Tuesday, January 06, 2004


As I mentioned, I now get the Food Channel. Food twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It deals with all things food, but the vast majority of the shows are cooking shows. I was excited about its arrival, and I thought I would be spending a lot of time there. But surprisingly, I'm nowhere near as gaga over this channel as I thought I would be. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.

One show on the Food channel I'm glad to see is Iron Chef. This show is funny (in a badly-dubbed Japanese to English kind of way) and educational. There are 2 or 3 chefs, and they are given a single food which must be featured in every dish they cook. They have an hour to come up with as much as they can, and the dishes should be varied (appetizer, soup, main course, etc.). The first time I ever saw Iron Chef, the featured food was yogurt. This seemed to be a scandal of the highest degree because yogurt was considered to be very unusual. This was Iron Chef afterall, not Afghani Chef. But of course, the chefs managed to concoct several inventive dishes. This got me to thinking. I'd like to see a cooking match pitting Iron Chef against Yooper chef. The featured food? Beef jerky. That would be awesome.

I also got caught up in watching a Food Channel show about the manufacturing of caramel. I'm a sucker for any show that has a "how do they make it" kind of segment. Raw materials, conveyer belts, choppers, mixers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, packaging equipment. I'm telling you, factories are cool.

Two great factories (neither of which you can tour anymore) are the Kellogg Cereal factory here in the mitten, and the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, Tony the Tiger stopped their tours due to industrial espionage, which is a real shame. They used to make a big deal at the end of the tour that you had walked an entire mile (oooOOOOOooo). Now, I believe they have something called "Cereal City", but I haven't been there. I don't like cereal that much. An entire city? I can barely make it through a bowlful.

The Heineken tour, however, is awesome. First of all, it's really cheap (something ridiculous like 50 cents) and the proceeds go to charity. Like Kellogg, this isn't a factory tour either. The factory was too small for demand, so they turned it into a "Beer Museum." What's not to love here? The trick to the Heineken tour is to be in the first small tour group of a given time slot. You travel from room to room, seeing a smooth multi-media presentation about the making of beer and hearing the anguished tale of the "last male Heinekens" blah blah blah. At the end of the tour you find yourself in the beer hall. Drinking free beer. Waiting for the other groups to show up. Do you see the beauty here? Group number one gets toasted while group number six gets two sips before everybody is told to beat it (In that too much free beer bumbly-stumbly sort of way).

Obviously, I've done this tour. And more than once, I might add. The last time I went, I went twice in two days. TinyTuna's dad, me, my little brother Tuna and GramTuna in the Heineken factory. Hiccup! We were taking pictures with the bartenders, and at one point we asked the server, "how many people go on this tour and then staggered across the street and giggle at the Rembrandts?" We won points (and probably more beer) for having an original question. Feeling all warm and tingly, we thought it was the funniest thing ever uttered -- As toasted people often do.

But that's factories. I'm talking about the Food Network. I think my problem with the food network is that after awhile, cooking is a boring spectator sport. I want to touch it, smell it, cook it and eat it. But I can't do any of that when it's televised. I suppose I could lick the TV screen, but that seems to be a very poor second choice. At least with a cookbook there are pages to touch. Holding my TV would be pretty tiring. With sensory deprivation in full swing, this puts an added emphasis on the cooking host. This person better be smart and somewhat entertaining. Julia Child? Smart. Graham Kerr? Smart and Entertaining.

Hey! I wonder what they could do with Beef Jerky.

Sign My Guestbook!

No comments: