Five Things I Learned from The Food Channel

The food channel is almost as addictive as cupcakes – I say almost because I don’t really like cupcakes. especially the modern extravaganzas covered in gooey fondant and piles of candy. Perhaps it is more like lasagna – when it is good, it is very, very good, but when it is bad, it is bollocks. But if you watch it long enough, you do learn a few things.

Would you eat this bad boy? I can hear my own bad boys yelling “Yes! Yes!”

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1: Disgusting food is very hot right now. Whether it is the biggest, greasiest, most revolting pile of deep fried crap the eye has ever beheld, or the guy on Bizarre Foods inhaling something really offal (see what I did there?) with bits of fur and claws hanging out, this is the very definition of food porn. It makes you feel dirty, queasy and desperate for a shower. It’s the Zapata moustache and tight flares of food porn. Watching huge men tucking into huge food resembles an orgy in a pig factory. Suck on those trotters! Yet it also hugely popular and won’t go away – like porn.

2: Some of the women on the Food Channel look like Stepford Wives on steroids. They have names like Giada, Tiffani and Katie Lee and are so skinny and shiny and well dressed that you can’t help wondering if there is a lot of regurgitatng going on between takes. They have frightening Hollywood hair and teeth and there are some celebrity connections – Giada is the granddaughter of Dino Di Laurentiis, Tiffani Thiessen was all over TV soaps once upon a time and Katie Lee was married to Billy Joel. They make Nigella look overfed. Are they really actually cooking and eating that food? How do they stay that spotless without an apron?

3: Aussie chefs rule. No really, forget Jamie and Gordon, the US is having a moment with Curtis Stone. His chiseled Bazza Mackenzie jaw turns up all over the place. When he’s not churning out recipes for our local Woolies, he’s making American women swoon as he leans over their culinary efforts on cooking shows. He’s their Manu Fieldel.

4: You can’t teach Americans to eat healthy food. There’s a show called Junk Food Flip, where two earnest young foodies try to emulate some disgusting deep fried concoction using substitutes like lentil fritters and millet buns. They and the demonic minds behind a burger that looks like it would have made Elvis puke (but not their customers) go head to head to see which version the great unwashed prefer. No contest really.

5: Cupcakes! There’s a show called Cupcake Challenge where contestants have to create cupcakes that make the judges drool. Then they wheel in snake-hipped Jessica Alba as one of the judges. That woman looks like she could do with a cup cake or three. One of the contestants, a well padded Latino, beams at her as if all his Christmas cupcakes have come at once. Once again we are

reminded of food as porn. An orgy of Latin loveliness and foxy fondant awaits. But would she really eat one? Desserts and cakes don’t stop at iced buns on the Food Channel. These are towering confections of cream, fondant and candies. And nobody gets fat on them except the contestants.

OK, it’s not all skinny chefs and junk food, but with the US content in particular, there is an almost gleeful approach to unhealthy cooking. The traditionally built host of Farmhouse Rules piles on the butter, sugar and cream with abandon, while contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen seem to dish up an endless parade of burgers and hot dogs. But there are real chefs heading real cooking shows like Adam Liaw’s Destinations, .Maeve O’Meara and the team from The Chef’s Line and Shane Delia. Try NITV as well, Cafe Nugini is sheer pleasure.

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