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The Pain in Spain Lies Mainly in Their Brains

Anyone catch an episode of that insipid PBS show starring Mario Batali and Gweneth Paltrow? Accompanied by some foodie friends, the two tool around Spain in search of simply sublime sustenance. My God. All these two do throughout every episode is dish out uncomfortably unclever one-liners about the life Epicurean while convening mutual admiration society suppers wherever they go.
While Paltrow annoyingly overseasons her lines in the show with the word "amazing" (contributing little more to each episode than great drinking game potential), Batali's bloated corner of the conversation goes for the verbose at every turn of the table talk, cramming cheesy puns and efforts at profundity down our throats in heaping helpings.
It's TMZ meets the FoodNetwork, plain and simple. Click.

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    1. re: MMRuth

      Same here. I find the show entertaining. I like Bittman and Batali and I think the show is beautifully shot even if there might be too much of them in the Mercedes'. It not so much a cooking show as it is a travelogue and I take it for what it is, nothing more nothing less.

      There people who were going to hate the show no matter what from the post that I saw even before the show ever aired and there are others that are disappointed that the show isn't whet they expected.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        I don't get the barrage of negative comments. How can you deride a show that seeks to educate and inspire? Sure the style is disparate from what we're used to, and the style comes off as self-indulgent. Can you imagine creating a concept for the first time in front of millions of viewers? You're sure to disappoint. Unfortunately those who enjoyed it aren't as vocal as the others.

    2. We really enjoyed it. Batali is verbose and entertaining...and they have a real passion for food. I do wish the background music wasn't so loud though.

      1. It has its ups and downs. The food is very interesting and Batali obviously knows food but man, he is verbose...but an odd kind of verbose that I can't quite figure out.

        I know he's talking for the camera but he never stops and that's a bit unnatural or it's like he drank way too much coffee.

        The revelation I had watching the empanada show was that Mario reminds me of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

        1. I find Jose Andres series Made In Spain on PBS a much more thoughtful and informative program -- both in terms of the country and its culture, and in terms of the genuine enthusiasm of Jose Andres who clearly loves his country and her food.

          1. Regardless, your title's great.

            1. "It's TMZ meets the FoodNetwork, plain and simple."

              which makes it worth watching in my book!

              1. I love, love, love grilled vegetables but watching two "celebs" stand around talking about and ultimately enjoying them did nothing for me. Now if there was smell-0-vision...maybe.....

                I was hoping for alot more information ABOUT Spain, cuisine, wine for the 1st time traveler.

                5 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  Check the Create side of PBS. Besides Jose's Made in Spain, they play other travel series that have Spain episodes. Or check the Travel Channel. Professional travel guides like Rick Steves and Rudy Maxa do a good job of introducing things like culture and cuisine. And for the odd ball stuff there is Andrew and Tony.

                  Don't forget there's a Spain and Portugal section on Chow.

                  1. re: paulj

                    paulj, I really appreciate the direction/heads up. Thanks alot.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Create is also playing Daisy Cooks. While she is New York Puerto Rican, her show (and book) has some dishes from Spain. Bittman's Best Recipes in the World had a Valencia segment (paella) on the rice episode.

                      Create cooking shows:
                      A recent Saturday, Sept 27, was Spanish themed day, with cooking, travel, cycling, and equestrian programs.

                      Looks like Bittman's program will have a number of Spain segments over the next several months
                      I just saw episode #103.

                      1. re: paulj

                        thanks again, paulj! I was not aware of Create dot com!

                        1. re: paulj

                          Daisy is VERY good, sweet, and fun...

                  2. It's one of those shows that if you are looking for 'cooking' you'll be disappointed, but if you want some of the culture behind the food with some known personality thrown in... you'll probably like it.

                    I could do without some of the inane chatter in the cars however.