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September 2, 2015

Five Burning Questions About the Food Network

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 5th 2010 2:08PM
Whether it's 'The Barefoot Contessa' or 'Tyler's Ultimate,' there's a wide variety of food, cooking, chefs and experts on The Food Network. For the most part, the diversity is great and if you're a food fan -- a foodie -- you can watch FN for hours on end and be entertained. However, if you do watch for more than a few hours, especially the 'in the kitchen' programming which is all about creating dishes, there are some things that stand out -- five burning questions about the Food Network.

1. What's with the hygiene?
On nearly every cooking show, the food preparers -- whether they're an American Iron Chef like Bobby Flay or a restaurant owner/home cook like Paula Deen -- are obsessive about washing their hands. Any time they touch meat or chicken, there's a camera following them to the sink to wash hands with soap.

Invariably, we're reminded to switch the cutting board to avoid any cross contamination. Excellent! This is a good public service. However, how come nobody wears a hairnet? Oh sure, if that was me at home, I wouldn't be wearing a hairnet either, but have you ever been served a dish with a hair in it? It's gross. It would probably be a little weird to see actual hats or caps, but maybe Giada could opt for a pony tail?

2. Do we need that much salt and pepper?
Not a day or dish goes by on Food Network without the generous handful of salt and a few cranks of the pepper mill. Seriously, how come there's such an emphasis on salt and pepper? Flavor is important, that's understood. But overdoing salt isn't good for your health. And pepper is one of those things you can do without and never miss it. Every cook on Food Network is dedicated to the salt bowl. You know, if you took a shot every time a Food Network personality reached for the salt and pepper, you'd have a heck of a drinking game...

3. How does it taste?
When Graham Kerr used to do 'The Galloping Gourmet,' back in the 1970s, he'd end the show by bringing up an audience members to taste the food. If it wasn't good, you could see it. Well, most of the shows on Food Network don't have an audience, but the cooks themselves don't necessarily taste their dishes. Some do.

You'll often hear Guy Fieri talk about something being 'money,' but Sandra Lee seems to avoid sampling her fare (except for her cocktails). To me, when a dish is done, don't you want to see the star really taste it and show us how good it is? Haven't we been watching to see that 'yum' shot? Giada De Laurentiis is really great at the reaction shot. She loves her dishes!

4. Who's cleaning up?
Okay, it's a given that nobody wants to watch pot-washing. In fact, the punishment KP on Fox's 'Hell's Kitchen' is bad television. However, the folks on Food Network never clean up after themselves. And while that's okay, how come they're using so much equipment?

Really, these folks use every pot and pan known to man. Food processor, cutting boards, mixing bowls, food mills, pressure cookers, cast iron skillets, stove top grills... Have you ever tried to scrub a grill pan after teriyaki sauce was burned into the grooves? Alton Brown, tell me how to get that clean, will you? Just once it would be great to see a Food Network personality acknowledge the dark side of cooking is... cleaning up.

5. How much does that cost?
It's great to see Food Network shows where they use a hunk of Chateaubriand, heirloom tomatoes and truffle oil. Oh, to be able to buy a wedge of Italian cheese without thinking about the price. The high-end pantry items in a show like 'The Barefoot Contessa' are enough to make you drool. The chocolates, the liquor, the spices. And every show seems to have the herbs of all types, no matter the price.

Oh, sure, there are the cheap eat shows, the budget minded Sandra Lee and Melissa D'arbian's dinners for $10. But most programs don't mince on the expensive stuff. If you've ever tried to follow one of the Food Network recipes, you have to be well-heeled when you go to the Mega-mart.

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raphael Martinez

this is a ridiculous article. as far as some people using expensive ingredients like Ina Garten. Hello who do you think she's catering too. She constantly talks about using good ingredients and yes she is well off like Martha . . . so what . . go watch dinners under $10 then. There is a reason why FN has all different shows to cater to all different budgets and tastes. Want to get fatter go watch Paula Dean's show. .. etc.

