February 9, 2007

Bourdain Fever

Anthony Bourdain (my and many others personal culinary hero) has a great post yesterday on Michael Ruhlman’s blog regarding the current state of the Food Network and its cast of stars. While I’m basically just getting in line with everyone else on the Bourdain train (Grub Street’s post and a mention from Serious Eats) I have no ego, technically no blog audience, and a huge man crush of the man of steel for the cooking world. In short, humility be damned, I’m following the crowd.

My favorite quotes:

PAULA DEEN: I’m reluctant to bash what seems to be a nice old lady. Even if her supporting cast is beginning to look like the Hills Have Eyes--and her food a True Buffet of Horrors.

GIADA: And Food Net seems more interested in her enormous head (big head equals big ratings. Really!) and her cleavage--than the fact that she’s likeable, knows what she’s doing in an Italian kitchen--and makes food you’d actually want to eat.

SANDRA LEE: A large-racked blonde repeatedly urging Afghans and angry Iraqis to stuff themselves with fatty, processed American foods might be just the weapon we need to win the war on terror.

And to show I’m not a complete misogynist:

BOBBY FLAY: He may not be Mr. Cuddlesworth, but he’s a successful businessman and a good chef--and he doesn’t, after all, need this shit.

I have one major issue though, Bourdain let’s off my archenemy Rachel Ray wayyyyy to easily. Bourdain admits that Rachel can’t cook and admits to being unable to, rather she is “selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough.” The issue I have isn’t that she can barely cook, or her annoying, ear piercing catch phrases (which have become bankable and real), but the fact that she believes that put together some ingredients is cooking. She wants cooking to be effortless and bland. As Bourdain said, Rachel reassures, “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped.”

I can put some ants in a piece of play-doh, but that doesn’t make it gourmet. In fact it gets you grounded, from 2nd to 7th grade to be exact…and all of high school. Once you go ant, you’ll never go back.

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