Taking quality down a notch


Bam! Emeril Leaves Food Network (mediabistro.com)

I had heard a while ago that Emeril had planned to leave Food Network, or at least discontinue Emeril Live, and I’ve been pained to see Food Network begin to transition to Alton Brown as the "face" of the network. I haven’t watched Emeril regularly since before the fire, but back when I first got DirecTV in the late 90’s Emeril Live was probably the show I watched the most back then. Mom owns several of his cookbooks, and my world-famous brownies are pretty much a slight tweak of one of his recipes. I haven’t watched Emeril on a regular basis for several years now, although that’s more due to lack of time than lack of interest, but this news kind of saddens me.

It should go without saying that I’m not happy with Alton being promoted to the network’s most promoted star. I disliked Good Eats from the very first episode, and I think Alton himself is, pardon my language, a smug jackass. I can’t stand how Alton thinks he knows the only "right" way to cook everything, and how he presents himself as the Goddess’s own gift to cooking and television. I understand how shows like Mythbusters are hot properties these days (and that’s one show I haven’t been catching enough of lately), but at least Mythbusters is informative and entertaining. I usually catch at least one absurdly incorrect statement or atrocious recipe on every episode of Good Eats I’m forced to suffer through (it would figure that everyone else in the house is a big fan of the show), and I shudder at how Alton could possibly consider his awful puns to be anything even approaching entertainment. I can’t figure out how Food Network could basically build itself on the back of a goofy, fun-loving chef who always reminds his audience that good cooking "isn’t rocket science," and has now turned around and made a conceited jerk who turns everything into rocket science its primary star. Don’t even ask me what I think of Iron Chef America, seriously.

Funnily enough, though, the one cooking show I have been catching on a regular basis is also from another former Food Network star. I had heard about Ming Tsai getting a PBS cooking show a while back, but it was only in the past couple of months that I found where I could watch it locally. Since it airs here early Saturday afternoons, when I have a bit of free time, I’ve been watching it regularly. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a big fan of Asian fusion cooking, and no one would ever dare to say that Ming has a larger-than-life personality built for television, but I always liked East Meets West on Food Network back in the day, and I’ve enjoyed watching Ming’s new show. If nothing else, watching Jeff Smith and Mary Ann Esposito on PBS Saturday afternoons when I was younger was what got me into cooking in the first place, so being able to watch a friendly face (and a good chef) on PBS these past few Saturdays has been nice and kind of a trip down memory lane.

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