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Big Daddy's House Premieres Sunday

Aaron McCargo's show, "Big Daddy's House" airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. Will you watch/Tivo?

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    1. re: rockandroller1

      if I remember i will watch, that title has GOT to go tho.

      1. re: sugarsnapp

        I agree. And if the Q&A on Harry's blog is any indication, this is not a place to go for imaginative meals.

      2. re: rockandroller1

        Me too, I would rather watch "Big Mommas House" parts one and two...

        1. I was among a number of sites that attended the Q&A session with Aaron yesterday. If that holds any interest to anyone you can read about it at my site.


          29 Replies
          1. re: HarryK

            Harry, you were being extremely generous in calling all three "talented finalists." ;-)

            And he's all into "big portions"????? Has he not heard about the obesity epidemic in the U.S.? His "perfect meal" is a 16-18 oz. steak, asparagus, potato, salad, and soup.

            Holy smokes.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              LOL! About the generosity, thanks Lisa!

              I know. Wow wow wow. I used to love a 12 oz steak when I was a teen or my early twenties, still growing and very active. Nowadays if I can finish an 8 oz one I consider myself as having overdone it. hehe

              I bet the Deen boys would love that meal though! :)

              1. re: HarryK

                Also, Harry, there's no need to be "honored" to join the bloggers' chat. They invited you to get publicity. You're doing them a favor. Keep up the good work!

                1. re: brendastarlet

                  You never know, Brenda, when I'm being candid, sarcastic or just polite. I'll say the "honored" was just my being polite. At least that's what I'll say. :)

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Why should the "obesity epidemic" change how he wants to cook?

                1. re: jgg13

                  People watching this show will be more likely to eat more than they should - because he's serving "big portions", which is what he's into. It just perpetuates the fact that quantity of food is more important than quality of food.

                  16-18 oz. of steak? That's enough for 4 people!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    People are smart enough to make their own decisions. They eat what they want to eat. If they're being "fooled" by a cooking show, that is *their* problem, not the problem of the host.

                    And it isn't like any of these recipes couldn't be halved/etc.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      I think the national statistics willprove you wrong. I think all creatures have a famine response built into their brains so that they will eat as much as what is put in front of them. They have done tests on animals where they leave out a ton of food and they will generally eat until they can't eat anymore. One thing that separates people from other animals is free will, but people, and especially Americans, have a hard time exercising the free will. Our obesity epidemic bears this out.

                      Restaurants have been guilty of overfeeding people starting after WWII, because that is when food became cheap and the restaurants figured out that one criteria people judge their dining experience is via best value for the money and serving larger portions for a little more money can do wonders for their bottom line. This idea then migrated to the family table.

                      I franly don't care if this guy decides to serve heaping servings of whatever he is making because I won't be watching but to say that it isn't his responsibility as a food presenter and demonstrates portion control on a mass communications level is a bit naive.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        Oh I know of what you speak, but at the end of the day - unless trickery is involved, the responsibility lies in the hands of the eater. I dislike the hand-holding culture that we're turning into and IMO restaurants, food tv shows, etc should serve/cook/demonstrate/etc whatever the heck they want.

                        If people don't like it, simply don't eat/watch/etc.

                        Suppose I *want* to watch a show where a guy from Camden is cooking up "big portions", why should I have to suffer simply because someone else can't possibly help themselves from eating a giant steak just because they saw it on TV?

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I think they should be reasonable in their presentation. Obviously I don't want the food Gestapo all over the air waves, but it sound like this guy and FN, in order to garner viewership are trying to go over the top.

                          An example is Emeril, in his Live show, he would get people moaning with pleasure by doing huge servings of food, I don't think showing the smaller portion detracts from the presentation nor does it take away the excitement of seeing the dish. The emphasis should be on the taste of the dish rather than how much food is being presented.

                          And why WOULD you consider it to be be suffering from seeing a reasonably portioned dish? I am not saying to plate the food like you are in the middle of the nouvelle cuisine restaurant, I am just saying show a single portion or if you really want to show abundance, show the dish family style.

                          1. re: Phaedrus

                            Heh, when you mentioned Emeril and the audience moaning, I was sure you were going to be talking about his heavy hand with the garlic ;)

                            For the most part, what I saw from Emeril was the "and this is just my portion!" kind of treatment, and pouring extra booze into things when the audience would cheer.

                            Not saying that I would be suffering, just pointing out that if this *is* what I want to see, obviously I'd want to support a show like that. If it *is not* what I want to see, I wouldn't watch the show. Since shows exist based on advertisement, if this was truly not what people wanted to see, they wouldn't watch and the advertisers would leave (and vice versa). So if this (and shows like it) succeed, they do so because *that is what people want*.

                            I don't see any problem with any organization giving people what they want and making a profit on it.

                          2. re: jgg13

                            There is a very good argument against shows that serve up huge portions: They make people think that 14 ounce steaks are a normal serving. That is NOT a normal serving, and it's a huge disservice to readers to suggest it is.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Not to get into this again but I still think that argument is bollocks.

