Monday, April 6, 2009


The following is a true story. For once, no creative exaggerations, no hyperboles, no spins. Believe me, this crap actually happened today—I can't make this stuff up. It disgusts me to know people like this roommate are making YOUR food.

It was Sunday. The setting sun pierced through the blinds and made the entire dorm room glow a brilliant yellow, and Andre the Giant (he's the cool roommate) and I were quietly sitting at our computers pretending to work waiting for our other roommate to wake up (I mean, for chrissakes, it was already 6:00 pm). Finally, Asshole started stirring in his bed. We both pretended not to notice.

Asshole groaned and sat up. He lurched himself off his bed and scratched his exposed butt crack as he walked to the bathroom with his tooth brush. Andre and I waited for him to close the bathroom door. We then looked at each other.

You want to do this now? Or you want to do this later? I mouthed to make sure we were on the same page. He signaled back with his hand and emphatically pointed downwards, NOW.

The toilet flushed, and we returned to our computers, the keyboards going clickety-clackety.

Asshole brushed past us again and starting looking for his clothes and phone. He started to dial.

I threw a look at Andre. Now what? my eyebrow arched. Andre just looked at his computer.

Asshole began dressing up and started gabbing away on his phone. After a few minutes, Andre turned in his chair and looked at him squarely:

“You going out buddy?” Andre probed.

“Yeah.” He grunted, his back to him. He returned to his phone. “Oh yeah? That’s fucking awesome…”

“Uh, when you coming back?” Andre pressed.

Asshole finally looked up at him, somewhat surprised that he asked that. We never asked him when he was coming back. “Fuck, I don’t know,” he finally said and turned back to his engrossing conversation about where to drink tonight.

I took my head phones off, placed them on my desk, crossed my arms, and turned around to face him.

Completely oblivious to the increasing tension, Asshole continued to snort and chuckle on his phone and searched for his keys and wallet. When he got his jacket on, he started on his way out.

I stood up and stepped in between him and the hallway.

Several long seconds passed as he finally looked up at me and then looked at my roommate. He finally stopped talking in mid-conversation, suddenly aware that something was up. I looked him straight in the eye:

“You got a minute buddy?”

He blinked, narrowed his eyes, and then said through his teeth, “Dude, I’m on the phone.”

“Yes, it’s quite obvious that you’re on the phone…” I returned evenly and flatly.

He raised his head and cocked it to the side, still sizing me from the corners of his eyes. “(Yo, can you hold on a minute?)...All right, what is it?” He was clearly annoyed that we were taking up valuable seconds of bar time with his friends.

Ignoring his threatening demeanor, I pushed on: “Do you know what happened last night?”

He suddenly got defensive. “Dude, I know. I already talked to Andre about it. It’s cool.”

“This isn’t the first time it’s happened and we had to clean it up...” Andre pointed out.

“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry. It’s not going to happen again,” he said looking towards the door.

Andre continued, “Well, you said the same thing two weeks ago and I don’t want to sleep at night having to worry about you coming in and—”

“Look, man. Do you think I enjoy doing that? It’s humiliating. I don’t like enjoy doing that.

I could not believe it. Asshole was trying to turn himself into the victim here. I fired back:

“Well, I didn't enjoy cleaning up the mess the first time, and Andre didn't enjoy cleaning the bathroom floor after you pi—.”

“Look, I’m trying man. I am. I already said I was sorry and it’s not going to happen again—what else do you want me to do?”

He placed his hands on his chest and looked at us as if he was innocent. We were simply at a loss of words for what an asshole Asshole was being.

“Are we done here?” he said scornfully, his phone still in his hand.

I finally gave up and moved aside.

“All right.” Rolling his eyes and shaking his head, he brushed past us and puffed in disbelief at the gall we had shown to bring up what happened last night. He put his phone back to his ear, “All right dude, I’ll be right outside in a sec” and slammed the door behind him.

Andre and I just stared after him.

“Can you fucking believe that guy?” I finally said in disgust. Andre put his fingers over his face and shook his head.

“Yeah, well the worst part is my Tupperware is still covered in urine…”


Friday, April 3, 2009

Open Letter to Food Network

Dear Food Network,

You may not know this, but one of my earliest memories of your network was watching Sara Moulton on her show Sara's Secrets. She was frying something (I forget what), but the thing I remember was when she used a wooden spoon to test whether or not frying oil was hot enough. She stuck the spoon in the oil and waited to see whether or not bubbles came out of it. This she explained was because the oil was so hot, that even the minuscule water molecules trapped in the wooden spoon were being cooked out.

I was blown away. She had demystified one of the reasons why I never got consistently good results with deep oil frying for me. To this day, I use that method to test the temperature of my frying oil.

So...what the hell happened??? Where are all the old school chefs that actually educated us as the cooked? Wolfgang Puck, Sara Moulton, Mario Batali, Ming Tsai, Tyler Florence, even Emerill Lagasse--where did they all go? All we have left on the show are surburban queens like Paula Deen (bless her heart) and Rachel Ray and upcoming chefs/cooks with fake plastic smiles that creep me out. Are you trying to tell us that a good meal is one where we cook with 2 lbs of butter in 30 minutes or less and pretend to like it?

You used to be about having shows that taught us that cooking need not remain mysterious and left to the pros. You used to empower the average American to make decent, home-cooked meals that brought families and friends together, connecting them through a common love for food and fellowship.

Sadly, no one cooks for the sake of cooking any more on the show.

Every show has been turned into venue for entertainment. Mediocre cooks making dumbed down and uninspiring food. Crappy cooks interviewing Zookeepers of all people on their own talk show. Celebrity chef turned douchebag challenging local food establishments and then being humiliated in staged throwdowns. A resume-exaggerating chef in ridiculous situations and unrealistic premises churning out mediocre food to people who deserve to have food made in an organized, well-thought out plan (like a real chef would do). A fatass eating inordinate amounts of the unhealthiest food known to man and FAILING every time.

The worst: A former model calling her own show SEMI-HOMEMADE and expects her food to TASTE GOOD??? And what's up with all these fake-spontaneous weekend getaway tours to drive-thrus, diners, and dives on $40 or less? What am I? A cheap bastard with a fanny pack around his fast-food engorged waist? How is this edifying? Is this even entertainment?


The best educational show you have is Good Eats, and even then, I can hardly swallow the corny jokes and bad sketches. Food and cooking should be about bringing the kitchen closer to the cook--you are instead drawing the cook out of the kitchen into the TV living room.

And all I see now on FN is a whore who works for money instead of food.

For shame.