Dear Food Network

Dear Food Network

I love you. I really do. I rarely watch TV, and when I do, it usually Food Network (unless Graham Norton is on, or there’s a new Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee). I love getting new ideas and being inspired to try new things.

That being said, I have some grievances. And while I tried to be understanding and overlook them, I realized that that’s not actually who I am. No, small annoyances become focal points and now I just can’t look away.

Here’s my Top Ten:

  1. Continually referencing which olive oil I should use at which point in a recipe. I have one kind. I use it all the time, and its almost the only oil I use. But ONE KIND. I love to cook – its one of my favorite things. And I am actually pretty darn good at it. Yet still, I do not have the mental energy available to source and maintain a multi-olive oil pantry. Besides, its not even that you reference it. Its that you reference it with the smug assumption that OF COURSE we all have a vast array of oils to choose from.


9. ‘Add lemon juice. Fresh squeezed of course.’ Subtext: ‘What kind of plebian Neanderthal are you, buying bottled lemon juice.’ Answer: smart. Because lemons cost like $.50 each and last about 5 days. A Huge bottle of lemon juice costs a few bucks and you can pass it down to your grandchildren. Sure, I’ll use fresh if I happen to have it (or if I’m making margaritas because I know right from wrong). If not- I’ll use bottled and you can keep your judgment TO YOURSELF

8. ‘Add Black Pepper – fresh ground. Always fresh ground.’ I’LL USE WHATEVER PEPPER I WANT AND I CAN’T EVEN TELL THE DIFFERENCE. Whew. Got a little shouty there. I feel better.

7. ‘Ask your fish monger . . . . ‘ Dude. I live in Iowa. Fish is purchased in the frozen section. And even when buying fresh fish (which is occasionally available at the supermarket), there is no fish monger. There’s guys at the meat counter (who are mostly also from Iowa) who aren’t going to answer your fancy ‘fish monger’ questions. And besides that – they are mostly selling stuff that was frozen and is now thaw. And now I can’t eat mussels anymore.

And while we’re at it: ‘There’s nothing like fresh shrimp, doesn’t even compare to frozen.’ Super for you. See above.

6. ‘Don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink.’ Hahahahahahahahaha. I think you are overestimating my discretion as to the quality of wine I will drink. Then, sometimes they follow it up with ‘there are plenty of good options at around $15, there’s no need to spend a ton of money.’ Ok guys, let’s get a little real here. $15 is quite a bit to spend on a bottle of wine in my world. I do pay that much on occasion, but if I am cooking, I am using this little baby.

Why? Its $5 and fits neatly in my fridge. Love it. No shame.

5. ‘This recipe is great because its things you probably have in your pantry!’ Cue the recipe, which includes lemons, limes (for fresh squeezing!), dried currants, capers, San Marzano tomatoes, three kinds of pesto, six kinds of olives, magic beans, and tahini. Guess what I have in my pantry? None of that. Now, I consider my pantry to be reasonably well stocked (ok, not right this second because its summer and the kids are home and I’m losing my mind – but usually), and not only do I not have those things on hand – I never ever purchase any of them.

4. ‘Ask your butcher. . . . ‘ Ok, around here meat is king. Specifically pork and beef. Without too much effort I could get a whole pig or a half a cow directly from the farmer. I love working with a butcher to get a huge pile of meat for my freezer. Going to get a roast cut specially, or certain kinds of steaks, etc on a weekly basis. No. I have things to do.

3. Cupcake wars. Must we really battle over baked goods? I’m just kind of sick of everything becoming a competition fight to the death. Also ‘war’? Really?

2. ‘Now I’m adding this great Manchego cheese. Its one of my favorites. . . . ‘ its also more than $17 a pound! Sheesh! Let’s be real. Cheddar, Mo-Jack, Swiss, Mozzarella. I’m not saying you can’t use other cheeses, but you gotta tell us which one of these would be the best substitute. And while we’re at it, I’m just going to go on record that I don’t need your advice on how to set up a cheese plate for my next dinner party. To date, I have never made a cheese plate, have never heard a guest wish there was a cheese plate, or longed to know how to make a cheese plate. Please note: a cheese plate is not the same as a cheese tray, which is rows of sliced cheddar, mo-jack, co-jack, and swiss. Sometimes gouda if you are going wild and showing off a bit. Served with Ritz crackers and sliced summer sausage. Those are pretty popular.

1. BUDGET SHOWS MADE BY RICH PEOPLE. Seriously. I can’t watch another ‘Budget’ episode where they teach me about how to make meatloaf. I have a rule about not rolling my eyes and you are TESTING ME. Get a real person on a real budget to consult on this. Its not that I don’t trust Geoffrey in his cashmere blazer with coordinating tie and pocket square to be on-point with budget issues . . . . (sighing loudly) . . . . but maybe someone else. And no more meatloaf.

Also, even thought I am out of numbers: Chopped. Not the show (so much), but why all the time? WHY ALL THE TIME?????? Maybe, just maybe squeeze one cooking show in on occasion????

Well, I feel better now that my grievances have been aired. Oh wait, one more thing.

Bonus: People who comment on internet recipes to ask what you can substitute for wine/liquor in the recipe. Its chicken stock. Its always chicken stock. This is what google is for. Or perhaps my favorite internet recipe comment, ‘I’m not going to make this.’ Why the actual hell did you feel the need to write that down?

Well, I suggest you all go check your pantries for capers, kumquats, and magic beans.



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