                              Who gets to define what "normal" is? You? "Normal" is what most people eat, ergo if most people eat large portions, that is a *normal* portion. If people decide en masse to eat more, then the size of a "normal portion" increases.

                              Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is wrong.

                              1. re: jgg13

                                Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is wrong.

                                jgg13...that's a motto that more Chowhounds should take into consideration.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  normal is a dangerous word admittedly and i am not a food snob. however, there actually are standards set for health and scientists/nutritionists/physicians who set them based on what is best for our bodies to function. so 16-18 oz is outside what that should be. it is actually not as far outside "normal" in our current society per your last argument as it is outside healthy.

                                  1. re: AMFM

                                    I'm no stranger to nutritional science, and yes, "healthy" would be a better word than "normal", something that seems lost on a lot of these folks.

                                    A few things though:

                                    1) What is "healthy" is still a hotly debated subject, particularly considering that what "healthy"/"best for our bodies to function" actually *means* differs from person to person (e.g. a diet to maximize one aspect will be different than one to maximize something else .... do you want to be big & strong? live forever? etc). And even within one definition, things are constantly changing.

                                    2) I still think it is assanine to expect a TFN show to feel obligated to present a "healthy" lifestyle. If anything, what would be more understandable would be to expect them to demonstrate what is "normal", which as we've both said isn't what these posters are really upset about.

                                2. re: pikawicca

                                  It's up to people individually to take responsibility to figure out what a proper serving is. I'm not a big fan of TFN for other reasons, but I don't think it's their obligation to focus on portion sizes, etc. unless the theme of the show is healthy eating and they are directly disseminating misinformation. Similarly, it's not the fault of the restaurant that serves huge portions that many of its customers are fat. Just because your sandwich is served with a pound of fries doesn't mean that it's a "normal" portion or that you "have" to finish them.

                                  It's more entertaining and visually appealing to see a plate on TV served up with a huge, juicy slab of meat than it is to look at a 3 oz. Weight Watcher's portion. People need to take a little more ownership of their decisions and be less passive-- going to educational, rather than entertainment sources for their health and dietary information and then exercising some willpower to follow through with eating habits that work for them. It's not the TV show's fault.

                                  1. re: Shawn

                                    I actually don't disagree but there is a big difference between a 3 oz steak and an 18 oz steak.

                                    1. re: AMFM

                                      There is, and it involves a lot of disappointment.

                            2. re: jgg13

                              Very well said.

                              Who are we to tell people to have self control?

                            3. re: LindaWhit

                              Thats just ridiculous. You eat what you want regardless- Ive someone is a food nag or calorie counter, than they wont eat all 4 servings.

                              This show isnt the cause of the issue- eat what you choose. Whats wrong with big portions? The concept of the buffet puts more food in front of you than this.

                              Just have fun with it, jeez.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                "16-18 oz. of steak? That's enough for 4 people!"

                                Please, never invite me over for dinner!!!

                                I might leave 6 oz. of steak on my plate---- when I'm done!!!


                                1. re: Mild Bill

                                  I agree bill, I had a 16 oz rare sirloin last night for dinner,and left about 4 oz for my wife to have for a lunch during the week.

                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                    Well, if Big Daddy's giant 16 oz steak meal isn't up your ally.... you can always watch Ellie Kreiger prepare a 3 oz portion of boneless, skinless chicken breast with a 1/2 teaspoon of oil, minimal salt, and a side of steamed broccoli, no butter.

                                    1. re: Mellicita

                                      I'm not sure who you were responding to, Mellicita - swsidejim or me. I don't cook 3 oz. pieces of chicken with no flavor - far from it. But regardless of how I cook - 16 oz. of meat is WAY too much for one meal. So is 12 oz. But if people want to eat that much, so be it. I won't.

                                      1. re: Mellicita

                                        that 16 oz steak would be right up my alley. Cooked rare of course. Skimping on protein is not for me.

                                        I do like Ellie Kreiger though, she is very easy on the eyes.

                            4. re: HarryK

                              While I'm not too excited about Big Daddy, I do sort of like this sentiment:

                              “I call it soul food but I try to keep things seperated [sic]. I don’t want people to think ethnic-wise that it’s black food, because every body has their own type of soul food, be it if your Italian or Irish or Asian or whatever. It’s about food that is really flavorful and something you can be proud of and it comes from your soul. And that’s how I like to cook.”

                              1. re: mhoffman

                                So it's food that:

                                1. Has flavor
                                2. You're happy with
                                3. Reflects your personality

                                Not the most original criteria; in fact, I'd be hard pressed to find ANY chef who would not say these are elements of their cooking.

                            5. Nope, not interested at all. I would have watched the other two at least a couple of times out of curiosity. I don't like his on air personality at all, and like someone else said, that name has really got to go...it keeps making me think of a bordello!

                              1. It depends on whether Maggie The Cat will visit or not. And what about Brick and Big Mama? Or Mae and Gooper?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                  Maggie the Cat is looking quite tired nowadays - it *has* been what - 50+ years? Besides, she's wheelchair bound and probably not into "big portions" anymore. ;-)

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      LOL! Well, Brick's not doing too well either, according to news reports. So consider us even.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        You're all hilarious. If FN were in on the joke, they'd have a poster from the movie over Aaron's shoulder...

