad post TV career issues. yes, yan can cook was great too. i loved it when juila and jaques would do the shows together... such great memories!

                                2. re: Wellfed

                                  Yes wellfed, the evening programming was changed intentionally to target the masses and have broader appeal. It has been the network's intention for some time now. Prime time was to focus less focus on actual cooking with the "how to" cooking shows scheduled in the daytime. However what I and others here are mostly griping about is that those are dumbed down just as much as the evening programs.

                                  I'm not sure which great chefs and cooks you're watching during the day but I certainly haven't seen them. Granted, I'm not home in the daytime often but those same programs air on the weekend. Cleavage cooking in the daytime, how twinkies are made in the evening. Not a greatly talented line-up.

                                  1. re: Wellfed

                                    First of all, I find it insulting to the memory of Julia Child to even mention her in the same paragraph as Sandra Lee. Julia actually studied the art of French Cooking and dedicated her life to showing America that you don't have to be intimidated to get into the kitchen. Did you know she used to be a spy? Housewife...just rubbish.She was ,and always will be, a national treasure. Oh and lets not forget her food did not include seasoning packets, and tablescapes (whatever the he!! that is.) And she certainly didn't talk like an annoying adolecent.

                                    There is absolutely nothing I can learn, or want to learn, from Sandra Lee, except how NOT to pronounce many items. Paula has just run her course, the show isn't so much about cooking as it is her character. Don't even get me going on Ridiculous Ray.

                                    Sadly, there is nothing on FoodNetwork anymore that really presents things on an intermediate to expert range. Essence of Emeril is about as close as you get...and of course what is left of Mario.

                                    It is not the same station it was years ago, and that is not a good thing as it, like many things in our country, has been dumbed down for the masses.

                                    God forbidd we should continue to learn!!

                                    1. re: kkak97

                                      The thing that grinds my gears the most (in a very long list) about Sandra Lee is that she uses frozen, pre-chopped onions. Frozen onions! Not only are they mushy, tasteless and impossible to caramelize, they take literally one minute to chop yourself. Ugh!

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        I don't cook any of the recipes Sandra Lee prepares, but don't forget that she did go to culinary school, as did Giada.

                                        1. re: kprange

                                          sandra and giada are both probably very qualified cooking talents and i'm sure it's required for one to achieve something before getting your own show on FN. however, what they lack is personality and interest. giada is much more personable and watchable than sandra yet, they both lack the interesting quality and the humanness that julia and jacques pepin had. they're both a bit robotic versus the latter two had character.

                                          1. re: kprange

                                            She never finished culinary school. I read that she said in her chefography that she realized that all the things they used in school at Le Cordon Bleu she could find in seasoning packets...yeah right.

                                            Her former husbands money and influence I'm sure helped get her on TV. Dating and livng with Gordon Elliot has helped her stay!!

                                            1. re: kkak97

                                              If she live with Gordon Elliot that would explain quite a lot. In fact they should have a disclaimer. "

                                              1. re: kkak97

                                                She didn't attend culinary school at all; she enrolled in a two week culinary "camp" and dropped out after 3 days. I've been through the Le Cordon Bleu program, it takes a minimum of 12 months attending full time to earn an associates degree. I was at Costco yesterday looking at some good cookbooks (Julia Childs "Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vols 1 and 2 for $26!) and accidentally touched a sandra lee "cook"book. As soon as my hand touched the cover my flesh began to blister.

                                                1. re: LabRat

                                                  She claims to have written eight cookbooks in the last two years. I gotta figure that if that's the case (a) she did not write them, at least not all by herself and (b) they aren't any good. That said, I hope you are recovering well from your injury--you had a similar to the reaction I get when I walk by the polyester clothing in some discount stores.

                                                  1. re: LabRat

                                                    LOL! Her "cookbooks" were all over the main display table in the cookbook section of Barnes & Noble on Saturday. I think B&N has a marketing deal with TFN stars, as ALL of the books by the Big Three were out - Paula, Rachael and Shamdra's.

                                                2. re: kprange

                                                  Okay, Wikipedia is not the end-all be all, but it says there that she took a 2-week course at Le Cordon Bleu and did not obtain any certifications nor complete the course.  Wikipedia says that in her "Chefography" she admits to being more of a lifestyle expert and frankly, from the quotes in the article, it appears that she thought that cooking anything involved is just too much of a bother for anyone. 

                                                  On the other hand, Giada studied at Le Cordon Bleu, worked in restaurants, including Spago and also as a food stylist.  

                                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                    You guys are really tough. I just choose to change the channel and watch something else until a show comes on that I like. On the other hand, I am really glad there are shows on that makes people realize they can put a meal on the table and eat with their family. It is quite a change from eating at fast food places on the run.

                                                    1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                      She could hack a two week course? That's sad, but what's sadder is the fact that she has a cooking show.

                                                      As for Giada Lets face it she has fairly good family connections that certainly help to open the door.(As much as she claims otherwise.)

                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                        What do family connections have to do with Giada's cooking experience? Nobody went to cooking school for her or worked for her. She, as far as I know was very hesitant to enter the tv arena. It seems to me that some of you are grasping at straws to find something to complain about. Giada's family connections did not give her her cooking chops.

                                                        1. re: kprange

                                                          Giada's last name could not be De Laurentiis (sp?). That's her mother's father's last name. She uses it because people recognize it. There's something not right about that.

                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                            You are correct as De Laurentiis is her mothers maiden name. Her real name is Giada Pamela De Benedetti.

                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                              Good point I had forgotten about that.

                                                              So while her 'family didn't go to cooking school for her' she made darn sure people knew where she came from. Being the Granddaughter of a famous movie producer is going to open doors and get you noticed especially in Hollywood. No matter how much you 'protest' in doesn't.

                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                I am not Giada's biggest fan, but the fact of the matter is though the name may open the door, but it doesn't neessarily keep one in the room.

                                                                1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                  Nah, her head keeps the door jammed open.

