Thursday, September 06, 2007

An Open Letter to the Food Network

Dear Food Network,
It has come to my attention that you recently fired Mario Batali, indisputably one of the best chefs on your network, while Sandra Lee's reign of terror continues unabated. This is simply unacceptable. I don't watch the Food Network to have someone tell me to sprinkle some spices on pizza crust from a can and call it naan. I'm pretty sure I could figure that one out by myself, or make actual naan with a little more effort, and for much less money. But I digress--surely there are people out there who appreciate being told how to spend half their time heating up frozen green beans, and the other half creating a "tablescape," otherwise Semi-Homemade wouldn't exist.

And I'd imagine Mario was costing you money without delivering in the ratings department, otherwise you wouldn't be cancelling his show. But isn't there something to be said for keeping a small group of talented chefs on your network, solely to maintain your reputation as a source for quality food programming? Pretty soon, you'll just be left with shows that feature deep-fried cheesecake and food prepared by racing around manically without pausing to enjoy the process, or shows that don't even have anything to do with cooking at home (I'm looking at you, every show on Food Network Nighttime).

Which, fair enough, you're not the "Cooking" Network, and you do still have Alton Brown, who is all kinds of awesome. But still, I have to wonder: if Mario Batali looked like Giada De Laurentiis (and did that crazy orgasmic moan every time he tasted a dish), would he have been given his pink slip? I'm betting not, no offense to Giada, who is certainly one of the your better chefs.

I understand that your network may be headed in a different direction, but I still think there's something to be said for the value of a cooking show featuring a great chef, even if it isn't flashy or targeted at some specific demographic. Is there no room on the Food Network for viewers who aspire to more than just weeknight meals and frozen vegetables? Sadly, it appears not. How disappointing. I'll leave Alton on my season pass, but I fear that my days of channel surfing to your network in hopes of finding something enjoyable to watch may be over.

Sincerely and disappointedly,


Dan said...

For what it's worth, he's denying the claim. Although, apparently Molto Mario has been out of production since forever.

Liz said...

Hmm...intriguing. Well, that's fair enough--I've actually been wondering what the hell happened to Molto Mario. But I still take issue with the general trend! And I won't rest until Sandra Lee and her tablescapes are vanquished!

sara said...

Heh. I've actually made naan. It did not involve pizza dough from a can.

RIP Molto Mario. Even though they quit making new episodes a few years ago, I loved it.

p.s. I came here from TiFaux. I like your blog.

Dan said...

And the quickest way to Sara's heart is to badmouth Sandra Lee.

Liz said...

Thanks, Sara! I've never made naan, but I have made chapatis, which most certainly did not involve anything from a can, and still was crazy easy and cost <$1 for flour and water. You suck, Sandra Lee.

I feel like the quickest way to anyone who actually likes food's heart should be to trash Sandra Lee. She's totally the devil.

oceanguy said...

You're a trooper for even watching Cuisine in a Can with Sandra Lee. Did she really tell us she was making naan with pizza dough? Now that's rich.

Liz said...

I know, right? I didn't even know that pizza dough CAME in a can, but leave it to Sandra Lee to find it (...and then call it naan).