                                        1. re: brendastarlet

                                          They're not that clever. Which is the reason why there are 4 RR shows, and 5 about how candy is made, etc. :-)

                                2. Purely out of curiousity, Ill give the guy a chance- wanted him to win but dont think he deserved it.

                                  Food should be interesting but I find it hard to understand what he is saying. Not trying to be mean, but we may need subtitles.

                                  To be fair, I thought I would hate Guy Fieri but I find his shows real entertaining for the most part.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yankeefan

                                    I totally agree. The three of them were okay (food-wise and camera-wise) but there was nothing compelling about them that would make me watch them weekly.

                                    I hate Guy's cooking and DDD shows (too greasy) but at least he has a quick, funny wit.

                                  2. So Aaron hopes to "teach people you can flavor your food and you can have big portions and you can enjoy it with your family.” (thanks for your link HarryK)

                                    Well, since I already know how to flavor my food, and since we're eating smaller portions these days in an effort to be a bit healthier and leaner, and since I already enjoy food with family and friends I don't see any need to watch.

                                    I really don't understand the point of his show. This premise sounds as ridiculous as "real food for real people". However, I'm sure they'll be folks who enjoy it and I wish him luck.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Axalady

                                      Your welcome! And yeah, you know, I like Aaron's personality, but between Flay, Fieri and Deen ... the first two have big and bold covered already and Deen has the big (if not so often the bold) covered. Not really sure what if anything different he's going to add to the food mix on FN.

                                      Why doesn't that Network (I know, I'm preaching to the choir) have Cat Cora or Michael Psilakis do Greek? David Chang do Asian? Norman van Aken do Carib.... Oh, wait, yeah, that's what The Martha Stewart Show is for. Nevermind! :-)

                                    2. I'll watch it, I don't know that I'll continue to, but I liked him on TNFNS

                                      1. I gotta say, I hear you all about the big portions. Let's add this up.

                                        Paula Deen
                                        Guy Fieri (and his Big Bite)
                                        Deen's Two Sons
                                        Now Aaron.

                                        And sometimes Rachael does big portions and sometimes the Neelys.

                                        As several of you said, the thing today is (outside of FN) to eat less and leaner and healthier. So if the list above is roughly half of the Food Network cooks/hosts. And the only one they have on their lineup that consistantly does lean and healthy is Ellie Krieger. It sure seems that between Burger King and Food Network, the two of them have the "give obesity a try" market locked up.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: HarryK

                                          well at least bk is offering apple "fries". and please don't malign my whopper junior, with extra pickles and onions!

                                          speaking of bk, has everyone seen the new ad featuring the apple "fries" with the junior version of the king? "prince"? looks like his dad! scary. with a human mother, no less!

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            LOL! Nah, and BK does have the best fries. And while I prefer a Wendy's burger to a BK burger, I'll take the flame broiled one over a MickeyD's any day. (Oh Lordy, we're talking fast food now!)

                                            But I remember a year or two ago when BK brought out this breakfast collesterole fest thing with four eggs slopping over it and buttered roll or something. Looking at it and I went up 50 points. Refused to order one.

                                            How do they do those apple fries? Fresh apple slices right? I guess it marinates in lemon juice or worse, some chemical so they keep looking like apples? Not sure if I want to know.

                                            1. re: HarryK

                                              i just want to be sure that the little hybrid "prince" with the big ole plastic head stays away from my junior whopper.

                                          2. re: HarryK

                                            Giada comes down in the middle: some of her dishes are super rich, but she also does healthyish menus, too. (And you know she only eats that one bite, because she's tiny!)

                                            Honestly, Aaron's concept seems rooted in a bygone era...

                                            1. re: brendastarlet

                                              Agree. Giada can come down on a bit rich, then switch back to quite healthy. Which is a good straddle. Probably more like I eat. A little bit too rich one day, and make up for it with fish or salad the next day.

                                              Plus you gotta have that once a month or every two months BBQ ribs or chocolate lava cake binge, right? hehe

                                            2. re: HarryK

                                              I'm wondering why this guy Aaron should have to carry the responsibility for telling us what portion sizes we should be eating. What about all the fast food places and chain restaurants that offer obscene amounts of generic tasting carbs and fat? Why not rail at them? True, the FN shows irresponsibility, and this would be pretty easy to fix. In every epsisode, Aaron could get across that *he* likes big portions but portion x is healthier eating. I imagine Aaron is doing exactly what he's being told to do. Can't blame the guy for wanting to succeed. When I saw that the producer who is responsible for Paula's Party and The Neeleys was in charge of those pilot episodes, I had a pretty good sense of what the show would be...