April 11 2010 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Food would be very bland without salt and pepper. Besides, salt is also a very neccessary mineral in our diets. If you have kidney or blood pressure problems, leave it off, but as for me, food would be very boring without it. Also, what is wrong with pepper? I would hate to eat the writer of this articles' cooking...probably tastes like wall paper paste.

April 09 2010 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bryan Simon

First of all, the hygiene thing is SUPER IMPORTANT. How could you EVER complain about someone washing thier hands after handling raw meat, THATS THE POINT! This writer thinks that them not wearing a HAIRNET is more important than WASHING HANDS, who is this person.

"And pepper is one of those things you can do without and never miss it!" This is such a horribly mis-construed statement it does not even deserve an explanation much less even the mention I just gave of it. What the heck?!?!?!

Also salt in moderation is fine and it is GREAT at bringing out natural flavors, even on things such as watermelon and cream cheese(my Fave!)

How does it taste?, Whos cleaning up?, And How much does that cost? Are questions that are very often answered by the shows.

" if you do watch for more than a few hours, especially the 'in the kitchen' programming which is all about creating dishes, there are some things that stand out " Yea the thing that stands out is that this writer obviously has not watched for more than a few minutes!

Who is the writer of this article... Horrible!. It's like they just threw this together tio meet thier deadline on a story!

Hey Editor over there, take a look at this persons material. Look at all the comments posted so far. This writer is putting a bad face to your website.


April 06 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ray G

I want the 2 minutes of my life back after reading this.

April 06 2010 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I agree that the females with long hair should wear their hair up, they are probably not eating the entire dish, just those two bites. I don't want to see people do dishes, I know how to do that. The expensive ingredients on some show, like Everyday Italian, are not always two pounds of some kind of cheese, it is generally... like a half cup, you can buy smaller pieces of cheese. The only thing that has ever actually made me do a double, well maybe twelve, take was Giada's use of "Orange Blossom Water". I kid you not. The things that actually bother me about these shows is that generally speaking, a "pinch" of salt, and a pinch is a measurement, 1/8 of a teaspoon, is a handful. But also on that note, if you do not like your food that salty, hey, don't add that much. The other thing that bothers me would be the constant lack of scraping out mixing bowls and containers. That is just cash in the trash, in my family we were taught to not waste. But hey, when I make it, I will scrape my bowls better than that, that is why God made rubber scrapers after all. Though it still will make me cringe. I think that the producers and what have yous on the shows think that if you are grown up enough to use a stove, you are grown up enough to have common sense.

April 06 2010 at 4:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
montauk nellie

linda @whoanellieretro.com that is!

April 06 2010 at 4:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
montauk nellie

I worked for Ina when she owned the Barefoot Contessa near her home. (Ina, I haven't heard from you, since I opened my store)! My scrumptiuos photographs actually hung over the check out. But she hasn't ever included me in any of her projects yet?

Ina is a pleasant person, focused & hard worker with an extreme business sense & loves to cater to her friends, just as you see on the show.

But if you think that you can enjoy any of her recipes and maintain a waistline, think again.

What I'd like to see is the behind the scenes 'how to do the business'!

If you'd like to join in on a blog about my experiences with her shop and all the executive private jets I also worked on as private flight attendant, email me @ whoanellieretro.com.

April 06 2010 at 4:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, my husband watches Alton Brown all the time and on every "Good Eats" episode he EATS what he just cooked, unless some other character takes it and eats it. Has the writer never seen the program?
As for the "fat" issue, did anybody see the "Live and Let Diet" episode Alton did?

April 06 2010 at 3:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only one that does not taste the food after she makes it is Rachael Ray on "30 min meals" and also her hour long show. For her 30 min show, if she didnt "babble" SO much, she would be able to taste her food for us. I wish she could learn from Guy Fieri and not talk SO much!!!
I want to hear what she's making, but she talks NON-stop and explains every ingredient that she puts in for about 5 minutes.

April 06 2010 at 3:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This whole article is insulting to the use of common sense, find something to cover that offers some intellectual capacity please...... The food channel's actions are common sense and respectable..... what a waist of time...... I thought you had something good to write about..

April 06 2010 at 2:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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