                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                    Actually I thought there were a couple of other things that kept the open.

                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                      Now you are just being mean and petty. She does a good job and has the cooking chops. I don't know what the problem is. It seems if it isn't a host from "the old network," then it isn't good enough.

                                                                      1. re: kprange

                                                                        She doesn't do a good job. She a pretty girl with low cut blouses from a well connected family who got lucky. Ever see her live? Not good, like a bad home ec demo. Last time I saw her on Today there was an awful lot of smoke in the air. Tiki Barber, a professional footballer player had to step in and take charge. He more or less told her what to do for the rest of the segment.

                                                                        If you really want to see mean and petty see how she acted towards the contestants on the most recent "TNFNS". She was quite simply nasty and pretentious. Yet she can't deliver the goods herself despite her years of 'experience'.

                                                                        And yes the chefs on the early incarnation if the network were better that the personalities that are on these days.

                                                                    2. re: Phaedrus


                                                                      thanks for that...i needed a good laugh today :)

                                                        2. re: kprange

                                                          Kpr, I can't imagine anyone who went to culinary school using frozen onions.


                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                            I agree that she takes many shortcuts and I don't cook her recipes. I didn't realize she only took a quick course. She, herself doesn't say she is a chef, and she had to be persuaded to go on the air with her show.

                                                          2. re: kprange

                                                            going to culinary school has nothing to do with becoming a good cook-- even Alton Brown has said that

                                                            1. re: charlottecooks

                                                              Sadly, Sandra Lee has accomplished neither.

                                                3. jfood has been watching TV cooking shows for over 30 years and still finds value in the Food Network (remember when it was Food TV). Jfood think sthe biggest issue facing many of us in watching is the scheduling. Jfood remembers finishing dinner, going into the study and watching cooking shows. Now look at t he schedule from 8-11:

                                                  - 6 episodes of Good Eats
                                                  - 6 episodes of Food Network Specials
                                                  - 2 episodes of Secret Life of
                                                  - 2 episodes of Ace of Cakes
                                                  - 2 Diners, Drive-ins
                                                  - 1 Food Network Challenge
                                                  - 1 Rachel
                                                  - 1 Giada
                                                  - 1 Bobby

                                                  See the difference? Only 3 cooking shows Friday from 10-11 and Thursday at 830. The other slots in M-F Prime Time is fluff-stuff.

                                                  Jfood triess to hit the fitness center so he is on the elliptical from 1130-1230 so he can watch Chiarello and Garten, still good shows.

                                                  So if you are looking at the 8-11 slots, it is basic garbage, if you look around the off-hours the good stuff is still there. What a shame.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Yes, there are a few left in the afternoon jfood - Ina and Chiarello being the best examples but that's not much in a day.

                                                    1. re: laylag

                                                      Agreed, jfood has really taken a liking to Chiarello's stuff and he could not stand him the first few times he was on. And watching Ms Contessa in the kitchen gives jfood additional motivation for the second 30 minutes on the equipment.

                                                      But jfood grew up with much less, GG at 330, then onto Jeff Smith for a few years, LOVED the Julia Shows (even SNL's "Fish is a Prop"), Jacque Pepin, PBS' regional specials, etc They were all few and far between.

                                                      Yes we all got spoiled with every night cookie shows and when the trivia challenges came on jfood knew it was a different world approaching.

                                                      Alas, food changed and food tv changed. gives jfood more time to read cook books, and google for recipes.

                                                      There is one more thing that should also be a rule, no spouses. It is impossible to watch Flay with Mrs Flay. She was a better DA than food hostess.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        Mrs. Flay is a rare example of the person who is better at being a fictional character than at being herself.

                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                          I am in agreement with you both but would like to add that the same rules should apply to offspring (especially sons) as well.

                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                            Pepin's daughter was pretty good, but Lidia's multiple genrational show was not a show to remember with any positives.

                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              I was of the understanding that the rule only applied to FN. Have no problem with PBS families and off spring.

                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                I don't know....I saw Bayless with his daughter, and the show gave me the willies.

                                                                1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                                  Oh, good lord, Bayless and his daughter are the creepiest people on TV. She is an absolute nut, full-grown but acting like an over-eager 3-year-old. And Bayless, with that weird sort of whisper/moan thing he does, almost like a bedroom voice. Very weird.

                                                                  And I'm sure they are wonderful people. But it's like a train wreck, watching them.

                                                  2. One problem they had was that they have been stuck with a very mainstream audience demographic, and that's the core target for their advertisers, so they can't get away from that audience too far without getting too far away from their bread and butter.

                                                    It's a trap they're in, and that's part of what's happening. They also just split off the newspaper part of their organization so they can completely focus on video (which might mean their site is going to be changing), plus they just bought some huge online recipe site. Obviously they're putting some money into it, but everyone on this thread is right on the money too!

                                                    FN still has some good talent, but it's almost like they should turn the network programming over to Anthony Bourdain.

                                                    Never say never. Emeril is on the wane, and maybe one of these kooky new shows might make it...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: TasteTV

                                                      I agree with what you are saying about demographics. But I just find it hard to believe that the entire demographic is content to be given the quality that they have now. And that there is no room for better in depth shows.

                                                    2. I have been a chef/cook for 17 years. The Food Network is more interested in Fluff than substance. It is the direction they are headed in. It hurts us more than anything but they will eventually have no ratings. Those were the shows people watched, and now as a result of us watching those shows we watch the Network. this will change when they take away all of the true talent. I kid my wife that they are one big commercial. Breasts, sexy woman, and game shows. No more talent. What a shame for us real cooking lovers!!!

