Leather Storrs: How TV Influences our Changing Food Culture
Thursday, July 02, 2015
But that guy ain’t nothing compared to THAT Guy… Fieri.
He’s a monster. A culinary Godzilla, frying everything in his path, intent on smashing things together and covering them with cheese!
Now there’s an enemy worth worrying about. He must be stopped! He is going to crumble our reputation like bacon bits!
Or maybe not.
Hating on Fieri is easier than poopooing the ‘Couv or finding a fixie.
Look chef, we get it. You make your own kimchi, grow food on your roof and your kid’s got a cleaver tattoo. You’ve worked hard to draw a clean, straight line between the source of your food and the mismatched plates on which you serve it.
You are part of the movement in our profession that features thoughtful, better educated, politically active people who are intent on showcasing their region with sustainable products and artisan techniques.
The Power of Food TV
Bully for you! But how, exactly, do you think we got from Emeril, who is an old guard, white coat, big restaurant kind of guy, to where we are now, with DIY, chef-driven houses piloted by tatted, cheese-making philosopher/butchers?
Food TV, that’s how. And old Guy, with his heavy metal bro shtick is the tsunami of food TV. He’s Nascar. Red State. He’s accessible. He’s fun.
“A rising tide lifts all boats.” The increase in attention, interest and knowledge about food, due mostly to armchair chefs, is good for all of us!
The food network helps customers learn the lingo of cuisine and it makes them interested in chefs. It makes people willing to try funky stuff and validates the increased cost of artisan items. It pays for us to go to food festivals in awful places like Hawaii and Aspen and it gets our names out there so people will buy our books.
Guy didn’t make that happen, but he sure helped. Alton Brown is nerdy. And effete. And a little snooty. Can you see him signing some woman's breasts with a sharpie?
There is a lot of dirt between here and Brooklyn, and the majority of it is planted with corn and soybeans.
The rest of the country couldn’t (and doesn’t want to) live like we do in the Northwest. Eating fussy and organic is time consuming and expensive and the only garden most folks want is the Olive one. But that doesn’t mean that things aren’t changing. Walmart sells organic food, Applebee’s is freshing up their menu and the first lady is pushing sustainability and seasonality in schools.
Guy knows you think he’s an ass, and that’s OK - turn off the TV. But realize (and hope) that some kid in Topeka is going to be spurred on to learn more about food than what she sees on “Guy+Rachel=Calories!” Understand that America’s love affair with seasonal, hand-made food is in its infancy.
We’re gonna kiss some frogs on the way, but then… let’s cook em.
Related Slideshow: Foodie Getaways in Massachusetts
Food lovers will love these destinations statewide for indulging your palate.
Vienna Historic Inn + Restaurant, Southbridge, MA
A feast for all your appetites. This historic inn is filled with old world charm, antiques, chandeliers & steins. Each room is adorned with soft music, ambience and uniqueness. You will be delighted with hard-to-find Austrian, German, Swiss, French as well local meats, seafood and vegan options. An extensive gluten-free menu available. The beer garden will be open through the end of the October.
Jewish Food Tour
Ahla Food Tours, Brookline, MA
Explore Jewish cuisine on this eye-opening 3-hour walking tour of historical Brookline and experience what TV Diner called a "fabulous Boston neighborhood tour!" and Jewish Advocate raved is "whetting the appetites of Jewish and non-Jewish diners alike". You'll taste authentic Jewish food - matzo ball soup, latkes, falafel, kosher wines, noodle kugel ice cream and dozens more. Hear unique anecdotes about the welcoming Brookline purveyors and savor the rich history of Jewish Brookline.
Blue Hills Brewery, Canton, MA
We're lucky in Massachusetts to have many microbreweries, large and small, for touring and tasting. But Blue Hills Brewery has combined its makes great tasting beers with a real educational imperative--an internship. A dream come true for beer lovers, candidates can vie for working with Blue Hills' Master Brewer Andris Veidis in a true apprenticeship. Not for the casual brewer. To learn more, check online, here. http://bluehillsbrewery.com/internship.php
Sweet Dessert Bar, Worcester, MA
A dessert lover's destination, Sweet was recently in the news for having challenged New York chef Dominique Ansel as laying claim to the invention of the cronut. Whether you're team Worcester or team NYC, enjoy Sweet's lounge chairs or sit at the bar, have a drink and watch as the chefs prepare a one of a kind dish for you. Not your average piece of cake, Sweet's appetizers and desserts are inspired by the freshest local ingredients, seasonal fruits, and artisan chocolates.
Old + New Dining
The Farm Table, Bernardston, MA
In the lush Pioneer Valley between Deerfield and the Vermont border, this remarkably restored 1800 farmhouse features cutting-edge green energy and the freshest local and regional foods seasonally available. Combine a delicious sojourn with holiday shopping at Kringle Candle and Kringle Christmas Barn.
Fried Clam Pilgrimage
Woodman's of Essex, Essex, MA
Keep summer alive year-round by making a pilgrimage to this institution that is counting down to its 100-year anniversary. Go for the fried clams, because that's what was invented here on July 3rd, 1916. Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman, at the humorous suggestion of a friend, fried up a few clams at his roadside stand in Essex, Massachusetts and the original fried clams were born.
East Dennis Oyster Farm, Cape Cod, MA
If you think oysters are a summer pleasure, you're right but you're wrong. Late October and November yield some of the best oysters, so consider bundling up and heading to the Cape for a tour of John and Stephanie Lowell's farm on the tidal flats off Quivett Neck. To make an appointment for a tour, go here.
Hit the Trail
Massachusetts Wine + Cheese Trail
A wine and cheese trail in Massachusetts? That’s right, the Bay State features 40 licensed wineries, producing wine from a collection of locally grown fruits – grapes, apples, cranberries, peaches, and blueberries – across, roughly, a total of 2,200-acres of wine farm land, where 439 acres are devoted exclusively to wine production. You can download a map and pick up the trail at any place, exploring small and pristine providers.
Wine in the City
City Wine Tours, Cambridge, MA
Want an urban oenophelia adventure? City Wine Tours is the perfect gateway to enjoying Boston's vibrant wine culture and best restaurants. Sip, savor, and explore as we take you on a walking tour through Boston's most historic neighborhoods, with stops at award-winning restaurants, luxury hotels and gourmet wine shops. Cheers.
A New Kind of Crawl
Dishcrawl Pioneer Valley, Springfield, MA
You love a pub crawl? How about a restaurant crawl? The foodies at Dishcrawl aim to provide you with Pioneer Valley's premier culinary social experience by bringing together neighborhood restaurants, local chefs, regional food producers and fellow food enthusiasts. Join for a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure! Check out next week's All Hallows Eve crawl in Amherst, MA.
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