Friday, November 30, 2007

Food TeeVee

Not to be confused with Mike TeeVee (from the original "Willy Wonka"), I’m a big foodie, as anyone who sees me knows…not “Jabba The Hut” big, but a food fan for sure…

My peeps and I often talk about the shows on the Food Network. I don’t watch nearly as much TV as I used to, but I still tune into the Food Network now and then. I have my favorites, and the not so favorite, shows and hosts.

I know what I like, and I’m not afraid to tell you. While “Everyday Italian” has a couple of things I like (I’ll give you 36 guesses), I find the soft-focus (the old “Barbara Walters” trick) annoying, the food unapproachable, and that the host’s name (Giada) could be mistaken for a terrible stomach virus. Believe me, even if you put her in HD with a low-cut blouse, I still might not tune in, except for that cavatelle with shrimp and tasso ham.

Rachael Ray—formerly “Yum-Oh”, now bordering on “Yuk-Oh.” It looks like she’s getting paid in products from Dunkin’ Donuts. Don’t get me wrong, I like her, and find her bubbly effervescence fun, but now she’s everywhere…if she keeps eating, she’ll really be everywhere.

Emeril-I feel like I need to hire Robert DeNiro, playing Al Capone in “The Untouchables” and go “Bam!” By that I mean with a baseball bat across his mouth. (Breaking News-Emeril has been canned! Read about it here:

Paula Deen--the high-pitched cackle, the crazed trailer-park accent…she’s great if you want a recipe for chicken-fried pork chop smothered in cream gravy, a side of fried okra and another side of double-fried potatoes and a fried Twinkie for dessert. Stent please?!.

Alton Brown-love the dweeb with the glasses. What’s not to like?

Used to love the original “Iron Chef”, and I still like Masaharu Morimoto. “I just spoke to the Iron Chef. He said he’s never cooked with sea urchin vomit before, but is looking forward to it as the secret ingredient.”

Guy Fieri-Anyone who has a show on diners is ok in my book (my Dad is a former diner owner). But, enough with the street vernacular and whack expressions like “Dude, that’s money!” or “Dude, you’re in it to win it with that!” or “Dude, that’s off the hook!” Plus, he’s got more tattoos than the Illustrated Man. Dude, I really don’t want you touching my food.

Speaking of tattoos, it seems to me that there are only a few categories of shows on TV: CSI, food, tattooing, or rebuilding motorcycles or cars. I’m thinking we could at least combine a few of these and have Rachael and Giardia getting tattoos, or maybe “Pimp My Rachael”. You can skip the Paula Deen episode.
I also watch some locally produced shows, but one to avoid, for me, is “Phantom Gourmet.” I cannot tell you how much I do not enjoy this show, but this past week really hammered it home for me. At least most weeks there are actual reviews, but this week, we got treated to “credit card roulette.”

For the unitiated, this version of roulette is where a half-dozen really wealthy, but equally obnoxious, people go to dinner at a really expensive restaurant. They all hand over a credit card with a high limit, and through the night, one by one, a credit card is removed so that the last credit card remaining picks up the tab. Yeah, this is riveting TV. Do I really care about which one gets stuck with the check? Do I really want to watch these people stuff their faces, along with their bloated egos? Why is this interesting? Hello, am I missing something?

By the way, if there was any doubt, we all know that this show and the Phantom are less than impartial. Firefly’s and Strega, among others, advertise heavily on this show, and one of the Andleman boys even has an appetizer named after himself on the Firefly’s menu. Now wait a minute, here’s a shocker…Firefly’s is highly rated by the Phantom. Can you believe it?! Who would have thought? This show is responsible for bringing mediocrity to your palate, and I for one, can see through it. That’s why I’m here for you…

Gratuitous shout-out: For all you ocular needs, see Dr. Hugh Cooper, adult and pediatric ophthalmologist to the stars…email me for his phone number.

You’ve been a great audience. Don’t forget to tip your waitress…enjoy 10cc (Does anyone else know the significance of the band’s name? You’ve got to just know this…)

Death of The Daredevil

Today, we lost an American Icon--the original Legendary Daredevil, Evel Knievel.

Like every boy growing up in the ‘70s, I was mesmerized by the antics and attempts of Evel. From jumping over the double-decker busses in England to the greatest stunt attempt ever-the rocket-cycle jump over Snake River Canyon. Of course that failed, but the build-up, the hype, and then the broadcast on A.B.C.’s Wide World of Sports was all we talked about in 4th grade. I actually learned where Idaho was, just because of Snake River. He was cool...He was hip...He was America.

I remember being on vacation in Connecticut back in the early 70s, and my parents took us to a drive-in movie. It was a double feature: “The Evel Knievel Story” (starring George Hamilton) and “Macon County Line” (starring Max Baer, Jr.). I don’t remember much about “Macon County Line” (really, does anyone?), but I remember “Evel”.

I had the requisite apparel (t-shirt with a red, white a blue “Evel Knievel” logo) and the best toy ever-an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle You mount it on a crank device, wind it up and reverse the crank to release the bike. That thing would take off, lose control, and crash into something, throwing the action figure off the bike-just like the real Evel!