                                            3. Not at all. I would have watched either of the other two (or the girl and guy who went out in 4th or 5th place), but I never had a bit of interest in what he was doing. IMO, he has no charisma, no point of view, and is flatout painful to watch. As others have already pointed out, he doesn't seem to bring anything that I don't already know or can't already watch on someone else's show. The powers that be at FN really blew it this time.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: pollymerase

                                                I'm disappointed because I enjoyed Adam's premise, and would have watched it. It's fun to see him chat with viewers. The rest-- eh.

                                              2. As I've said before, his food is not really my style and doesn't really interest me. I would have preferred a show featuring the types of food that Lisa made. But I found him personable on TNFNS. I'd watch it out of morbid curiosity on Sunday and see what happens.

                                                1. If I stumble across his show I may watch for a while.

                                                  I would have never watched the crying princess Lisa's show though.

                                                  1. I think I'll watch out of pure curiosity about what his show is actually going to be like. Will he get over his nervousness? He didn't seem like a television food show star on the show to me..

                                                    1. Definitely won't watch it.

                                                      1. I'll watch the first episode out of curiosity. But I still find it hard to believe that the man who will teach us all to use spice and flavor in the kitchen didn't know what a chipotle was (in the Vegas throwdown).

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. I just watched it. Get rid of the backround music, get rid of the still shots with the camera sound and it's great. Aaron is fun to watch, he doesn't need all that extra stuff, I'd just rather watch and listen to him. His baby Justin is adorable, he reminds me of a boy version of Raven. Aaron did a great job on his first show!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: loveofcooking

                                                            I liked it too! I agree about getting rid of the music and still shots, but he came off really good. And I liked the food he cooked. It was easy but different. I plan on trying the chicken fingers! He also seemed comfortable and knowledgable in what he was doing. I will tune in next week.

                                                            1. re: loveofcooking

                                                              I also liked the show. I was surprised at how calm Aaron appeared, considering all the takes they needed for his demo show on TNFNS. The food looked great -- especially that pork sandwich -- but don't know if I would have used that same spice mixture for all of the dishes.

                                                              I agree about that toddler, Justin: he's adorable. Aaron keep talking about him and the boys, and never mentioned his wife, who was in the audience when he won. I wonder if she'll appear on the show.

                                                              I'll be watching next week!

                                                            2. Wow, I agree with you Love of Cooking.

                                                              Cant believe Im saying this, the show was pretty good- the best of the new ones if you dont count "Grill It" with Flay. A pleasant surprise.

                                                              One funny screw up though- he said dont let your kids eat the tortilla crumbs after because there is egg in there. Yeah Aaron, there was also raw chicken dipped in there.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: yankeefan

                                                                I caught that slip up too, I'm suprised they didn't edit it out. I didn't like the music and still shots and I think his food looked really greasy. I wish Lisa would have won.

                                                                1. re: porky pine

                                                                  I kind of liked the still shots, not sure why. Still cant believe how much I liked the show.

                                                                  Did the upside down bread on paninis yesterday, what a great idea with ostrich patties. Thanks Aaron for that one.

                                                                  Now, all the show needed was a tablescape.

                                                                  1. re: yankeefan

                                                                    Yeah, i kinda liked the still shots, too. Glad i'm not the only one.

                                                              2. I liked it!

                                                                Thought the inverted ciabatta on the panini grill trick was clever, and I bet the broccoli rabe addition to the panini roast pork sandwich was delicious. Both tips I'm going to try.

                                                                The dark and light tortilla chips coating on the chicken strips next to each other was attractive.

                                                                Style vs Content:

                                                                I find I learn the most from cooking shows if I approach learning from them as I did learning from lectures when in college or grad school: try to separate content from style.

                                                                ex: I have nothing in common with Guy Fieri, but his Bloody Mary flank steak recipe is the house favorite way I've prepared flank or skirt. And his presentation style is fine with me.

                                                                One of my best professors from a content standpoint had one of the worst presentation styles ever. I had to look down and just write as he lectured. If I looked up, his style was so offputting I could not focus on what he was saying. However, I realized in every lecture he made some profound connections between previous concepts.

                                                                Of course, I would not go to that much effort for a cooking show, but thankfully that's not necessary. But I'd guess that most people are much more sensitive to style differences than I am; some % of people would be sensitive to the extent where if they aren't the same age, gender, perceived income level etc of the person, they don't relate to or trust what they have to say.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: sweet100s

                                                                  Believe it or not, I learned 2 things Im going to try real soon:
                                                                  The inverted bread for the double crunch
                                                                  The chicken fingers with the two different tortillas.

                                                                  I expected the worst and got a really interesting show. He was very understandable as well, good for him.

                                                                2. I can't help it-there is something about the guy that I like and I did enjoy the show. I liked it a lot more than the premiere of Amy Finley's show last year. I never watched another episode of that.

                                                                  1. I found it ironic that after severe criticism by the judges over Aaron having turned his back to Rachel and the audience to was his hands, that FN has the audacity to give him a set where the stove, spice drawer, utensils, etc. FORCE him to keep his back turned to the camera. They should practice what they preach.

