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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Food TV: We Love To Hate You

Food bloggers. We are a funny and fickle bunch aren't we? We have our food opinions and we love to show them to the world. That is what blogging is about, of course, showing the world (potentially) what one thinks of anything and everything imaginable so it is not surprising to find so many bloggers passionate about food and things relating to food.

I have been a fan of
The Food Network for a long time. Much longer than I have been a fan of cooking and MUCH MUCH longer than I have been a professional pastry chef. I have seen chefs and shows come and go from the Food Network on a regular basis since I began seeing FN on cable more than (egads!) 15 years ago. Some memorable shows that I truly miss like Death By Chocolate with Marcel Desaulniers and How to Boil Water with various hosts (which I do still see pop up on the schedule occasionally) and some shows that I said "good riddance" to like: Malto Mario with guests who sat around and never said anything while Mario Batali hacked up tiny octopii to drown in cream sauce.

Prompted by a
post at Too Many Chefs, I began thinking about all of the 'celebrity chefs' that have made their way into our conversations and thought I would just mention a few of them and see what sort of response I got from readers. I began to list those I felt should be mentioned and the list grew much larger than I anticipated and so, perhaps instead of making one abbreviated post I will make this an ongoing project.

You should expect to see (and I hope you will add your thoughts on) discussions about:
Rachel Ray
Alton Brown
Jamie Oliver
Paula Deen
Tony Bourdain
Low Carb and Loving It
Cook's Magazine (America's Test Kitchen)

If you have a chef you would like to see roasted uh... skewered erm... discussed, post a comment here and I will do some research so I can look like an informed dope instead of an uninformed one.

While not a Food Network personality (yet!), Julie Powell of the Julie/Julia Project is getting a lot of notice. I saw her mentioned at
The Amateur Gourmet, Mona's Apple and via comments:
Something So Clever, Accidental Hedonist, and haverchuk to name a few.
Some of the comments I saw about
Julie's book and new blog:
The main character in the story was constantly swearing or crying. The cleanliness of the kitchen was questionable, which was making me lose my appetite for the French food being prepared. The only eggs I want to read about in a book about cooking are the kind that come from hens. I really did not want to know that the main character was able to pay off her credit cards by selling her own eggs - twice!
There were good reviews of the book as well:
Powell is a talented writer, and her blog remains one of the better examples of that medium to this day. Her writing style --- confessional, self-deprecating, occasionally rambling --- is really well-suited to the blog space, which makes the book version of her story occasionally feel like it's veering off-center. When she's hard at work in the kitchen, her writing is sharp and self-assured --- but Powell strays off-track a few too many times into less central aspects of her life (and especially her friends' lives) that, frankly, aren't that interesting. One wishes she would keep her focus on the food --- but when she does concentrate on that, Powell is so good you're ready to forgive her the errant lapses (at least until they happen again.)
Well, the reviewer gave the book 3 out of 5 stars, anyway.

She misses the whole point of blogging, to my mind - the act of sharing something important with other people. If I didn't want anyone to see or read my journal entries, I'd write them in Word or use one of those actual pencil-thingies to jot everything down, far away from the peering masses. But I *do* want to share, to dip my toe into the kitchens, the craft corners, the homes of other bloggers while laying mine a bit open as well. There's a sense of community, of shared experience, of simply getting to know other passionate people and watching along as they learn and discover. THAT's what brings me here, and what keeps me writing and photographing away on my own blog.
Sad she missed the very best part of blogging. Her loss, but all of our gain.

Nicely put, Kathy.

I admit that before today I don't recall hearing about Julie Powell and had never visited the Julie/Julia Project while it was in progress. I read her last entry written the day after Julia Childs' death and found it to be uninteresting except for the blast of cursing near the beginning. While I myself have moments when a $0nofab!tc# or a f*c& is effective in conveying a certain feeling, I don't think it should be relied upon as a writing tool. Julie obviously disagrees as her posts (and apparently her book) are reminiscent of a visit with one afflicted with
Tourette Syndrome.

This Celebrity Chef Love/Hate discussion will continue. I welcome your comments. Agree or disagree or just mention a chef you feel is important.

1 comment:

chronicler said...

Oh I don't know.I think there is a huge difference between celeb chefs. There's the star chef and then there's the chef who's a chef's chef. Take Tony Bourdain or Gordon Ramsey. These guys seem to be chef's chefs. Then you look at Flay and he's in a whole different camp. It could be that I know a little more about who the first two are vs M. Flay, whom I have seen in action once and it was pretty artificial. Kind of like THE Julia vs Julie P.

I'm one to talk though. I don't come close to any of them on the chef level so I guess I really don't have a leg to stand on here.