I can hardly believe it, but today is my 6th blogiversary.
My favorite part? All the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s also great that I have a place to praise what I like and denounce what I don’t about the Food Network specifically, and other food related goings-on generally.
I was looking back to my first post ever, which was about Giada. Aside from seeming to yell a bit (sorry, I was just being enthusiastic!), there isn’t too much I would change (although I’m not saying I didn’t move around a word or two…). It got me thinking about how the world of food has changed in the last six years and how (or if) the Food Network has reflected those changes.
Both good things AND less hopeful trends are in evidence. Michael Pollan’s 2008 book, In Defense Of Food, sparked a huge dialogue about our modern diet. My favorite takeaway from his book – eat the diet our grandparents ate and we’ll probably be okay.
I’m actually talking about MY generation’s grandparents. My kids have to go back another generation. The 60’s and 70’s were the time of Minute Rice, condensed soup and squeezable margarine. (I’m just remembering my sainted mother’s refrigerator.)
Another great thing - the First Lady’s garden. The world of organics and locally sourced food has become a huge part of our food world today. But, at the same time, search the inside aisles of any supermarket and you will find “food” as far from fresh as possible.
Just think about potatoes. Of course you can buy REAL potatoes OR you can find them powdered, freeze-dried, already or partially cooked, mashed and flavored, frozen, in a box, in a bag or in a plastic container. Doesn’t that tell us something (really awful) about how we eat and how we (don’t) cook?
Is it that people don’t think they have the time, the money or the know-how to convert real potatoes into something to put on the dinner table? Could the Food Network have a place in this conversation? Of course. They have a dinner under $10 show and a magazine packed with recipes requiring mostly basic skill levels; they sell pots and pans and they have a website with (surprisingly, only) 5384 potato recipes. (But I guess that’s enough to get started.)
Some of those recipes use processed potatoes. Ugh! Unfortunately, the Food Network is only demonstrating what’s going on in society and I suppose we should be glad that the one thing we won't find on that channel is violence…although seeing a recipe for maraschino cherries covered in chocolate is enough to make me want to throw a few punches.
Food is inspiring the same level of discussion as other hot button topics in society. Should a well-meaning mayor limit the amount of garbage that can be sold at one time in a soda cup? I don't think it's a bad idea, but sometimes I think just having the conversation marks us as being part of the group that has the time, money and, most of all, leisure to worry about it all. Many people are just trying to feed themselves and their families as cheaply and expeditiously as possible.