What's on your TV?

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.


Fiber said...

I have to agree with that. Rachael Ray could sell ketchup popsicles to a woman in white gloves.
But she's definitely what I consider at true foodie.

Rosie said...

So Fiber,

What is your definition of a "true foodie"? It might make an interresting entry!


Raspil said...

this my first time at your site. what an entry! i'll be back for sure.

and Rachael Ray is not a foodie. she's a prop. she's a typing monkey. and if you're a foodie, she's a joke.

Kit Pollard said...

Rosie, I couldn't agree with you more. While I'm also sure Rach is very sweet, the mere sound of her voice makes me wince. And yet she's gaining momentum, what with the magazine added to her empire. Just yesterday, a friend said to me, "Is Rach the new Martha?"

All I could say is, "I hope not. At least Martha, for all her faults, can do some things that are beyond my skill level. Rachael is just as mediocre as I am."

Love your blog, though!

Anthony said...

Hi rosie, it was nice to read the last lines...

Rosie said...

Hi Kit - Thanks for visiting!
I read your entry on your blog and you hit the nail on the head!

Anthony -

I think blogging is a great way for all of us to share with others. I've made some great new friends in the last few months! I hope we can all grow together by showing we have more similarities than differences.

Anonymous said...

You could not be more wrong. She clearly loves her food, it may be a vehicle for success for her - but I think it is shown in the way she cooks that she is having fun and enjoying cooking.

There are so many detractors of the food network who don't realize that not only foodies watch the food network. Normal everyday people watch it as well. Every college student I know watches it. Mothers who need meal ideas watch it as well.

I don't personally like some of the things on food network (i.e. Sandra Lee) or the trivia on unwrapped; however, there is an audience for all of those things.

Rosie said...

Hey anonymous,

Regardless of the tone of my posts, I always take credit for them. I ask that everyone else do the same.


WittyOne said...

Now, what oes it say about me that I knew it was Julia you were talking about right off? No one quite like her, that's for certain.

I'll hold out of the Rachael Ray debate. Her schtick has gotten a little old for me these days, with all her flailing around. The earlier shows were better and she had better ideas. Now, it's just a mad rush to get something thrown on a plate (burgers, anyone?) and it's just not the same.

But boy, do I miss Julia.

By the way, can I say that the image verification thing is damned hard for me to read?

Sarah said...

Aaaaargh...Rachael Ray! I am certainly NOT a fan. My foodie friends and I poke fun at her on a regular basis. I agree with your comments. I am shocked about her success...just how many shows does that woman have on the Food Network anyway? I realize there IS an audience out there, but 30 minute meals is bad enough. I catch about 3 minutes of her meals (just enough time to catch a dorky laugh and a corny line here and there) and then it's on to the next show.

Ashwini said...

Hi, first time on your blog. Excellent write up. I agree with you on Rachel. I didnt have food network earlier and everytime I went to Borders/ Barnes I saw her book first. It was Rachel this and Rachel that. Then Oprah jumped on the bandwagon. So when I finally got Food network, here is the episode I saw. Rachel making grilled sandwiches. Duh?!

Nupur said...

Very well-written post! I so agree with you...and love your comments about bloggers. especially in light of the blogger-disparaging "food and wine" article that just came out.

Rosie said...

Thanks Nupur! I wasn't aware that food and wine had tried to trash us bloggers.I knew there was a reason I never liked them. Fooey! They are off my cookie list next year!

Barbara Fisher said...

Hey, Rosie!

Nice to "meet" you--I'm a blogger from Athens, Ohio, but I used to be in Pataskala, quite close to Columbus! (Where I just was yesterday, shopping for food all day....)

Anyway--I got those DVD sets, too, and I love watching them. I grew up with Julia on television, and you are right--she would so not be on the tube today. Which is a shame, since she was a pioneer of cooking on TV and was great fun to watch, as well as educational.