                                                                    Great show though.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Goldendog

                                                                      Was wondering about that on previews, there were so many side shots of him. Didn't get to watch new show yet, looking for repeat airtimes and found this link. But I was hoping he would be chosen over the other two. I think Big Daddy's KITCHEN is more specific and would not conjure visions of a brothel. As far as the big portions debated at top of board - cook the large portion and save half or more for other meals, I do it all the time and from restaurants I almost always have the to go box. Not a big deal really when we eat what we need and take save the rest for later. I think he will do well, we have just seen the beginnng of his talents and passion for cooking.

                                                                      1. re: Goldendog

                                                                        I think he did a fantastic job-I wouldnt be surprised if he became quite the "thing" (and I hope he does)

                                                                        I DO SO agree that having all the cooking necessities BEHIND him is pretty ridiculous, at least put the stove in the front (nice stove tho).

                                                                        Dont the Neely's also have the stove in the back?

                                                                        and yes Big Daddy's Kitchen would be a much better title, heck there are ALOT of better titles that wouldnt include Big Daddy but would still keep the "family" theme idea I am sure...oh well.

                                                                        Anyway I am impressed go Aaron ! :)

                                                                        1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                          I may be seeing things, but I think that Aaron is using the same set as the Neely's do. I remember being surprised the first time I watched the Neely's that their stove was at the back of the set, because that's absolutely not camera friendly if you're at the stove a lot. But I realized after watching a couple of times that they don't use the stove as much as other chef's do because of their focus on BBQ. Even so, it's not really the best set for Aaron given that his cooking is very stove-top intensive.

                                                                          All-in-all I thought his first show wasn't bad. I'm planning to put together this spice rub this week to try on a pork tenderloin. I also really liked the idea of the broccoli on the sandwich - I may try a variation on that this weekend.

                                                                          1. re: everydayfoodie

                                                                            You could be right - here' the Neely kitchen - does look very similar!


                                                                            1. re: everydayfoodie

                                                                              I had the same thought re: the set when I was watching it. There was a commercial for the Neely's show which looked almost identical.

                                                                        2. I enjoyed the show (and enjoyed him the Neely's show yesterday as well...if they got rid of Gina and had Pat and Aaron do a show together they'd really be onto something). Perhaps I'll be asked to turn in my screenname <g> but as a hound I prefer eating to cooking and am one of the few who seems to have no issue with the direction FN is going. For various reasons, the average American family (whoever that is <g>) probably is looking for everyday meals, etc. for the family and FN provides feasible ways to make that happen. I found this show entertaining as I do several others that are regularly bashed on this forum.

                                                                          1. The positive comments on this thread led me to watch this show before deleting if from the DVR.

                                                                            All in all, I like Aaron, but not his food. I understand that he was cooking with kids in mind, and so perhaps I can't fault him for not using more interesting flavors, but there were so many little things that turned me off.

                                                                            He used Doritos for the yellow chicken crust. Why not just use a good quality corn chip and season it yourself? Also, I imagine that refrying corn chips would cause them to absorb a lot of oil, since the moisture (water) has already been fried out of them. The choice to use corn chips was cute, but I think it was a bad choice. Also, the salad was hideous, and I would have preferred some sort of lime and oil based dressing to (ugh) peppercorn ranch.

                                                                            I'd eat the pork sandwich, but I found it uncreative. The one unique aspect of it was the inversion of the bread, but again I think this was cuteness over content. If he'd just grilled the cut side of the bread alone for a moment and then constructed a traditional sandwich, he would have gotten a similar crunch-factor with an easier to eat result.

                                                                            Also, though he warned viewers about burning the garlic, he virtually guaranteed that he'd burn it by using such a hot pan. In fact it looked as if he did burn it. He also burned the spice rub on the pork. Perhaps that was intentional, but if I were making the same dish I'd just salt the pork before searing and then rub it before roasting. All that smoked paprika turned into carbon.

                                                                            Lastly, the fries looked flaccid and greasy to me. He used a rack to cook the pork, so why not for the fries?

                                                                            I know these gripes are all pretty minor, but I have to believe it's possible to cook in a creative and fundamentally sound way while still pleasing children and FN's target audience (whoever they are). Aaron just seems like a pretty sloppy cook to me.

                                                                            27 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mhoffman

                                                                              for the homecook I thought his flavors were pretty good. How many FN viewers would reach for the smoked paprika? I think a show like this gives people a little encouragement to try some new flavors. I made his seasoning last night after watching the show and thought it was really good. I tossed it with some summer squash and roasted it. I cook all the time and this was a nice, big, bold flavor. He definitely had some good ideas.

                                                                              1. re: mhoffman

                                                                                I'm in agreement with you mhoffman on all points. The nacho cheese Doritos on the chicken tenders? It made me a little queasy imagining what it would taste like, and I'll generally eat anything. Ditto the fries, they looked way oily (boy, I'm starting to sound like Akiko Katayama, ;-) ).

                                                                                1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                  About the Doritos on the tenders, my first inclination is to go "bleh!"