                                                      1. I find the Food Network virtually unwatchable these days, if I see one more version of a burger being made I'll ralph. The real nail in the coffin for me was when I flicked on to see Rachel Ray making HOT DOGS on her show. HOT DOGS. The big gourmet flourish was she CUT THEM IN HALF. Thankfully there's PBS and new programming from Ming and Lidia and Jacques, and the Julia re-runs! And I'm a recent America's Test Kitchen convert...that show is GREAT. I also hear that Mario is headed for PBS. I miss the days when I actually learned something from the Food Network, whether it was international or regional cuisine, or Jacques Torres making truffles from start to finish, or REAL methods. I can cook just as well as most of the "chefs" on the Food Network these days, where's the pleasure in watching that, I'd rather be in the kitchen.

                                                        Admittedly I do still enjoy Ellie Krieger when I happen to catch her. I think she offers flavorful healthy cooking tips, she's sensible and doesn't sacrifice taste. She made a very low fat chocolate pudding pie that I tried, and I've liked her ever since that turned out to be incredibly delicious and a healthier dessert option for my repertoire.

                                                        I take great offense at the person who called Julia Child "just a housewife." She was a linguist and a codebreaking spy, and a generally brilliant woman accomplishing things far ahead of her time. It's already been pointed out that Julia studied at the Cordon Bleu, so I won't go into just how she learned what she knew about cooking. Julia's charm was that she showed America complicated, intricate and intimidating French methods, and she showed them in a way that made them accessible and with the spirit of "anyone can do this, since I can." She was the first and still the best. Post-WW2 was a time when people were starting to turn to convenience foods, processed foods and instant foods as newer and supposedly "better" options for feeding the family. To a large extent Julia single-handedly turned the tide against that movement, she didn't win, but she certainly gave the rest of us better options.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: ballulah

                                                          LOL, I missed the hot dog ep--is it possible to require MORE than 30 minutes to cook a hot dog (not including lighting the charcoal...well, not an issue for RR). The other night, the 20 seconds of RR that I could stand before changing channels was devoted to a "meatball" something or other except that it was loose meat--"I make it with ALL the things I put in a meatball except the egg and bread crumbs..." OK, that would make it spaghetti sauce!

                                                          I'm definitely with you on ATK--the equipment evaluations and taste testing alone make it worth a look, and I've picked up some interesting cooking information from them too.

                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                            I am sad too. But I knew they had jumped the shark when I saw Rachael's recipe for the hot dog chili burgers. Oh My. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                                                          2. re: ballulah

                                                            well said Ballulah! many of us would gladly love to have Julia's "housewife" career!

                                                            1. re: Cat Chow

                                                              not to mention, one thing Julia didn't do was dumb down the food for her audience. She was adamant about the precision of the process, the technique.

                                                              It's why I love Jacque Pepin's show, the complete pepin or whatever it is. It's not just recipes - it's technique. In other words, it actually teaches something. Very refreshing.

                                                              1. re: adamclyde

                                                                That Jacques Pepin show I believe is a re-run from the late 80's or 90's. It's totally fasciating, and he's so charming...I could watch him cutting butter roses all day long. I love how he focusing on one thing, and takes you through the how and why of all aspects of the "thing." I've never seen anyone clean a salmon from start to finish. I also ADORED Fast Food My Way, also Jacques. Now why is it that his quick cooking is so enjoyable, and Rachael Ray and her shrill yelling and sammies makes me seethe with rage at the television?

                                                                1. re: ballulah

                                                                  "Now why is it that his quick cooking is so enjoyable, and Rachael Ray and her shrill yelling and sammies makes me seethe with rage at the television?"
                                                                  In my mind, it sorta like what Tom Selleck said to one of the other guys in "3 Men and a Baby" while reading Sports Illustrated to Mary, the baby - "It doesn't matter what I read, it's the tone of voice I use. She doesn't understand the words anyway now where were we?" :-) Perhaps if Rachael Ray toned DOWN her shrill yelling to a modulated speaking voice, she might not cause seething rage. Although saying sammies, stoup and EVOO would still have me seething with rage. :-)

                                                          3. I miss A Cook's Tour, The Naked Chef, East Meets West, Grillin & Chillin, The Food Hunter, Follow That..., FoodNation, and the like. Although some of these are available on Fine Living, why not on FN? It seems to be a sad time when the Food Netowrk comes in 2nd to a lifestyle channel on food shows. What about Yan Can Cook, Graham Kerr - The Galloping Goumet, and "I Gar-on-tee" Justin Wilson?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                              Thanks Mooing! I was trying to remember the name of that crazy cajun, Justin Wilson!

                                                              I watch PBS on Saturday mornings. They have good cooking shows. I sure miss the old days, though. Julia taught me so much, and I was "just" a housewife at the time. Amazing I learned anything ;-)

                                                            2. "I think the time is right for another food network that actually goes back and focuses on food and cooking, not entertainment. /endrant "
                                                              Ain't gonna happen. More advertising dollars come in with the drek they're putting on the air right now.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                sadly, ITA.

                                                                I guess we'll have to make do with our memories and PBS

                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                  MTV and FTV were two of the reasons I actually sprung for cable many, many moons ago, but both became dinosaurs. I remember lobbying my local cable company to put Food TV on their system. They said they had been getting a LOT of requests, and were looking into it. I was really glad when I got it and watched it a LOT.

                                                                  Now, all I can say is "Meh!" when I skip through on my way to another "Fave Channel". There's never a reason for me to watch it for any more than 5-10 seconds to determine it's just not worth my time.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Food TV used to be my "default" channel when nothing else was on, back in The Golden Age there was usually always something on that was interesting. My new "default" channel is Discovery/Science Channel...they have some amazing programming there, but I digress.

                                                              2. Actually regarding "Food Entertainment" if I want to watch a "chef" yuk it up, I'd much rather watch Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Cat Chow

                                                                      (Eyes open for the first time, and open wide): "Der huuuuge der gobbler gobbler!"

                                                                      That upon seeing Big Bird for the first time on some Muppet Holiday special. Hilarious. He chased Big Bird around with a cleaver for the entire show.

                                                                  1. I know you all understand this but I feel the need to write it anyway. The people on this site are NOT the demographic of the food network. Everywhere on this site people seem to understand the most of the world is not like us and accept that but when discussing the Food Network we are offended that they don’t cater to us. So here are the economics for television for those who have forgotten.

