The Dumbing Of The Kitchen: Part ?

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So, it was one of those quickies between shows on the new Cooking Channel. Rachael Ray is giving us a rundown of "don't miss" restaurants in whatever town she was in. She's sitting in front of one dish and exclaiming how wonderful it is, expecially since "it's sushi without the rice."

I'd always thought "saute in a little wine" was the dumbest culinary statement ever made. But this one really beats all.

Does anyone have a clue as to how they get away with that crap?
 
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No, but as to the title of the thread it is a trend and a shame...

Personally, in a kitchen, I'd rather be or work for a benign dictator than a democracy. Plato, Aristotle & Socrates, the fathers' thereof all agreed...putting your faith in the lowest common denominator gets you just that!
 
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I don't know what's going on with them.  Did you see my recent post about Giada?  She was making greek dishes "but with a mediterranean twist."  Huh??
 
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I was down sick for a few days, KK, so must have missed that post.

But it doesn't surprise me that she said that. She's not the only one who uses "Mediterranean" and "Italian" as synonyms---especially on the Food Network, where they seem to believe Italian is the only non-Asian ethnic food anybody really cares about.

Many people also say "Mediterranean" when they mean countries of the northern coastline. This, understandably, leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those who live in North Africa and the Levant. Or, to put a point on it, Malta and places like that.

We have a similar problem here, in that far too many people use "Early American," "colonial," and "New England," as synonyms, particularly when discussing culinary matters.
 
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 new Cooking Channel.

  Rachael Ray  "it's sushi without the rice."
    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif   That's a head scratcher!

    I haven't seen the new Cooking Channel, but I've certainly seen the Food Network in the past.  I still think their really missing an opportunity to educate people on cooking methods, foods and flavors.  I do believe people are eager to learn and interested in watching cooking shows that give them a little something for their time.  

    But again, I haven't had the chance to watch the new Cooking Channel yet.  I'll try to set some time aside at work to give it a chance, who knows??? 

   dan
 
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DISH Network turned on that channel unexpectedly. They do that, from time to time, trying to promote an upgrade. Anyway, been watching it while it lasts.

I've got mixed feelings. On one hand, it's certainly exponentially better than what's on FN, in terms of the actual how-to of cooking. With some really good shows, such as Michael Symon's How To Cook Like An Iron Chef. Much of the "new" programming is merely a redo of an FN show currently in production. For instance, instead of Alex's Day Off we have Chuck's Day Off.

That said, the majority of the programming consists of blasts from the past. The far past, with reruns of things like Julia Childs' several shows, The Galloping Gourmet, etc., or more recent past, with shows that didn't make it on FN, for one reason or another, or on their Canadian equivalent, such as Molto Mario and Nigella Feasts.

There are, to be sure, some real screamers, like La Doce Vita. But, on the other hand, they still run the original Iron Chef (now called "Iron Chef Japan"). 

Taken as a whole, I'd have to give it high marks for reaching out as a cooking education medium, despite some rather obvious flaws. But I don't understand why, with a network that's barely been around, they feel it necessary to repeat the same shows ad nauseum. That's something the new network shares with FN.

That's a head scratcher!

To say the least. Around here, sushi without rice is called bait.
 
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OK, I didn't see this --- thank all that's holy --- but I have to ask. "Sushi without the rice" --- you mean sashimi?

I'm just a little confused here. I mean, let's try it out, see if maybe Rachael's brain works differently from others':

"It's a ham sandwich without the bread!" --- ham

"It's spaghetti and meatballs without the pasta!" --- meatballs in tomato sauce

"It's mashed potatoes without the starch!" --- butter and cream

I mean, honestly.

Maybe it's just that my favorite part of Japan is Kyoto, where Edomaezushi --- the stuff known outside Japan as "sushi" --- is kind of deprecated. I remember one Kyoto chef remarking, "Edomaezushi? Seriously, it's just a piece of fish on rice. Any idiot can do that!" I have to admit, I warm to that opinion, but it turns out Rachael Ray hasn't gotten that far: "wow, sushi without the rice! It's just a piece of fish not on rice! How clever!"
 
