With Alton Brown officially signing off from the long-running series, “Good Eats”, this week, Food Network has finally been reduced to the steaming, wilting, nasty pile of broccoli that it has been slowly marching towards for the past few years.
For those of you who have never seen “Good Eats”, I would encourage you to check it out. The show succintly educates viewers on the science behind food, cooking, and baking, with each episode centered around a particular technique, piece of equipment, particular ingredient, or food item.
Unlike other shows on Food Network where they just walk you through a recipe (and repeat the same 5 cooking “tips” over and over that you’ve heard a thousand times and read last week in Martha Stewart Living), Brown explained the mechanics behind doing things a certain way, and in my opinion, made the casual home cook more confident in his or her abilities. Any of Brown’s recipes that I tried worked just as he described (excepting user error, of course), and any recipe that required a bit of extra effort was totally worth it.
While the end of the show’s run is certainly disappointing to its numerous fans, it’s even more disconcerting because it shows that the Food Network is continuing its death march towards fewer genuine food/cooking programs and more reality shows and competitions. Now I enjoy a good reality competition as much as the next famewhore, and admittedly, I enjoyed “Food Network Challenge”, especially the ones where they built 6-foot tall cakes. But just recently Food Network rolled out “Best in Smoke”, a limited-run show featuring “famous” smoke-grill-masters, or something like that.
Really, Food Network? REALLY? Did you learn nothing from “Cupcake Wars” (by the way, the lady who founded Sprinkles cupcakes? Kind of a snot.)
Food Network used to be the home of real, respected chefs. Now it’s just the home to a bunch of squawking, flamboyant, stereotypes who become more obnoxious with every passing season. If we don’t have the horny Neelys trying to out-Southern the Queen of Lard, Paula Deen, then we’ve got the Queen of
Cleavage Italy, Giada, trying to outclass Ina Garten and her denim shirts. And don’t forget the ongoing douche-off between Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay.
When you consider that Scripps, the Food Network’s parent company, actually launched the Cooking Channel last year, that’s basically their way of admitting that the Food Network basically has nothing to do with cooking anymore. They’re so focused on bringing personalities – and not even very good ones – that legitimate cooking knowledge, like Brown’s, is falling by the wayside. (Just to note: Alton will still be around in some hosting duties, but not, actually, you know, cooking, anymore.)