                                                                    When Food Network started it was a niche market station. It had a very small following and very little money and yes, at that time chowhounds were the demographic. From the very beginning one of the highest rated programs on the network was Emeril. So they tried an experiment and Emeril Live was born. Then something amazing happened. The ratings for Emeril Live were significantly larger than any other show on the Food Network and it was also bringing in a younger and more male audience (yes, that’s right the giggle and jiggle set on the Food Network owes their existence to Emeril). Now we have all heard about the desirability of that magic 18-34 male demographic. Food Network could now charge more for advertising on Emeril Live. More advertising dollars means more money for new shows.

                                                                    One of the other things that was different about Emeril Live was that the people who were watching it were not as likely to be interested in the actual recipes as those watching other shows. Why, because they were watching it for entertainment not cooking techniques or advice. Emeril made cooking fun and cool even if the watcher never did it themselves. Thus an entertainment network was born.

                                                                    The perfect example is my family. My mother in her late 60s not a great cook; she became a wife in the age of convenience cooking and still cooks that way today. She watches the food network but not Emeril, Bobby or Mario. Their food is too complicated and made with ingredients she doesn’t eat regularly. She hates Alton. She likes Paula’s party show better than her older cooking show. She does not mind Rachael at all. She would rather watch a program on the secret lives of Twinkies then ICA. She has never cooked a recipe from Food Network.

                                                                    Sister 1 is in her early 40s a very good cook and great baker. She loves new recipes and no matter how much she enjoys the result she never keeps the recipe but goes looking for the next new one. Does not watch the Food Network but uses their website as a recipe resource. She likes Emeril’s recipes but does not really enjoy watching him on television. Once upon a time before every chef in the world had their own website with recipes, you had to buy cookbooks to get the recipes. Sister 1 learned she could get many of them for free on Food Network and still looks for recipes on their site.

                                                                    Sister 2 is in her mid-30s is a passable cook and loves to bake. When she got married she could not cook at all and was intimidated by the process. She learned to cook from Rachael Ray. Rachael made the process seem simple and easy. As a personality Rachael was welcoming and accepting. My sister no longer watches the food network or cooks Rachael Ray recipes but Joy of Cooking intimidated her before and does not now.

                                                                    Nephew is 20 and a prep cook and some time line cook at Applebees. Never cooks at home; he would rather have frozen pizza. Loves Emeril and Rachael but would never consider making any of their food.

                                                                    I will say this for my family. None of us understand Sandra Lee. We call her the white trash Martha Stewart.

                                                                    If you think Food Network is about food, you have missed the revolution. It is about food entertainment.

                                                                    In defense of MTV they changed because they had to. When they started out they were unique. Up until that point it was difficult to get music videos. Internet speeds did not allow for downloading video and there was no such thing as an ipod. Their original demographic (young people) would today consider waiting around for television to play to the music video you are interested in seeing to be a waste of time. I only add this because I know no one is still reading at this point.

                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bonmann

                                                                      You may be right--the people on this site are not the demographic of Food Network, but many people on the site once were. You say that "we" are offended that they do not cater to "us." Many of "us" are disappointed, not offended that Food Network does not cater to "us" and what "we" are offended at is that the Food Network really is not about food or cooking anymore.

                                                                      As to Emeril, your point is well-taken, but at least he cooks. Real food. Real recipes. And there were many other really engaging (dare I use the word ) personalities who are no longer on the network, but who also cooked real food, using real recipes.

                                                                      Your family's stories are interesting, but illustrate nothing more than that different people have different uses for the Network. They don't validate the "dumming down" of the network.

                                                                      Oh, and as to the MTV thing (yes, someone did read to the end of your post!), they changed long before fast internet speeds and ipods. And not every kid has the money in his/her pocket to download a bunch of videos all the time. MTV used to break new music/videos. I get a sense that they don't do that anymore.

                                                                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                        Ok, I should not have implied that everyone was offended by the change in the food network. But based on some of the above posts, I think some people are.

                                                                        My point was supposed to be that the Food Network moved from a cooking channel to an entertaiment channel based on the economics of broadcast television. To sell to ads you need the number of viewers that give them the best bang for thier buck and the broader your audience the more ads you will sell. I op seemed to be saying that he did not approve of the Food Network as an entertainment channel and I thought I was trying to explain how that happened and how no matter how disappointed we might be it is unlikely to go back as we don't have the numbers.

                                                                        As far as MTV, you are right thier first competition was VH1 and BET. They lost market share first when they were not unique. That is when they developed new programing which brought thier market share back for a while. Now thier problem is relevence. There is a reason that artists are by passing traditional record labels for Walmart and Starbucks, most people no longer get thier music from traditional record stores.

                                                                        1. re: bonmann

                                                                          Something on which we agree--I acknowledge that some people actually do seem to be offended at the changes at Food Network. Frankly there are a lot more offensive things out there in the scheme of things, but I definitely am disappointed.

                                                                          FYI, VH1 was created by MTV (actually its parent company, I think) 4 years after MTV was created, to focus on "soft" music and the 18-35 demographic rather than the younger teen market and BET launched a full 18 months before MTV (and ironically is now owned by MTV Networks). But I digress.

                                                                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                            After 5000+ words,

                                                                            a.) still liking FN less and less
                                                                            b.) networks DO have a choice on programming
                                                                            c.) thanks for the economics lesson
                                                                            d.) go buy books
                                                                            e.) i love this website


                                                                            f.) is Michael Symon an attempt to bring some fresh foodie blood back to the channel? I have followed his career for a bit, and really respect the guy.

                                                                            1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                                              That "Next Iron Chef," was actually pretty good. At least they had Wylie Dufrane on for a few minutes, and we got to see a little bit of molecular gastronomy. Sadly, ICA and Alton are the only shows I watch anymore, and FN is what got me into cooking in the first place.

