Food Network is at It Again

It’s been all over the food blogosphere and several wire services, but in case you’ve missed what Eater SF calls the Death of Society:

The Food Network is getting into the competitive eating genre with a new series, tentatively titled “Eat the Clock.”

The show is described as a cross between an eating competition and “The Amazing Race.” Two teams of contestants rush to various Los Angeles eateries and gorge themselves in face-stuffing challenges.

Reuters, Monday, August 18, 2008

Interesting timing if you ask me with only 11 days until the ultimate celebration of the appreciation of food, Slow Food Nation ’08.

I would like to sample whatever the head honchos are smoking or drinking at insult our intelligence central, aka The Food Network (TFN). A TV producer friend called it “failing up” or in this case “failing sideways”. The geniuses at Spike TV who decided to air a series of Major League Eating events and their counterparts from ESPN who aired competitive eating events like Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest must have taken jobs at TFN.

What exactly is The Food Network supposed to be? Are we teaching the audience about food? Or are we teaching them to worship at the feet of a culinary star? Are we showing that an ordinary home cook should be teaching other ordinary home cooks? Or is it simply entertainment for entertainments sake. I’m certain the executives would say that they are trying to offer a smorgasbord, a little bite of something for everyone. There actually may be some good stuff to watch, but you have to dodge the dreck and turn off your intelligence.

Competitive eating isn’t about culinary enjoyment, it’s about consumption. Participants are there for free food, five minutes of fame and probably indigestion. We can chalk up another blown chance for TFN to further the culinary arts and hold high the banner of sustainability.

Julia Child must be turning over in her grave.

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