Once people find out that you have a passion, they always want to bring you little bits to show that they share your interests. In cooking, it usually means they hope you will make samples and ask them to taste test.
Recently, my hubby brought home a set of DVDs for me to watch. The gal in this show was definitely not ready for prime time. She was in her fifties and wore horrible uniform-like outfits. She was a sloppy cook. Stuff was slopped everywhere, sometimes she would just toss equipment into a trash can when she was done with it. The production values of the show were awful as well. It looked like it was all done in one cut and a bad one at that. However, the food she prepared was really great. She was an advocate of actually making items from scratch, using fresh ingredients. She obviously loved what she was doing.
So who was this cook- this woman who put substance over style? Julia Child, of course. If Julia auditioned for a television show today, Food Network would have tossed out her tape with the rest of the slush pile. I can see the producers’ comment cards now. "Needs to loose some weight. Audiences don’t like fat chicks. And that hair! She looks like Wilma Flintstone, for God’s sake! What about that voice – maybe she should quit impersonating Katherine Hepburn." I wonder what the producers would have made of James Beard. He was definitely another person who would not fit into the sanitized vision of the American cooking scene. Hell, they wouldn’t even have let him in the studio.
When Food Network cut Sara Moulton out of the scene, they were sending a pretty clear message to me: Style over Substance. Got a fad? We’ll bite! A festival? We’ll be there! Got a nice smile and a good stage presence? Have we got a job for you! Can’t cook? That’s ok - we got a kitchen full of faceless pros to back you up. They will never be famous and all they can do is cook.
So now the airwaves are filling up with hip styles and pretty faces. Let’s take a look at one of the hot ones. Everyone’s favorite, Rachel Ray.
So what does Rachel Ray, the new darling of Food TV, owe her fame to? While her family has a background in restaurants, Rachel’s resume is mostly about her career as a manager and a food buyer. 30 Minute Meals was created to sell more products, not to share her love of food. Think I am bashing your darling Ray-ray? Check out the bio on the Food Network website. It’s all right there on public display. Rachel is a business person first, and a food person second…or third.
I am sorry to be bashing Rachel. I am sure she is a wonderful person. She may even have saved a drowning puppy at one time. But to her, food is not a matter of love, but a vehicle to success. If Rachel’s parents had run a beauty parlor, she would have probably been selling her own line of cosmetics on QVC instead, and quite successful at it.
Personally, I would rather read a hundred blog entries with all their typing errors, and unlovely food photos, because they are written by people who really truly love food and all that pertains to it. They do it for love, not for a dollar. It’s great that some of them will eventually make money doing something they love. I wish we all could. But you don’t sell your love for money. There is a word for that.