                                                                              BTW- have you noticed they are now hawking product directly? When the new, improved website went up (which is mercifully faster than their older garbage site) all of a sudden you can buy a standing mixer.

                                                                      2. re: bonmann

                                                                        The morning/daytime shows used to be the shows that appealed to the home cooks, the "on-set" free TV equivalent of the classes at the local gourmet food store or what you received when you paid a fee for some cooking classes. Cooking for the masses. They had those but still had a larger variety of shows that were interesting to a wider audience, where everyone watching could learn something new and interesting.

                                                                        The point is that the majority of programming now is for the masses, and the trending is that soon everything will be for the masses based on who they're letting go and who they're bringing in.

                                                                        For an analogy lets say we had a channel on Home Improvement with the following prime time programming options -

                                                                        Program Group A
                                                                        - Building a basement from scratch.
                                                                        - Plumbing
                                                                        - Electric
                                                                        - Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning
                                                                        - Drywall and Insulation
                                                                        - Room Decor
                                                                        - Home Improvement-related gameshow

                                                                        Program Group B
                                                                        - Five shows about room decor
                                                                        - Two Home Improvement-related gameshows

                                                                        The first group of shows is more informative and covers a broader range of topics, but not everyone will watch all of the shows nor will find all of them interesting. The second group of shows is more accessable to a broader audience, and will probably get higher ratings and bring in more revenue. Soon all of Group A programming is phased to Group B programming.

                                                                        Which is exactly what's happening with the Food Network. Everything is phasing over to either a soundstage location cooking demo for the masses or some kind of game/entertainment show.

                                                                        1. re: Bunson

                                                                          I agree with you 100% and I think that was my point. The Food Network has positioned themselves as an entertaiment network. I am no longer the person that the Food Network is trying to entertain because there are not enough people like me willing to watch those shows, if the shows don't have enough viewers the network replaces them with shows that have enough viewers (the masses) to sell the advertising to finance the show.

                                                                          Your group A used to be the Home and Garden channel and now we have HGTV which is group B. Group A moved to the DIY network (although I understand they are already HGTV lite) and I can't get DIY becuase it is a niche channel and too expensive for my cable company to offer it as part of my cable package. Some people have said that some of the people we miss from Food Network are on Fine Living and I can't get that channel for the same reason.

                                                                          Food Network is showing what sells to the demographics that the advertisers want and although I may not like the direction that Food Network is going the majority of the people watching seem to and that is how television is financed.

                                                                        2. re: bonmann

                                                                          Bonmann, you are right on many points but MTV changed their music format long before the internet was a player in the fight for eyeballs and attention. After Real World - which really was groundbreaking reality tv - they took the concept and went with it - Pimp My Ride, etc then they went waaaay overboard with it. After a short time other cable networks introduced their copycat versions but MTV was late in realizing it needed to redefine itself and still has yet to recreate a sustainable brand.

                                                                          Now take a look at a lot of the new shows proposed for Travel Channel and those already on it - Anthony Bourdain included. Travel is encroaching on some of the old Food Network territory as well as the new. Food Network is MTV seven years ago - about to lose its core audience and its larger mass market audience with no new identity on the horizon.

                                                                          FYI to all who may not know, credit to Fine Living is undeserved as it is another Scripps channel and they are just repurprosing and amortizing old Food Network programming - cost effective. If its already amortized and Scripps owns the show all the better - it's free programming.

                                                                          The key for Food Network and MTV programming and marketing executives is to redefine the brand, to create programming that regains and retains the core audience while still appealing to the broader market = ad dollars. In the end, it's all about money - we know that.

                                                                          Personally, I believe a channel called Food Network should still have sufficient appeal to foodies and chowhounds to at least check in as a destination of sorts but from the responses here it would seem they've alienated a fair amount of "valuable" audience.

                                                                          1. re: laylag

                                                                            I finally have it. Food Network was developed as a niche channel, directed at the niche of those who love to cook and learn about good food. The niche expanded until it was no longer a niche and all of the old shows from the niche channel migrated from the former niche channel to new niche channels merely recycling the old stuff for the original viewers of the original niche channel to watch. Makes perfect sense to me. But please, don't pick on Pimp My Ride.

                                                                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                              I guess Xzibit would bring a new angle to "Grillin & Chillin".

                                                                              1. re: Its Still Mooing

                                                                                Touche, cowperson.  I just spent about 6 hours tonight with my mother and sister at my mother's house, baking cookies for my mother's holiday cookie give-away platters.  I pretty much figured that the apocalypse had come, as Mom decided to have the Food Network on--Some holiday Food Network celebrity thing, with Paula as one of the participants; The Food Challenge, Christmas tree decorating edition; then Iron Chef America, holiday edition, featuring Tyler Florence and some musclebound guy whose name I don't know, against Cat Cora and Paula. The secret ingredient was sugar. I thought the apocalypse had come. Thanks for the laugh after all of this.

                                                                              2. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                I wasn't picking on Pimp Shayna. It was actually a bump up for MTV on their downward slope.

                                                                                1. re: laylag

                                                                                  I'm sorry if my sarcasm didn't translate. That show just cracks me up--why not a fishtank in the rear seat--makes perfect sense to me? If I were young enough, with a pathetic enough car, I guess they would have to figure out how to put a Sub-zero and a Viking range in the trunk of my car. Extra-heavy shock absorbers to start, I guess.

                                                                          2. So it goes when"executives" take over and run the show. I taught myself how to cook watching great chefs and the ocassional PBS cooking show. Those shows are about real Chefs and cooks working in real kitchens........not Rachel Ray ( who never worked in a restaurant) who gets rewarded with tv show, magazine, etc....... It's very sad

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: spanman

                                                                              RR goes on and on all the time about her HoJo days. She can't keep herself from making icecream with a huge pile of Readi-Whip and a cherry on top.

                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                While I like Readi whip, I must admit I don't like to see it on a food show. I think homemade whipped cream can be made in a jiffy.