                                                                                  That said, I've noticed over the last year or so on various cooking shows (and I mean the one's with the good cooks and the true chefs, not talking about the home cooks that will mix any and every old slop together), seems I've heard surprising praise for such things as making crumb coatings out of potato chips, corn flakes and saltines. Not only coatings but filler for meatballs or crab cakes or whatever too.

                                                                                  So in light of that, hmm, maybe Doritos works afterall. So I'll try and hold back my reflexive nay-saying until I actually get to try some of these. Probably they work quite well.

                                                                                  1. re: HarryK

                                                                                    It was mostly the crap flavoring ingredients on Doritos, and not the usage of a snack food, that I was objecting to.

                                                                                    1. re: HarryK

                                                                                      I'm totally with you on the potato chips, saltines, etc. for crumb coatings. My uneasiness with the Doritos coating, like mhoffman has already noted, is the "nacho cheese" flavoring component. I also suspect that upon being exposed to the high temperature fat the flavors might get somewhat acrid (normally these flavor powders are added after the chips are cooked.) I would be totally willing to give unflavored tortilla chips a try for a crumb coating.

                                                                                      1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                        I agree with you both. There's not a whole lot of "natural" ingredients in those puppies.

                                                                                  2. re: mhoffman

                                                                                    Aaron said he was cooking with kids in mind, but if so, why put those jalapenos on the salad? He said the kids could pick them off, if they wanted. And then what, have jalapeno juice on their hands?

                                                                                    1. re: lscanlon

                                                                                      I think that some of you are overthinking a lot of this ...

                                                                                        1. re: mhoffman

                                                                                          Because people are getting so specific about "his food" ...

                                                                                          1) In a lot of cases I'd suspect that it's not even "their food" and that TFN is supplying them with a lot of this stuff

                                                                                          2) It's a television show. You either like it or you don't. People don't need to analyze any greater meanings re: "the obesity epidemic", what ingredients are used, etc. At the end of the day, the show is intended to be mass market entertainment more than anything else - a lot of people on this site seem to regularly forget that fact when dealing w/ food oriented shows (*especially* the reality shows).

                                                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                                                            You are touching on a very good point. I wonder what percentage of viewers actually cook the recipes, or cook at all. I have several friends who are avid watchers of TFN, and hardly ever cook. It's entertainment first and foremost. Most people don't go running out to perform karaoke after watching American Idol either.

                                                                                            1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                                                              I'll admit that I rarely cook (for various reasons, although I do enjoy it when I do) but I watch a ton of cooking shows.

                                                                                            2. re: jgg13

                                                                                              (1) Yes, of course. "His food" is merely a necessary shorthand for "the food he cooked." I don't see how this bears on the quality of the food and the cooking, which is what we are (or at least I am) discussing.

                                                                                              (2) Forgive me for wanting more from television. It's possible to make a cooking show that is informative and entertaining at the same time.

                                                                                              1. re: mhoffman

                                                                                                1) And yet, people are dissing "his food" without even having tried it - some with merit (the burning of the garlic) and some without (people knocking the doritos based purely on dislike of "junk food").

                                                                                                2) It might be possible, but at the very least TFN has decided that it isn't what brings in the dollars - and that's what matters. If you want more substance and less entertainment, PBS is a better option.

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              I also agree-- people are being awfully micro-analytical about this guy's first show. For his first time at bat I think he hit a home run.

                                                                                              1. re: Goldendog

                                                                                                Since I hate when people just flatly say things such as "I don't like the food by/at X," I decided to offer up some specifics about WHY I don''t like Aaron's food.

                                                                                                If that's "overthinking," then count me as a proud overthinker. There's nothing wrong with analysis. Analysis makes for interesting conversation.

                                                                                                For those of you who disagree, let me rephrase: Aaron GOOD; Aaron's food BAD.

                                                                                                Pass the twice-fried Doritos.

                                                                                                1. re: mhoffman


                                                                                                  I thought those dorito/chicken things were a good idea. To each their own or maybe Im a dope for not thinking of it before.

                                                                                                  But to say I actually learned something new from a FN show outside of Good Eats is surprising- but that upside down thing on the breads for the pressed sandwiches was a really good idea.

                                                                                                  Im almost the opposite- Im not particularly a fan of his but am becoming moreso after that episode but so far, I am a big fan of his food and his show.

                                                                                            2. re: lscanlon

                                                                                              With kids in mind, why put a ton of red peppers in the oil with the greens?!

                                                                                              1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                Why not? Peppers - both sweet and hot - served with greens is a southern dish.

                                                                                              2. re: lscanlon

                                                                                                Depends on the kid. I was eating pickled jalapeno slices with a spoon by the time I was in kindergarten. As for the horrors of having "jalapeno juice" on their hands -- it's vinegar. I'm not seeing what's so scary about that.

                                                                                                Also: it's a "ton" of red BELL peppers that have been roasted: they're sweet and delicious and not something most kids would be troubled by.

