Thursday, June 27, 2013

Can You Out-Cook Paula Deen?!?

[Editor's Note: If you're a longtime reader, your eyes do not deceive you. I'm running this post for the 3rd time here. Because I'm lazy, because I can, and because I linked to this during yesterday's Paula Deen story. But mostly because I'm lazy. And because I can. So there.]

This is gonna sound a bit silly, but since TV really sucks, I now find myself addicted to cooking shows. Don't get me wrong: I'm definitely not a "foodie". I'm one of those "eat to live" guys, not vice versa. I can eat the exact same thing night after night, so long as it's filling and reasonably healthy. I do this all the time when I'm on the road with the Day Job.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a semi-good cook, and really just like doing it for the sense of accomplishment. I'm a master of all things grilled (ah, the modesty) and can even make a little bit of ethnic food (Indian, Caribbean). Maybe it's the Engineer in me, maybe not. I just enjoy cooking for no particular reason. And in this post-racial Paula Deen America, three shows on The Food Network have proven to be Tivo Season Pass-worthy.

Down Home With The Neelys is my favorite. It features a married couple from Memphis who happen to own a chain of BBQ restaurants. The show is entertaining, but I wouldn't eat 75% of the fat and sugar laden meals they prepare. I swear these bamas fried a freakin' garden salad!!! on one episode. That said, I find the couple's on-air banter refreshing. Seriously, how often do you see a black married couple get to carry on like this on TV? Get a room ya'll!

Big Daddy's House is another good one. Camden, NJ chef Aaron McCargo usually cooks a bit healthier fare than the Neelys, but still manages to keep it a little hood' for good measure.

Perhaps it's just the superior production quality, but both shows are head and shoulders above TV One's Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin and Livin' It Up With Patti LaBelle. Or maybe it's just me.

Everyday Italian is also good for the occasional tip. And since we're on the topic, what's with this show? I've heard of the whole "food as pRon" concept the Food Network uses to make their programming more appealing, but I always find this show a little over the top. All the soft focus lenses, the pulsating smooth jazz, the sensual lighting, the extreme closeups, and of course, Giada's ever-plunging necklines. Is this a cooking show or a SkineMax 2:00am flick?!?

Question: Can you cook? If so, what's your signature dish? Do you watch The Food Network? Is The Neely's slightly ghetto on-air act refreshing, or cringe-worthy? Is Everyday Italian "food pRon"?

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