                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                  Ah, HoJo's--there's fine dining. Used to love it when Mom would take me and my siblings to the all you can eat fried clams night!

                                                                                  Even if you look at Rachel Ray's website, it's pretty clear that whatever she claims to know about the kitchen is through osmosis, not any sort of training. Her food "experience" is basically in management. Lack of formal training doesn't mean she can't cook, but she is so freaking annoying that I can't bear to watch her long enough to see if she can cook.

                                                                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                    She also doesn't try to be something she isn't. She got a break and ran with it. People really seem to like her. I do think she is becoming over exposed. She seems to be everywhere.

                                                                                    1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                      I also loved the Clam night! As far as RR goes, I do watch her daytime show, not the cooking one, but the talk show-cooking-household hints. She does get on my nerves sometimes with her cutesy phrases, and squeaky different voices for each ingredient, but I have actually gotten a couple simple recipes that I like. Her main dishes consist of EEVO, meat, and cheese! And then take it out of the oven and add more cheese! Good grief. My daughter and I have discussed her recipes, and agree that if we ate like that we would be as big as barns! But, as kprange said, she isn't trying to be something she isn't. She admits she is lacking. Soon she is going to totally burn out.

                                                                                      Which brings me to another point about FN - is it just me, or do the cooks/chefs seem to get larger and larger? With a few exceptions, they all put on weight, and that is when I tune out! If their cooking is making them fat, count me out!

                                                                                  2. re: spanman

                                                                                    Notfair spanman. Like TV chefs, not all TV execs are created equal. Executives put the better programming on the air too. Sadly, it's often the corporate heads and the quest for ever-increasing share value along with advertising/marketing execs and the advertisers themselves that eschew quality content for mass market crud. I just realized, that's what SL, RR and that ilk do to food. Guess it makes great sense. But don't lay it all on the programming people. Much of it is not their fault.

                                                                                    1. re: spanman

                                                                                      I learned to cook at my mothers and grandmothers apron strings, and spent 3 years baking to put myself through college. I used to love watching PBS cooking shows, and learned a amazing amount from the Great Chefs series on the Discovery channel.

                                                                                      I used to love FoodTV with Alton, Tony Bourdain, David Rosengarten and others, and if it wasn't for Good Eats, I would remove Food network from my remote control. I was never a fan of Sarah Moulton's show, but she was infinitely better than the "giggle and jiggle set"(great line) but I always learned something when Nick Malgeri baked on Fridays.

                                                                                      It is sad to see what FoodTV has become and what it could have been , but corporate profits have a way of discovering the lowest common denominator.

                                                                                      We still have PBS.

                                                                                    2. Jfood finally remembered the name of one of his favorite shows on PBS:

                                                                                      "The Best of (Insert City)"

                                                                                      It was fabtastic.

                                                                                      21 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        Are you sure it was on PBS? I've only ever seen it on FN.

                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                            Different series and it was on PBS, in the days pre-cable. we used rabbit ears, black and white TV's, no clickers and no HD. Right after the T-rex died. :-))

                                                                                            It would have "Best of New Orleans" or "Best of Los Angeles" and the hand held camera would stay in the kitchen and watch and discuss with the chefs of the city about their food and watch it prepared.

                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                              "The Best Of" with Mark Silverstien and Jill Cordis (?) was on FN. It was a terrific show. I am so glad to know it is on Fine Living now. I'll be sure to find it.


                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                I saw it on this thread and it is set to dvr'd every episode!

                                                                                                1. re: Its Still Mooing


                                                                                                  Jfood agrees there is a show on FN with Mark and Jill called The Best of".

                                                                                                  What jfood is referring to is a series that is at least 10-15 years ago called "The Best of Chicago" or the Best of New Orleans", etc. The set up was a couple of cameras in the kitchen of 4-5 restos in that city. There was a voice-over host, no body in the scens, and occassionally t he chef would speak into the camera. They expanded to overseas and doing The Best of Frankfurt in which the chef spoke in German and the voice-over translated.

                                                                                                  It was an excellent shpw qith top-tier chefs. Mark and Jill's (which jfood liked) was a re-make usingthe same name.

                                                                                                  Hope this helps.

                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                    Are you sure it is called The Best of...? I remember a show on PBS called The Great Chefs of..... It sounds like what you are talking about.

                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                      that was "great chefs of the world." another excellent - and sorely missed - production.

                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        There were several "Great Chefs" shows... The World, Chicago, New Orleans, I think San Francisco. A whole bunch of them. I watched regularly and greatly enjoyed them. Can't remembr the woman's name who did the voice-over narration for the show, but she had a *very* distinctive voice. Wish they'd had CD-Rs back then. My video tapes are showing signs of too many neutrinos biting them! '-)

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                          you should have your videos transferred to dvd before they wear out.

                                                                                                          and not that it helps with the video issue, but there is a collection of cookbooks with the recipes from all the shows. maybe you can put it on your wish list for the holidays...?

                                                                                                          btw, the narrator's name is mary lou conroy.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            Mary Lou Conroy! That's her! She appeared on another show too, where she sat at the end of a counter and talked to whoever was cooking. She was always interesting.

                                                                                                            Thanks to all for the links to buy the shows.

                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                              WealthTV is currently running a series called "Taste of Life" that is somewhat reminiscent of "Great Chefs." I've only seen one show that I stumbled on by accident, but the chef was very talented and showed how to make his dish step by step. There was a female narrator, not a Mary Lou Conroy, but not bad either. Nothin on the show was dumbed down. Don't know how many cable systems carry WealthTV, so that may be a problem. If you get it, the show is worth looking for.

                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                Well, I was wrong. ONE of the two episodes of "Taste of Life" I have now seen was reminiscent of "Great Chefs." It's still an interesting show, but not the same format every program.

                                                                                                                Oh, well...

                                                                                                          2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                            OH MAN U R RITE.

                                                                                                            tail between the legs again.

                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                              taken from http://www.lifeintheusa.com/food/food...