                                                                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                  Barmy wrote:

                                                                                                  <<As for the horrors of having "jalapeno juice" on their hands -- it's vinegar. I'm not seeing what's so scary about that.>>

                                                                                                  It's vinegar, but it's picked up the heat of the jalapeno. What if the kid rubs his eyes with that on his fingers. I'm not trying to make a big deal out of this jalapeno thing, but as a parent, I just couldn't believe he was adding them to a "kid-friendly" dish. Now, if he had said, "My kids just love jalapenos," that would be different.

                                                                                                  1. re: lscanlon

                                                                                                    He said he put them on top so they could be removed easily if a child didn't want them. I agree with the poster who thinks you are overthinking it.

                                                                                                    1. re: lscanlon

                                                                                                      "It's vinegar, but it's picked up the heat of the jalapeno. What if the kid rubs his eyes with that on his fingers."

                                                                                                      Well, obviously, he'll be blinded for life.

                                                                                                      Seriously, it would sting a bit, but not notably more than it would if the kid had the vinegar from a jar of dill pickle chips on his fingers. I don't know if you have much experience with the type of jarred pickled jalapeno that was being used, but they're not outrageously hot. It's not like the kid would have Tabasco on his fingers or anything like that.

                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                        I would think that the acidity would hurt more than the heat of the capsaicin

                                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                          Exactly! Getting vinegar in your eyes will sting a bit, but I don't see people saying that little kids shouldn't eat pickles because of it. Heck, little kids LOVE pickles!

                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                            You might be surprised.... I know a number of children who like spicy foods and would love jalapenos in a dish. Particularly children of ethnic backgrounds where the traditional food is quite spicy. Their litle tastebuds are very accustomed to strong flavors and enjoy them.

                                                                                              3. I watched part of this, but switched to a ball game. I wasn't all that thrilled with eithe rof the 3 finalists, but glad Lisa didn't make the cut. I don't think I'd be able to stand 30 seconds of that squinty smile much less the condescending tone. However, her food did carry an interest. I'm wondering if there was some technicality that pushed the final vote to Aaron over the other 2. I recall that the judges mentioned more than once the need to start taping the show the next day. Perhaps Aaron was the only one who could commit to that. I also get he feeling that they taped all the shows in rather quick sessions. Seems to me that TFN just wanted to get the entire series production over with as quickly as possible. Maybe it won't be back.

                                                                                                1. i dvr'd it, and finally go around to watching part of it last night but didn't make it all the way through. i definitely don't want to slam aaron...it's no secret that i didn't think he deserved to win, but what's done is done and i'm not going to begrudge him his victory. i'd like to see him succeed, he seems like a good guy, and hasn't had an easy life. but based on what i've seen so far, i just can't get behind this show. his technique needs serious improvement, and some of the information he offered was flat-out inaccurate.

                                                                                                  the doritos - i get the idea of using chips for a crispy coating, i've used tortilla chips & cornflakes myself. but if you're going to the trouble of making a home-cooked meal for your kids, the least you can do is use ingredients that are more nutritious than the packaged, processed junk food they cram into their mouths when there's *not* a decent meal around.

                                                                                                  his story about how the salad was created - his son wanted chicken fingers, but aaron said that wasn't *okay* for dinner. why? if he meant it from a nutritional perspective, he really missed the boat on this one. tossing it onto a salad laden with cheese, avocado, and bottled ranch dressing doesn't magically transform deep-fried chicken into a healthful meal.

                                                                                                  regarding his technique, the exterior of that "seared" pork was clearly burnt to a crisp. and any amateur cook who tries to do the garlic & red pepper flakes the way he did over such high heat will most likely end up with a bitter mess on their hands. but what really made me sit up & wonder if he actually knows what the heck he's doing was that comment about the oil evaporating during frying. yes, oil contains volatile compounds that evaporate. but it occurs slowly, and certainly not at appreciable volumes during such a short cooking period. when you're frying food and you notice that a lot of the oil has *disappeared* from the pan, that's not because it evaporated, it's because the FOOD ABSORBED IT. and if your food is absorbing that much oil, you need to adjust the temperature.

                                                                                                  like other posters, i noticed his comment about the raw egg in the chips...but i'm willing to let him slide on that one because i have the feeling he was just trying to get all his information out and didn't realize that he left out the very important fact that raw chicken is actually a much graver concern. the producers really should have caught that one.

                                                                                                  as i said in the beginning of this post, i really want to see him do well...but i think he has a VERY long way to go.

                                                                                                  1. It's amazing that in this day and age there are so many people that aren't happy. I WISH I had a show on the Food Network. Then I guess you could tear me down too, then.

                                                                                                    Oh well, I plan on watching his show each and every time it airs. And if I like a recipe I will tailor to the proper size proportions to fit my family. Because in the end that is what cooking is all about. SUGGESTIONS ; )

                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: accntggeek

                                                                                                      It's amazing that in this day and age there are so many people that aren't happy. I WISH I had a show on the Food Network. Then I guess you could tear me down too, then.

                                                                                                      Oh well, I plan on watching his show each and every time it airs. And if I like a recipe I will tailor to the proper size proportions to fit my family. Because in the end that is what cooking is all about. SUGGESTIONS ; )


                                                                                                      I completely agree accnt.

