Skip to content

America at War

June 23, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, dear readers all, I regret to inform you that as of this, the twenty-third day of June 2010, Americans have thrown down the gauntlet and are officially at war.

For those of you wishing to follow our nation’s progress during this lengthy campaign of battle, in which many may fall, the coverage of this engagement can be seen on your basic cable channels. Granted, it’s more strip steak than Gaza strip — but make no mistake, our country will not rest until it has beaten the mighty and formidable foe that is food.

Gone are the days of a matronly, aproned afficionado peacefully telling us how to braise and baste more effectively. Today’s armies must completely eviscerate spare ribs and fennel-encrusted portabello mushrooms with copious shock and awe. We must find new and exciting ways to not only conquer these foods, but defeat our rivals at it as well — and often, we only have a very limited amount of time. The clock, as always, is ticking. We know this because it’s on the screen.

Over at FOX, a swarthy team of soldiers take rigorous instruction from the steely general Gordon Ramsay on Hell’s Kitchen, wherein Ramsay forces his troops not simply to meet the lofty goals of preparing a meal for roughly forty people, he watches over his men and women with the eye of a hawk and berates them like a drill sergeant. As Ramsay knows — just as the great John Rambo knew before him — to survive cooking dinner is to become cooking dinner.

The Food Network is relatively quiet during the day, but by dusk becomes a fierce battle zone. Here you’ll find Food Network Challenge, where accomplished chefs run roughshod over one another to sear scallops and flash-fry potato straws in a frenzied competition from which only one can emerge. Think of it as the Thunderdome, with garlic. Those who pass the test live to fight another day, while body doggy bags are called in to remove of the fallen.

You’ll also see Dinner: Impossible, in which host Robert Irvine is tasked with overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles — I mean, how can one prepare a luxury dinner for a posh New England island’s swanky get-together in only twenty-four hours? Truly these missions are not for the weak. And those broccoli spears aren’t going to sautee themselves in a goat cheese brio. These small fights, won as often as once a week, are proof we will be victorious.

Major skirmishes are often fought in the illustrious Kitchen Stadium on both Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, where low-level privates go head-to-head with juggernauts who outrank them in an effort to destroy preconceived notions of carrots, halibut, chili and more. And protect your children from the horrors of battle when it reaches the homefront of your own town in Chefs Vs. City, where rival teams battle to create “bold, new flavors” from the indigenous ingredients of our nation’s cities. Buy war bonds!

Insurgents are popping up everywhere, and they must be crushed. Case in point: Cupcake Wars! The Food Network has turned our favorite confections into weapons of mass consumption in a constant struggle to defeat the enigmatic and delicious bakery treat. And our best man is on the case in Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food, which is exactly as it sounds — the constant effort of Adam Richman to destroy massive quantities of food by putting America first, and gastroenteritis behind him. 

Yes, friends, this is what it’s come to. With a growing country of foodies, we can no longer be content to sit back and enjoy honey-soy broiled salmon. We have to defeat it. We have to make ourselves do it in a limited amount of time. We have to defeat others at it. 

Blame our inherently competitive nature, blame the reality show craze or just blame the fact that we simply can no longer stand our pork tenderloins not to be blackberry-jalapeno glazed for one second longer. Answer this: do we really need one cake that celebrates the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street? How about three such cakes — and a winner? Do we really need to complete lobster-stuffed beef with a spectacular bernaise in twenty minutes? When will I ever need to impress Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann in that amount of time? 

The truth is that food, today, is entertainment. I haven’t taken this poll, but I’d wager that the number of people who try a recipe from Giada de Laurentis’ relaxed Food Network program Giada at Home is exponentially larger than the people who attempted a pancetta fried cabbage and thyme beurre blanc from last week’s The Next Food Network Star that was called “unflavorful” by judges and made hastily in forty-five minutes.

Ah, but such is our culture. What good is it if we can’t make it into a competition? Perhaps someday we’ll all calm down again about it, and enjoy a nice boliche together as one, without airhorns or shouting or clocks. And that, friends, will be how we — as a nation — find peace within ourselves, and our stomachs, once more.

One Comment
  1. August 24, 2014 3:33 am

    Stick by your team through thick and thin, despite the wins and losses.
    Alabama will try to rebound from their loss to the Sooners and
    rank fourth in the Sporting News college football preseason rankings.
    So besides the fact that both sports are being played with
    11 players on the field, the similarity ends here.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: