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TitleThe Mmm Face – Do we really want to watch people eat?

Accompanying the dumbing down of food/cooking television that we’ve all bitched about is what’s known in our house as “The Mmm Face.” Much airtime seems to be given to watching the host and/or chef tasting and eating, sometimes accompanied by the OER – the Orgasmic Eye Roll. This is especially bullsh*t if the chef herself is cooking – you’re a professional, on television – is it not therefore presumed that a) you have made the dish before, and b) you believe it is good?

Now, I do understand that if Tony Bourdain is going to chomp on something questionable or scary, we want to see his reaction. In the opposite corner, if it’s Paula Deen in her lardotorium going on and on like the bad actress she is, it’s unbearable. So I don't watch. But seems to be becoming a standard, and I’m just not especially fond of watching people chew and make faces, an unappetizing timewaster that wasn’t done in the professional chef-type shows of the past, where they’d plate something and that was that. Oh, Sara Moulton would take it to a table with a glass of wine, but that was about it.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I totally agree. It looks very unprofessional and self-congratulatory. Do you remember Capriel Pence and her show, Caprial's Cafe, by any chance? She would present the dish to her husband in the dining room. He would taste it, and would then suggest adding "some dried cherries" next time. Pretty straightforward....no lip-smacking, eye-rolling, back-patting, or other gleeful expressions. I miss Sara. Very lovely and elegant, low-key presentations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cookingschool

      That drives me nuts!!! Especially RR, Guy Fiori, and Sandra Lee. It is almost like they need their own approval. I think they doth protest too much.

      As much as I like watching Bourdain, sometimes he seems overly dramatic when congratulating a chef, but I think that is to ingratiate himself to the people on the shoot who are high governement muckety mucks. But he is nowhere as bad as the FN people.

      1. re: Phaedrus

        >>if it’s Paula Deen in her lardotorium going on and on like the bad actress she is, it’s unbearable.

        UpWithOlives, that's a wonderful line, and sooooo describes the 'new' PD.

        I soooo agree. I do remember, in days gone by, when the chef would assemble the dishes in front of them, or bring them to a table, sit down and start eating, the camera would pan out and the credits rolled. There was no gobsmacking lips, no orgasmatron faces, just polite fork to mouth.

        Ye gods and monsters, what HAS food television become?

        Yes, Sara is much missed.

        By the way, has anyone caught 'Posh Nosh' on PBS? Skewers all of the above and more.

    2. I'm also in agreement, with this. I hate it when these TV "chefs" act like they are tasting ambrosia from the gods. My pet peeve is you-know-who exclaiming "YUMMMO!"

      1. So you've never tasted your own dish and said, umm, this is good?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jase

          Guilty as charged, Jase. And if someone compliments a dish I've made I'm also guilty of replying "You know why? Because I made it". LOL. Just for the record, I've often had the discussion with DH about how funny it would be if RR actually panned something that passed her lips. "YUCK-O"! :)

          1. re: Jase

            I don't roll my eyes, gasp orgasmically to a camera and scream: "YUMMO!!"
            Its not the reaction, but the unwarranted overreaction.

            Besides, they probably didn't prepare the dishes, the prep people on the show did.

            1. re: Phaedrus

              I am a fat little lady and am pretty good at cooking, when I taste my food I usually say "Oh boy" but that is it, no eye rolling, lip smacking. Some of the cooks (Most are not chefs) on the food network are so skinny I just don't believe they eat anything, Giada, The quick meals lady, even Sandra Lee who are they kidding, they must go throw up right after they taste their food. Of course because Paula eats butter balls proves she eats just about anything and RR is always eating out, I don't think she eats her own cooking.

              1. re: cook52

                cook52, I am pretty good at cooking, and better at baking, so when I make something I particularly like, I will say 'wow'. That's it.

                I remember Justin Wilson's reaction to his cooking and it was within the acceptable parameters, as was Julia Child. Neither wore a low cut top that showed their cleavage, Giada, nor looked like they lived on a lettuce leaf, Giada.

                I don't like today's crop of cooks at all.

                I miss Sarah Moulton and don't like how Alton Brown is being made to jump through hoops in a poodle collar.

          2. Okay, I'm digressing a bit, but sometimes the way they go on about the smells that the heavenly dish they are creating for our pleasure is emanating: "Oh my god, it smells so GOOD in here already!" It might smell like an armpit in a July heatwave for all we know.

            3 Replies
            1. re: MysticYoYo

              I think there was someone who actually used to gush, "oooo, this smells so good, I wish we had smell-a-vision!" Eee Gads!

              1. re: MysticYoYo

                Sort of like how Ingrid Hoffman shoves her dishes in the camera and tells you to smell it. That's just stupid.

                1. re: Avalondaughter

                  Ingrid Hoffman's show is just another level in FTV hell. There is just nothing to like about that show and yet it is still on.

              2. My problem with all the TV cooks/chefs on whatever network is that they have NO idea how to describe what they are eating. Isn't there a taste dictionary they can refer to? (OK, I know there isn't) Yummo with eyes rolling heavenward just does not give me any sense of what the stuff tastes like.