                                                                                                      re: suggestions, I have seen tv food programs use smoked paprika quite alot but never felt the need to to try it, I am glad I did and it is due to Aaron's show.

                                                                                                      I wish him all kinds of luck :)

                                                                                                      1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                        AFAIK, Aaron is also the first TV cook to use grapeseed oil.

                                                                                                        1. re: lscanlon

                                                                                                          Aaron's not the first TV cook to use it - Lidia Bastianich & Ming Tsai both use grapeseed oil.

                                                                                                          but he may turn out to be the first FN personality to use it on a regular basis. i've seen Giada & Emeril each use it once or twice, but it's certainly not a go-to ingredient for either of them. [actually, Robert Irvine uses it in the majority of his recipes that require oil, but you wouldn't know unless you looked them up online because he never really breaks them down on Dinner:Impossible.]

                                                                                                          i wish more of them would use it. maybe Aaron will start a trend...

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            I watched it on Sunday. I couldn't make it through the show. Aaron seemed way too charged up for me, i.e. kissing the raw steaks, and his lack of a mise en place was driving me nuts. I realize he's not a French-trained chef, but surely there is a production assistant at FN who could measure out his ingredents for him ahead of time.

                                                                                                            1. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                              I did watch the whole thing to see if I liked him anymore than last week - I didn't. He does seem a bit overhyped. And the kissing of the steaks kinda skeeved me out. Then again, he was the only one eating it.

                                                                                                              And his recipe for potatoes au gratin? American cheese? (the FN recipe calls for "grated American cheese" whereas he just lopped the two slices into the cheese sauce.)

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                i'm glad you two reported back. i had considered giving it another shot to see if last week was just a case of "opening day jitters" or something, but it doesn't sound like i missed anything. it'll be interesting to see if the show makes it past the preliminary 6 episodes, and if so, what changes FN does [or doesn't] make to it going forward.

                                                                                                                the steak-kissing thing would have skeeved me out too.

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit


                                                                                                                  agree to all of your points. Liked him far better in the first week. The kissing of the steak was unescessary. I thought this episode was sloppy and he was becoming a bit more over the top like the Anne Burrel woman.

                                                                                                                  1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                                    And while Anne Burrell can be over the top as well, I don't mind it as much. And I've learned a bit from her whereas Aaron's stuff is basic (to me). Different levels of cooking, I guess.

                                                                                                                    Also - your comment 'liked him far better in the first week" got me thinking - as the shows are being taped, are TPTB at TFN encouraging him to be more over the top, a la Paula Deen, Rachael or the Neelys, to "fit in" with the other over-the-top personalities? Quite possibly.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Linda, actually Aaron was a guest cook on the Neely's this past weekend. I like his cooking in the Bourdain sense of "I would eat his food". But that's nothing spectacular is it? One would hope one could and would want to eat a TV cook's food. Likewise though, while it's fine enough I doubt I'll learn anything new from him.

                                                                                                                      1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                        Actually, wasn't he a guest cook on last weekend's show - the day his own show premiered?

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          No idea. It's possible the show I saw was a rerun. Thought it was a new one. Dunno.

                                                                                                                2. re: brendastarlet

                                                                                                                  I would bet very good money that his "lack of mise en place" was due to either his own personal desire or even more likely someone at FN who decided to go that route. Come on, this is TV. It isn't like he rolled on the set one day and decided to bust out cooking - *everything* about it's production was preplanned, so even if something appears to be non-preplanned, that is purely by design.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                    i have to agree with jgg on this one. while some viewers may not like to see a TV personality cook that way, it seems that many of them - particularly on FN - do. in fact, i think the ones who do have everything laid out & prepped are the exception rather than the rule. hosts are always pulling random ingredients out of cabinets or the refrigerator.

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      He's a regular guy, not a master-chef... and how many home cooks (who are NOT aspiring chefs but just want to put something edible on the table) take the time to prep every single ingredient before they start cooking? I know I don't!
                                                                                                                      I saw about half of this weeks ep and it seemed perfectly adequate to me... but I don't feel any driving urge to watch it again, because it's just like every other cooking show on the network and he's not doing anything different or exciting. Just how many times do we NEED somebody to show us how to grill a steak?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                        Kajikit, i think you may have misunderstood [my bad, because i just re-read my post & it was confusing - sorry.] i meant that i agreed with jgg's contention that we *shouldn't* expect every TV cook to have a pristine mise en place laid out on the set at the beginning of the show.

                                                                                                        2. I think that the reason people are being so analytical about this is b/c FN opens themselves up to it by so clearly trying to pander to "what sells" and creating a mega star than actually putting anyone on TV that has anything real or imaginative to say. The NFNS felt like a "who can we package" show, instead of a "who has something interesting to teach/cook" show.

                                                                                                          The whole enterprise has become superficial and caters to people who like to watch shows about cooking, but not cook. I know this has all been said before, but I think the discussion here is partly an analysis of the watchers of NFNS being complicit to some degree in the choosing of Aaron, and the rise of 'food stars' in general.