                                                                                                              "The “Great Chefs” series broke ground in the 1990s with high quality programming, accompanied by the tasteful jazz of guitarist Charlie Byrd and the inimitable southern-accented narration of Mary Lou Conroy. “Great Chefs of the World” has featured vignettes on more than 800 of the world’s finest chefs; many American chefs have been featured and special segments have been done on the great chefs of American food cities like New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago. This stylish program has appeared on public television and on a number of cable networks."

                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                Thanks GHG. Going down Memory Lane on this show is great. Jfood never realized how many they produced.

                                                                                                                Jfood started his elliptical a little late today and the last 5 minutes was Sandra Lee on FN. Aftter Chiarello and Garten to finish with her was blech. Jfood has to see if the local library has this series.

                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                  i'm guessing the library probably does.

                                                                                                                  btw, i was a fitness traier for years, and i never used to let my clients watch tv during their cardio. you don't work as hard! music is better :)

                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  Emeril was a featured chef (as a much younger, more serious man) in the early 90's on "Great Chef's"

                                                                                                                  1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                    Emeril was on that series , as was the 2 Hot Tamales and Mario Batali, plus Lidia Bastianich. Jacques Torres also appeared

                                                                                                                    I have often wondered if that show earned Emeril's opening for the Food Network.

                                                                                                                    I forget who finished Creme Brule' with a torch. I was amazed and tried it myself the next night. It worked so well that I told my boss about it, and within 3 weeks it was a probationary item on the menu.

                                                                                                                    I am not a huge fan of Guy Fieri, but his diners show is a low-brow version of that series and a welcome change from the Yum-O and cleavage set.

                                                                                                  2. The dumbing down of Food Network... Okay. This morning I was watching Sara Moulton. She did a Hannakah meal with a beef brisket that had my mouth watering! A food stylist couldn't have made it more attractive. She braised the brisket with full fat still attached, then when it was time to thicken the sauce, she skimmed it, then said she could thicken it with a beurre manie, quickly said, "No. Who needs all those French terms anyway?" and said she would use a slurry instead.

                                                                                                    I suspect Food Network's "policies" are reflected in this. My problem is, what is wrong with clear communication? Beurre manie: a mixture of flour and butter used as a thickener for sauces. Roux: a mixture of fat (sometimes butter) and flour cooked to remove the flour taste and can range in color from blond to chocolate, depending on the dish. Slurry: a mixture of flour and water or flour and corn starch used to thicken both sweet and savory dishes, and especially used for gravies that already have a high presence of natural fats.

                                                                                                    The thing that really stressed me this morning is that there likely were a LOT of viewers who don't know this. How many years will it take them to figure this out when just a word from Sara -- "I'm going to use the slurry instead of the beurre manie so I don't increase the amount of fat in the finished gravy." -- could have saved someone years of ignorance? And what's wrong with French terms anyway?

                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      I like when Sara Moulton's show has the measurements on the screen like a recipe card. Even though I usually get back online to print off recipes, it gives it a sense of structure and not just "lump of butter" or "bit of salt"

                                                                                                        1. re: Cat Chow

                                                                                                          Yes - or "two swirls around the pan" RR's favorite. Two Swirls is very vague, especially for a beginning cook, which is probably a majority of RR's viewers. It's easier to learn correctly, then to "do your own thing" once you have the knack of it, I think.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                        I started to read your post and had no idea what either a beurre manie or a slurry is, though I thought I knew what a roux is (but was only partially right), so thanks for the definitions. I venture to say that the vast majority of viewers wouldn't know the difference either. Therefore, Sara's remark about not needing French terms wasn't helpful, nor would have been your suggestion of her simply saying why she would use a slurry instead of a beurre manie. She could have said that she was thickening the gravy with flour and water, rather than flour and fat and why, thereby informing the viewers and not confusing those who don't know cooking terms and not becoming too "high-brow" for the viewers.

                                                                                                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                                          High-brow isn't always a bad thing. What's wrong with calling something by it's name? Why not have a food show that is there for those who are above beginner phase?

                                                                                                          You've inadvertently hit on one of the main point of peoples gripes about FN is that they no longer try to inform and educate but simply aim to entertain at the lowest base level.

                                                                                                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                                            Sorry, but I'd rather learn what the difference is between the two thickening agents than hear about how yum-o something is.

                                                                                                            We need a NFNS who can bridge the gap between Julia/Jacques and Rachel/Sandra. Can Bourdain do a cooking show, or is that too banal for him? I'd watch him cook in an airplane galley...

                                                                                                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                                                                              But you 're missing my point, oblique as it may be. "Beurre manie" is a pair of words with a traditional and estbablished definition, just as "brake fluid" means something specific to a mechanic, or "whole blood" means something specific to a surgeon. Language is what makes concise and clear communication possible. Beurre manie is a very old cooking term that is part of the culinary French tradition.

                                                                                                              My personal preference is that instead of saying, "beurre manie -- who needs French terms?" she would have said, "Beurre manie is a mixture of equal parts of flour and butter used for thickening sauces, but since this brisket gravy is already full of great flavored fats, instead of dilluting that flavor with butter, I'm going to thicken it with a slurry of flour and water, which will work just as well but without the flavor conflict between fats, or even more importantly, without increasing the fat content overall. And by the way -- a "slurry" is a mixture of flour and water, or sometimes corn startch and water, used for thickening anything from gravies and stir fries to puddings and pie fillings."

                                                                                                              Oh wait a minute...! It JUST occurred to me...!!! Can you tell I'm not Jewish? I don't know for sure, but beurre manie would not be kosher, since the butter is dairy. Boy, am I ever having a slow day! So she should have said that too for the thick shicksas (sp?) like me who didn't catch it! She was, after all, preparing a Hannukah meal!

