I'm having a hard time believing it, but our national love-hate relationship with the Food Network turns twenty years old next month, per this AP article that's way more entertaining than it seems at first glance. A lot of it is standard stuff: they don't really care much about cooking anymore, Robert Irvine's the kind of guy who sees that as an improvement, yada yada yada. But there are a few real gems here. Like, I'm not 100% certain what Bobby Flay is responding to when he says, '"It surprised me at first. But I think now, it doesn't surprise me," but at the very least, that is a fine definition of what surprises are and how they work.
Oh, and then right after that, Giada kinda says that she credits her success to the fact that people were terrified to leave their houses after 9/11. "It made them think twice about what was important in life," she clarifies, in explaining how terrorists helped Giada at Home find mainstream appeal. Having seen the show more than a few times, I guess that means that our nation's greatest treasures are aging surfers named Todd and cooks who loom over and harangue you while you're trying to eat. I'm not even kidding when I tell you that I recently saw an episode where Giada shared a bite-sized piece of eggplant parm with a middle-aged man at a gallery opening, chided him not to spill it on his shirt, and then literally cheered for him when he successfully ate the canape without soiling himself. So yes, long story short, it is a perfect show, and I really think Giada is selling herself short by implying that we wouldn't have tuned in were it not for our national sense of security being threatened so gravely that we feared venturing too far from our couches.
With no chance of a graceful segue between that and any other article on the internet, let's just move right along to this piece from the Guardian that sheds some light on a topic I'm sure you've pondered a few times before: did Neanderthals eat chamomile for its medicinal properties, or did they just inadvertently ingest it while feasting on steaming deer entrails? Conclusion: who knows? Science still has no earthly idea what our ancestors were putting in their mouths a million years ago—because those jerks didn't have the common decency to film every excruciating second of their food-related lives and air it on basic cable for posterity, alongside Rocco DiSpirito reenacting plotlines from the Brady Bunch.
Finally, Serious Eats is running a Halloween feature where they asked a few food writers to detail the contents of their "Dream Halloween Candy Bag," which is a question I don't understand because any bag full of free candy would be a dream come true. The very premise seems to hinge upon the idea that a bag of Halloween candy has ever disappointed anyone. Because neither I nor my crackpot opinions matter, however, no one asked me. So the first installment resulted in a little sack of stuff like chocolate mice that, while very cute and well-suited to any "gift ideas for weirdo millionaires" list, kind of bum me out as a suggestion of how to "improve" Halloween. Fingers crossed, the next person will write about running around Economy Candy draining their savings account on Bottlecaps and Haribo.
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