The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Rage against Food Network's machine?

Just taking a quick poll to see where everybody here stands on The Food Network. Lots of people who share my love of food don't like the FN. I've asked people, "So, did you watch * insert random show here *?" only to have them recoil, simultaneously fighting the urge to retch, it seems.

Well, excuse the heck outta me! I didn't know so many people felt Hollyfood has lost (or never had) its luster.

Well, you know what? I like some food stars and their overproduced "plots" and over-acted/rehearsed entrances and tasting faces. I like it when Ina has to make a fabulous lunch for the guys who are restoring a windmill. The poor fellas were clearly in dire need of mini meatloaves. And Giada's get togethers look so inviting I really want to forget it's essentially a set, with cameras, floor markers and hot lights everywhere. I want to have Alton on speed dial. And don't even get me started on Nigella. As far as I'm concerned, she invites me over to her house every weekend to show me how to make quick meals.

Now, I have my limits. I like
Paula, but I can't watch her parties. (Is it me or does her accent get thicka' when comp'ny comes ovah?) And I just never "got" Emeril. I prefer not to cook with sauce packets, so I pass on Sandra Lee. And Rachael's voice and overanimation do bad things to my chi, so...

So, am I one of a few with a soft spot for celebrity chefs? Oh well...

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at 4:23 PM Blogger Rachel said...

"Hollyfood" - Ha, very clever.

My husband and I got into the America's Next Food Network Star reality show (although Bravo's Top Chef is MUCH better), but we don't really watch cooking shows in general - nothing against the Food Network. We are addicted to HGTV, however, and watch home improvement shows like Flip this House, House Hunters and Designed to Sell with morbid fascination.

at 4:31 PM Blogger Julie said...

I like Nigella and Alton. I'll occasionally watch Ace of Cakes, and I like Iron Chef. Otherwise, I prefer Top Chef and Gordon Ramsay.

at 4:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a personal chef and menu consultant in the area I can tell you I watch very little of the food network....I do enjoy Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and Andrew Zimmerman's "Bizzare Foods" both on the Travel Channel.

at 4:40 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

Ooh! I am also a huge fan of "No Reservations" and "Bizarre Foods"! Thank goodness for DVR.

It would be cool to see how many things in Greater Cincinnati could be NR or BF worthy... I know of a restaurant that serves tongue tacos, but I guess that's not so odd, considering the stuff I've seen on those shows.

at 4:49 PM Blogger Mary said...

Well, I have that girl crush thing going on for Nigella, but I don't have cable so my food network viewing is pretty limited. Which makes it all the sweeter when I do manage to watch a show here and there at a friend's house. My fear is that if I got cable I'd do nothing but watch the Food Network and Andy Griffith reruns.

at 5:09 PM Anonymous FoodieToo said...

I really like the FN. Here's what I watch:
Iron Chef America
Throwdown with Bobby Flay
Ace of Cakes
Dinner Impossible (sometimes)

I really don't care for the "cooking" shows.

I also like the FN competitions.
When we do have the TV on at how we tend to tune to the FN because most of the shows are kid friendly (we have children).

Outside of the FN my hubby Tivo's No Reservations - but we don't watch that with the kiddos around.

at 5:52 PM Blogger Rachel said...

I totally forgot Ace of Cakes! We LOVE the show. I actually went through Charm City Cakes' gallery of cakes to get ideas on how to decorate the cake I made for the in-town informal reception my husband and I held after our destination wedding. It didn't turn out nearly as great as their cakes, of course, but I and my guests were summarily impressed nonetheless.

at 6:14 PM Anonymous Chad Edward said...

Andrew Zimmern annoys me; and, he spit-up durian in the face of a durian farmer, which also annoys me. Durian is delicious.

Bourdain is the best, but his show is beginning to parody itself. Paris and Cleveland were best because they were personal.

Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and Sandra Lee should all come with a warning: May cause vomiting and depression.

Alton Brown is genius.

I watch Nigella, but not for the food.

I can sit through Giada as long as she's in a controlled environment. Her attempt at "$40 Per Day" was embarrassing.

I respect Bobby Flay and love to see him cut himself, slip, or run the blender without a lid on "Iron Chef America".

"Iron Chef America" has got better, but still isn't as good as the original.

at 8:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really starting to hate all the FN personalities. Alton's show is the only decent one, and even he is getting to be annoying. Can't stand Bobby Flay, Giada w/ her square fake smile, Emeril, or Pawla Dee-yn. Oh, and don't even get me started on the latest "FN Star!" Retch!!!

I find Bourdain & Ramsay's shows great edutainment!

at 8:48 AM Blogger mmascolino said...

Top Chef and Good Eats are the best. Agreed with you that Rachel Ray's ever chipper demeanor just seriously bugs. On the other hand, a lot of those recipes do work so you have to give her a few props.

at 5:09 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

True, true... Rach's recipes are pretty good. Lots of 'em are real food/ingredients prepared in ways that are smart, quick and delicious. So, I have one of her cookbooks (and I'd buy more... at Half-Price) and I've uses her recipes from foodnetwork.com. But I just won't watch the show. I'm telling you. It's a chi thing... No joke. I'm sure she's basically a good person, but her voice and personality can be unnerving.

at 10:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's "chi"

at 11:11 AM Blogger Mary said...

Chi is a person's energy.

at 11:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tyler's Ultimate, Iron Chef and Throwdown are a must... Ace of Cake, the boys love...

For those not familiar with America's Test Kitchen, it's a must for best-in-class recipes and kitchen tips and equipment review (PBS)

at 12:08 PM Blogger Mary said...

