The Worst Show on Food Network

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Food Network
Food Network, Food Network, Food Network, you have really lost your way.

You used to teach people how to cook; there were interesting shows like the Two Fat Ladies. Even Good Eats, the best show ever on the network, has lowered its standards and got the preachy diet message going.

You've degenerated over the years into hour after hour of boring challenge shows, like who can build the tallest cake that nobody in his right mind would want to eat or Bobby Flay's execrable "Throwdown", in which he goes around the country presuming that the preëminent food artisans of the United States got their reputations strictly through marketing and not through, you know, doing what they do well and for a long time.

 "Iron Chef" was entertaining until it was domesticated and neutered of all that made it worth watching. All those shows where you follow barbecue pitmen around and ask them the same trite questions and get the same trite answers ("Can you tell me what's in the rub?" "Sure, but then I'll have to kill you. Heh, heh, heh.") make for some really, really boring television.

You may, however, have hit a new low with "The Worst Cooks In America". It's not even that people are willing to humiliate themselves on national television for $25,000; that point has long since been conceded due to the tripe appearing on, say, CBS. It's not even the premise that chefs are going to turn people who couldn't boil water in a blast furnace into gourmet cooks in ten days' time. No, it's that this doesn't actually appear to be instructional at all. The focus is less on actually teaching these people to cook and more on the reality-show aspects of it (Bonus tip: the me-and-a-camera "confession sessions" work better with more exciting topics; whose clams didn't open is not exactly heady stuff.)

I hope that there's a lot more instruction happening behind the scenes that the cameras don't capture, because in the few episodes we've seen these people learn to make some kind of cioppino, teppanyaki and crêpes, none of which are at all useful at home. Why are these people not learning to cook eggs, grill chicken, cook vegetables that they might actually buy at home, or make pies?

That's not to say that no useful skills have been taught; seasoning is important, and tasting your food throughout its preparation is a must-do. The knife skills session was a bright spot, because most people are one startling phone ring away from an amputation, but it was too short. These were brief bright spots in what has so far been three agonizing hours of bad television.

Shame on you for this lowest-common-denominator crap. Please go back to actually teaching people to cook; concentrate on things like Good Eats (minus the preachy diet episode), Barefoot Contessa, How to Boil Water, or even Good Deal by my doppelgänger. At this point, KOCE is a better TV destination for the culinarily-illiterate than Food Network.

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