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but I have to ask. "Sushi without the rice" --- you mean sashimi?

Don't ask me, Chris, cuz I haven't a clue what she meant. The dish she was showing was so far from anything Japanese that I can't begin to guess.

What she had was a bi-colored disc, composed of bands of red and off-yellow. I don't know what the ingredients were that formed the colored rings. This was mounted to a mini-skewer as a "lollipop." On the plate was a big puddle of two sauces; mostly a lighter colored sauce with one of those spider-web patterns drawn with the dark sauce. The two sauces mimicked the colors of the lollipop. Apprently, you're supposed to drag the lollipop through the sauces, and munch away.

For all I know it was very tasty, whatever it was. But it sure wasn't sushi. Sushi, whether you like eating it or not, is all about the rice. And, unless the lollipop was made from strips of two different raw fishes, it couldn't even be misnamed sashimi, IMO.
 
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My goodness. Even if it was raw fish, it still couldn't properly be labeled sashimi. Do you suppose she thinks sushi means "rolled up stuff"?
 
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Chris, note that I said "misnamed" sashimi.

My thinking was that somebody might mistakenly believe that any raw fish, served by itself, was sashimi. Two different fishes, rolled together, would then be a really fancy sashimi in that person's mind.

Do you suppose she thinks sushi means "rolled up stuff"?

I don't presume to suppose what she---or any of those other idiots---thinks. I just wish they'd either learn the correct names of things or have the grace to shut up and stop misleading people.
 
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They get away with it because there are not enough people out there who know better to correct them.  I know I'm generaliuzing but people don't cook like they did twenty or even thirty years ago.  Now you can get virtually everything in instant form and well, "no one has time" to cook.  Ha, right.  I work full time and I cook a fresh meal every night, from scratch.   I don't even watch FN anymore and I've seen the cooking channel's lineup but have yet to have a chance to sit and watch a full episode of anything. 
 
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I'm pretty sure sushi means vinegared rice, so maybe the bubbly tv personality is about to chug down some vinegar...

Pass that lady a glass!

I'll admit cooking channel is a little better than food network, but it's slowly becoming as bad as it... doh.
 
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Leeniek, I have to disagree. Not with your basic contention; there are fewer people cooking.

But in this case it has to do with access. How does somebody who does know correct them? Even if you could reach an FN executive, and express your opinion that people like RR are culinary idiots, do you think it would go any further?

They've made it abundently clear that they could care less about good cooking. All they're concerned with is "good television." And, of course, they're the ones who define what that means.
 
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KYH  I agree! 

I doubt any exec will listen to any one of us because..ratings sell.  And rr and the like have the ratings,
 
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I watch that show, and I like it.  However, the premise is completely flawed.  The "secret" ingredient isn't secret at all.  The show is planned around the ingredient, but there's no "secret" involved.  Perhaps if they called it "main" ingredient, I wouldn't be complaining. 
 
With some really good shows, such as Michael Symon's How To Cook Like An Iron Chef.
 
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I don't think they use the word "secret" to actually mean that, Gobblygook. It's just to tie it in further with the Iron Chef idea. Perhaps if they said "theme" ingredient (as they did with the original Iron Chef) it would be a better choice.

The point of the show, I believe, is to demonstrate that good cooking is based on techniques, rather than recipes. That's not only how Iron Chefs do it, it's how any good cook does it. Good techniques applied to good ingredients. That's the whole secret.

That's why good culinary education is based around techniques. Whether you apprentice in a kitchen with a true brigade, attend a top-ranked culinary school, or enroll in classes like mine, what you'll be taught, primarily, is technique; how to manipulate ingredients to achieve a desired end.

Or, as Symon sez: If you learn a recipe you'll make one great dish. If you learn the techniques, you'll be able to make hundreds.
 
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