Yes, and America's Test Kitchen also puts out some excellent cook books and the magazine, Cooks Illustrated. No glossy pages or ads, but excellent recipes, honest reviews of appliances and foods, and great helpful hints and techniques.

at 5:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Cooks Illustrated. It's the bomb--my husband the engineer likes it better than Alton. I too, like Rachel's recipes. I cannnot see how you stand Bizarre Foods, which reminds me of when I was in grade school and the little boys used to try to make the liitle girls sick with thie concotions.

at 6:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bizzare Foods is far from the grade school antics you compare it too....
The idea is to go into another culture and embrace their food customs, and while the McDonald saturated US culture thinks much of what is served in other cultures/counrties is gross I am sure they feel the same way about us. It's about opening your culinary mind to the possibility that there is more to the food world than what we know. Sounds like your happy with RR stoups, and sammies......

at 9:08 AM Blogger David Wells said...

I'm with Rachel on preferring Bravo's Top Chef to America's Next Food Network Star -- Survivor with really sharp knives.
Rachel is too perky, I'm surprised the makeup department doesn't put a touch of flour on her nose.
Alton is great, but I like him better on Good Eats than emceeing Iron Chef America. Iron Chef America, even with AB's overdone kibitzing, is great -- how come we don't get any local chefs to challenge? Calling Jean Robert!
But the original Iron Chef was the best -- the English voice over was the key ingredient.

at 11:46 AM Blogger WestEnder said...

I'm actually trying to develop my kitchen skills, so I like the PBS shows and "Sara's Secrets" and "Good Eats" on FN because they're the most instructive.

For entertainment I like Zimmern and Iron Chef.

And which local place serves tongue tacos? I know Izzy's has a tongue sandwich (which I like) but I don't know about the taco.

at 1:49 PM Blogger Stepf said...

La Mexicana has tongue. That's one meat I never tried. I remember a description in, I think, a Ramona Quimby book. She eats beef set before her eagerly -- until she scrapes off the gravy and sees taste buds.
Around Halloween we did a freaky foods video at Jungle Jim's. The meat and produce departments yield plenty of strange (but likely good) eats!

at 1:49 PM Blogger Nicci King said...

West Ender:

You in the mood for a lengua (tongue) taco? You can get one at Taqueria Maya.

And there is a restaurant in N. Ky. that serves them, but the name escapes me. I'll think about it and post if I remember... I've yet to try them because I think I would have an issue with the texture, but I will one day. Maybe after a margarita or three.

As far as Iron Chef goes, I love, love LOVE the original. Hiroyuki Sakai is my Iron Chef boyfriend. A lil creepy? I know. Indulge me. But Iron Chef America? Booooooo... You can have it! I want Cat Cora to uncross her arms and stop glaring at the camera... And Mario Batali? His Crocs distract me. :)

at 1:51 PM Blogger Nicci King said...


No you did not just make me have a Beverly Cleary flashback! LOL! I LOVED Ramona... :) And, yes, I remember that scene. Too funny. Ah, the memories...

at 2:14 PM Anonymous Chad Edward said...

Taqueria Mercado on Dixie Highway in Erlanger serves both tacos de tripas (tripe) and tacos de lengua.

at 2:28 PM Blogger Mary said...

There was a tongue eating scene in Judy Blume's, "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself" as well. Her aunt serves a sweet/sour tongue dish with raisins. I loved that book.

at 3:11 PM Blogger Stepf said...

I love Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary. Such great books! Anyone else remember "Freckle Juice"? There's a funny food combo!

at 11:00 AM Anonymous cincycub said...

Nope, you're not alone. I don't watch the FN as much as I used to, but I still tune in when there's nothing else good on TV and I happen to have some free time. Rachael, Alton, Ina, Giada, even Sandra for comedic value.

at 8:19 PM Blogger Schottzie03 said...

The best thing on the food network is Robin Miller's old theme song...

NFNS was a pale comparison to Top Chef...I hope they never do it again.

Top 5

Good Eats
Iron Chef
Challenge (amature ones are best)
Paula Dean
Tyler Florence

Bottom 5

Paulas Party and anything with her dimwit kids in it.
Next Food Network Star.
Anything with GuyManJewelery in it.
Dinner Imposible with its fake deadline nonsense.
And a couple of other guys who I dislike enough to never learn their names.

I'll watch just about anything on there though, especially on a lazy weekend day. Except Simply Deliciouso, because my girlfriend won't let me.

And SuperFudge was the best Judy Blume book.

at 8:39 PM Blogger Mary said...

No, Forever was the best Judy Blume book--all those sex scenes. My prudish mother took my copy from me and threw it away.

at 9:59 AM Blogger DanThoms said...

ok, so I like Iron Chef, Dinner Impossible, Feasting on Asphalt, Good Eats, and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Most of the other shows, not so much.

at 1:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Alton Brown and Tyler Florence and Ace of Cakes. Dislike Giada, Bobby Flay Ina Garten. Really can't watch Guy Fiori and his Big Bite show, Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. There is something about them that creeps me out especially Sandra Lee.

at 7:24 PM Anonymous KathyP said...

I don't know if anyone earlier commented on this, but Bourdain's No Reservations is currently running on the Travel Channel, not FN. However, I read somewhere that FN is resurrecting his old shows from his earlier affiliation with them. I seem to recall reading that he was rather miffed at that since he'd been trying to buy the rights to them for a long time. Apparently they did not part on good terms.

at 9:26 PM Blogger Jessie Cacciola said...

Thank you! I can't stand Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee...and I agree with just about everything else you said. The Food Network serves a definite purpose and I watch it avidly.
- Jessie -

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