Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Perils of Paul, Episode II: Battling the Evil Food Network

     As promised, the second episode in the continuing series, The Perils of Paul. This week, battling the evil empire, The Food Network. What? The Food Network, evil?? Sad but true. With tongue firmly in cheek, I prepare for combat.

     Personally, I don't watch. No explosions, zombies, car chases, pretty much too tame to keep me interested. Yes I have seen an episode or two of various shows but they don't really capture my attention, I'll explain later. I'm not the only person in my house and there are five televisions. Plenty of opportunity for the insidious evil to creep in.

Specialty flour

The latest of the designer salts

Duck fat

     Recognise these, your house hold may be in danger as well. Mine is littered with little (and not so little) packages of exotic salts, designer flour, I even have duck fat in my freezer. That's right, duck fat. Why? Well for duck fat confit of course. It has been taking up space for three years.

     I place the fault squarely at the feet of Iron Chef, Jamie Oliver, Nigella and all the others. Inevitably, these ingredients creep into my house after debuting on one show or another. To cook, one must have these rather exotic and might I add expensive ingredients.

    I don't care one way or the other, not my money. Here's the thing, they end up taking up valuable kitchen real estate, cupboard space. They never end up getting used. The Swan's Down flour incident did provide a laugh though.

     I use all purpose flour, for everything. I was told in no uncertain terms, by he who shall remain nameless,  Swan's Down was the sh*t when it came to cake flour. A must have. I believe Nigella boosted it, but it's not important who. The cake was made but unfortunately, didn't come with instructions about how to assemble the spring form pan the cake was to be baked in. Bottom goes in upside down, cake leaks all over the oven, Swan's Down flour never used since. "Cause of course, it's the flour's fault.

     Along with the ingredients come "authentic" preparation methods. That's how this came into my house.

A cooking implement or accident waiting to happen?

     Don't recognise a traditional coconut grating stool direct from the Philippines? How sad for you. Every household needs one, to be used once, then gather dust. "It's really hard to use", No sh*t Sherlock.

     Every meal becomes an ordeal. Each ingredient in it's own dish or container, every chopping board and mixing bowl pressed into service. Because there is that team of thousands behind the scenes, waiting to swoop in, clean up and set everything right before the next scene. Not so much, remember. Cooking bacon or sausage for breakfast now takes hours, because that's how-insert name here-does it. It brings out the flavour. Really??

     As much as I enjoy sampling different flavours and cuisines, I see no need to incorporate pig's blood, squid ink, parti coloured salt or civet crap coffee into my repertoire. I like bacon as bacon, I don't need it candied, in cookies or in cupcakes. Panini is just a grilled cheese, with an expensive panini press. You can call it charcouterie but it still makes a Ploughman's Lunch. It's all just spin.

     I miss the days of cooking with Julia Child or the Galloping Gourmet. It seemed simpler somehow. No extolling the virtues of the latest ingredient, no line of cookware to promote, no prepared line of gourmet treats. If I wanted to watch spoiled chefs behave badly, I'd go to work. I've seen a few. They are not like the majority of ones I have worked with.

      I get it, sell, sell, sell. We are a nation of consumers, they're giving us what we want. I find a lot of what I have seen to be more flash than substance, but, I'm not a regular viewer. Where are the canning shows? Where are the basics of cooking, you know, using what you have in your kitchen to make interesting, affordable meals. Showing you what the rules are before showing you, you can break them. Those are shows I'd watch. Ordinary cooks actually coping with day to day meals, on a budget. That should be the next Iron Chef challenge, a week of meals for under X amount of dollars. I'd be in front of the screen for that one.

     What's your favourite cooking show or what would you like to see on television? (Keep it cooking related LOL)

(disclaimer-Just in case you missed the "tongue firmly in cheek' reference earlier, I do not really think The Food Network is evil)    



  1. I don't need no stinkin' cooking show.....YOU are my go-to source for cooking! LOL

    don't tell mom.

  2. LOL, I won't but where do you think I go for information..... her sisters.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".