Evel was larger than life. Little did we know as kids that he was a high-school dropout, a drinker and drug user, a womanizer and abuser. He practically killed a movie executive with an aluminum bat after the Snake River jump failure. But, mired in the depression of the early 70s, America needed a hero, and he was happy to oblige. Television’s mega-hit, “Happy Days” even used him as a basis for the Fonz jumping stuff with his bike. Of course, that episode lives forever with the expression “jumping the shark.” Well, Evel himself never jumped the shark, even with Hepatitis C! He will forever remain America’s Daredevil…warts and all. Evel is dead. Long live Evel!

Here's a sample of the greatness...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Wishes

On this holiday, let me wish you all a happy and joyous Thanksgiving and time well-spent with family and friends.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Butchers...of language

This has been a bug in my ass (and if you know me, that’s a big bug…) for a couple of weeks, and now having seen the following being advertised on television, I can’t hold back any longer.

A few weeks ago, I was at Quiznos (Mmmm, toasty!) getting a salad. I noticed they had an entirely new menu (really just new ways to feed you irradiated, pre-fab food) and I saw a sign for the “Sammies Special”. I ask the food wench working there “what’s the Sammies Special, who’s Sammie and why is he or she special?” After a question like this, she probably thinks I’m special.

She says I have a choice of “sammiches.” What???!!! What the (expletive deleted)???!!! “You know, a sammich”. Geez, last time I checked, the word was “sandwich.” It has an “n”, a “d”, and a “w” in it. By the way, no “m”. When speaking, I usually pronounce those consonants, don’t add ones that aren’t necessary, and don’t pronounce words like a troglodytic half-wit that just rolled out of the hills in Appalachia (and not the Appalachia of which Aaron Copeland composed wonderful themes). Quiznos could single-handedly be responsible for the dumbing down of America. Run a huge ad campaign, push your “Sammies” and turn us Lemmings into a bunch of illiterates. The Earl of Sammich must be rolling in his grave.

Speaking of Quiznos, it reminds me of the Cold Stone Reamery. Quiznos is trying to convince us that they have created a new, cutting-edge way of serving a sandwich—HOT! First of all, I bet you as soon as they discovered fire, the cavemen were toasting Woolly Mammoth over an open flame. I’ve always thought that mammoth tastes better a little cooked. “Nigiri mammoth” just doesn’t do it. I digress…Well, I’d like to say this to Mr. Quiznos (actually Rick Schaden): Famous Pizza in Pinefield was doing this from the dawn of time. Nothing like a large roast beef with everything and melted provolone from Famous. I haven’t been there in 20 years, but the memory of the beefy deliciousness is as strong as ever.

Why the comparison to Cold Stone Reamery? Like Quiznos, they march into a new market, claiming they’re offering something so new, so cutting edge, that people will flock to them. Reamer’s cutting-edge concept? Mixing toppings right into the ice cream while you watch. Pardon me, I need to stop yawning…GMFB! In the 70s, Steve’s was doing that, whether in Cambridge, Somerville, Fanuil Hall, or in outlets attached to D’Angelos (now featuring toasted subs) all across Massachusetts. Not just Steve’s, but Emack & Bolios, Bart’s in Amherst, or Herbie’s in Framingham. C’mon Cold Stone, do your market research. Know your audience--no one consumes more ice cream per capita than people that live in New England. We have high expectations, and you can’t meet them. Why “Reamery”? Next time, look at those prices. For the price of a small ice cream, the cow should come to my house, milk itself, churn the ice cream and feed it to me.

Random thoughts from a cluttered mind….

Since when did the accepted response to “thank you” become “not a problem”? I think “you’re welcome” is still the best way to respond. At the Outback a few weeks ago, when we thanked the waiter for anything-delivering the food, taking the order, bringing water, his response was “not a problem.” No kidding, jerkweed, if it was a problem for you to bring me water, there would be a real problem, for you. I have noticed more and more people using this expression as a response. To this I say “a problem.”

Rachel Ray-as a friend noted…getting a little wide in the beam and puffy-faced. Too much Dunkin’ Donuts maybe. Just as Tony Montana was warned by Frank Lopez: “Rachel, don’t get high on your own supply.”

Jason Bateman has come a long way from “Silver Spoons” I love “Arrested Development”, and he was superb in that. Played essentially the same character in “The Kingdom” which was not a comedy (unless you find mass murder and suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia funny), and he was great. The fact that he is married to Paul Anka’s daughter only elevates his stature in my mind. Paul Freaking Anka!!!! It could only be better if his father in law was Richard Carpenter.

I am half unhappy with the writers’ strike in Hollywood. This gives me a chance to catch up on “House”, but I miss new episodes of “Little People, Big World” and “Armed and Famous.”

Am I the only one that remembers “Larry’s Corner” or “Lord and Lady D&^%$bag” on SNL? Read here:

Gratuitous shout-out: My father, for figuring out the acronym from last month. Decorum prevents me from saying anymore.

Famous Pizza: 508-877-0101

You’ve been a great audience. Enjoy Andy Kim…