                                                                                                              And then lots of people would have learned some really good stuff, and I would have thought, 'Hooray Food Network." Instead, I'm pretty ticked off that Food Network seems to have planted its feet firmly on the side of ignorance. Sara was at one time considered an heir apparent to Julia Child, and Julia would have used the opportunity to teach people good things. er... umm,,, good stuff. "Good things" is a little too "Martha" for this conversation! Sorry. '-)

                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                This is all information that can definitely be had on America's Test Kitchens. In fact, that reads just like it was written for the show.

                                                                                                                1. re: ballulah

                                                                                                                  Then I guess Food Network goofed by not adding a footnote to the show saying "For more complete information, be sure to watch 'America's Test Kitchens' on PBS." Ridiculous.

                                                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                              In any case, this is a moot point. All the Sara shows are old--she's not part of the "new direction" of FN. Frankly, I much preferred her dinnertime show to RR.

                                                                                                            3. When I get bored with The Food Network I switch to The Travel Channel.I love Anthony and Zimmerman.If I hear Paula say Hi ya all one more time- when Rachel comes on I turn the sound down.I think Emeril got tired of listening to himself(I can't even say it)And I'm sorry Sandra with her matching curtains and outfits.I love them all but I hate it when they take a bite and say OHHHH this is sooooo goooooood.

                                                                                                              1. +10000 on the Travel Channel. Real people, experiencing authentic cultural cuisine. Everytime another amateur chef on FN butchers ethnic cuisine......i change the channel. Too painful to watch. All that these FN viewers need to do is try out the recipes these "entertainers" dish out....and the results will speak for themselves. Michael Chiarello can stomp that smartass Guy Fieri (whatever his name is)...in a cookoff. Go Mike!

                                                                                                                1. To realize how "mass-market" FN has become--just walk into a Kohl's and you'll see the entire line of FN cookware right along side Rachael Ray's cookware, etc. It really makes me very sad to see the focus on TV personalities rather than real chefs or at least "cooks". Time to look somewhere else for great cooking/food shows.

                                                                                                                  1. Agreed, Bunson. It's pretty much unwatchable now unless you like reality shows and shlock. Stick to PBS for anything worthwhile on food.

                                                                                                                    1. I'm happy to report a slight break in Food Network's dark clouds – the channel will rerun Anthony Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour", starting with a mini-marathon on Christmas Day. Then, re-airing it in a regular time-slot Tuesdays at 10:30pm ET/PT starting January 8th. The show had not aired since July 2006.

                                                                                                                      It is almost unprecedented that FN does this – but the suits must have noticed Bourdain's "No Reservations" is the highest rated series on the Travel Channel. Not to mention a cult following. Their loss.

                                                                                                                      Hopefully FN will start to realize that an intelligent, well written foodie show can and will draw viewers.

                                                                                                                      Said Bob Tuschman, FN's Senior Vice President: "We look forward to introducing new viewers to this memorable Food Network series and know they will enjoy Anthony's unique voice and unforgettable adventures."


                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Ulua

                                                                                                                        Wow, that's great news.

                                                                                                                        Thanks for sharing, Ulua.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Ulua

                                                                                                                          they must be scrambling to fill dead air time now that emeril live is gone...at least they've picked up something good instead of just defaulting to more repeats of one of their current worthless shows.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ulua

                                                                                                                            I suspect the WGA strike (writers) comes into play as well. Food Network won't be the only TV network sinking into rerun land come January.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                              Don't tell me someone gets paid to write up that unadulterated crap coming out of Rachel's mouth...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                i know, i'm trying not to think about the f-ing strike. it's not the interruption in tv programming that upsets me, it's the effect it has on my business - i provide food for craft services...there goes the income from all my tv accounts since none of the shows are in production now!

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  Bummer! But I would think that the "reality" shows still use craft service. But if they're shooting in China or Bratislavia, I guess that doesn't help you. "Have food, will travel?"

                                                                                                                                  WGA is trying a little strike busting ploy by trying to negotiate with the individual studios. Maybe it will work.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                    they do, but craft services is just like any other industry or catering situation with specific accounts, and those aren't my shows. so for now, it's strictly films, which, although less consistent, are great accounts if you can land them. i do hope they iron it out...but in the meantime i get to relax & enjoy the holidays!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      And bake muffins at 3:30 in the morning ...! '-)

                                                                                                                              2. re: Ulua

                                                                                                                                Good news, Ulua!

                                                                                                                                I had to laugh at the "About" section at the bottom of that article:

                                                                                                                                "About Food Network

                                                                                                                                FOOD NETWORK (http://www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network and Web site that strives to be way more than cooking. The network is committed to exploring new and different ways to approach food -- through pop culture, competition, adventure, and travel -- while also expanding its repertoire of technique-based information."

                                                                                                                                Strive all you want, FN...your expansion of "technique-based information" went out the window years ago. :-/

                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  'Information' went out the window years ago.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    Yes, surprising FN brought back Cook's Tour. However at a book signing in Dec, Bourdain suggested FN is taking their last shot, as their rights to the series expire summer 2008 (which his production company is trying to acquire). Again, they must have noticed "No Reservations" is Travel Channel's highest rated show.

                                                                                                                                    FN probably realizes it's not going to silence Bourdain's criticism. In his 6/15/07 post in Michael Ruhlman's blog, Bourdain noted the food on 'The Next Food Network Star', "mostly looks like bonobo-puke". And while being admittedly hooked to the show, he felt the contestants are the type who "would not hesitate 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..."

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ulua

                                                                                                                                    If it was so memorable why did they shelve it? Perhaps AB doesn't quite fill out a sweater the right way, or he knows what he is talking about.

                                                                                                                                    That being said be curious to see where they go form this point.

                                                                                                                                  3. I also saw something encouraging when flicking to the Food Network (out of habit) during commercial breaks recently. It looks like Jamie Oliver is back, and I think it was a prime time show. From what I saw, it looked like a show that starts in the garden and ends in the kitchen, and if Jamie Oliver is involved I will watch religiously. I admire his work to improve children's school provided lunches immensely, and his emphasis on food education, fresh ingredients and regional/seasonal food is truly well thought out and well executed.

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