Over the summer our very own Donny was invited to attend a taping of “Kitchen Nightmares” that was being filmed at Mama Maria’s here in Brooklyn. He, along with Eat to Blog BFFs Mo & Steph, was lucky enough to attend a dinner AFTER the restaurant had been cleaned up. The episode aired just a few weeks ago. In the clip from Hulu above you can hear Chef Ramsay himself refer to Eat to Blog, and if you watch the entire episode you can catch a few glimpses of Donny himself. In case you’re wondering, yes, they had to pay for their meals, and Donny referred to the re-vamped food as “okay.”
I went back and forth about whether or not to write this post. I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain, and as such I have heard him say many disparaging things about vegetarians. Usually it’s for entertainment value, or because he knows he will get a rise out of people by saying it, and it’s usually amusing enough for me not to care. But in Monday’s “No Reservations: Mozambique” he said something so monumentally inane that I was shocked. In describing a village feast that involved killing a goat, he mentioned that they get very little meat, and subsist mainly on yucca.
What promoters of vegetarianism maybe don’t realize is that much of the world already is living a vegetarian lifestyle, and they ain’t too fucking happy about it.
(quoted from Eater)
What he seems to be implying is that vegetarians would rather poor people starve than eat meat. Is he joking? I can’t imagine anyone in the world thinks that, let alone vegetarians. I would wager that any society that can only afford to slaughter an animal every few months takes better care of that animal than any farmer in the United States.
When I think of vegetarianism, I think of vegetarianism by choice. It’s only in a society that can afford to give up meat that being a vegetarian has any meaning. What Mr. Bourdain is talking about in this village isn’t vegetarianism — it’s a subsistence diet.
So what about those of us who can afford to give it up? What it comes down to is an individual’s choice. Is eating well worth killing an animal? I have decided that I am not okay with that, but that’s my decision and I can’t force it on anyone else. When I really think about it, veganism is the logical end point of that line of reasoning, but I have decided that I like pizza too much. In other words, I am willing to let animals in dairy farms be treated poorly for my own personal enjoyment. Other people have to pick their own battles. What I do believe is that people should think about these things.
Like Mr. Bourdain, I have eaten at some of Manhattan’s most prestigious restaurants, and like Mr. Bourdain I have eaten in roadside stands in Vietnam. Does the fact that I have done so without eating meat make me in any way superior to him? Absolutely not. It simply means that we all have options.
Imagine if everyone in the United States ate a quarter less meat annually. I don’t know exactly how much that would be, but I’m sure it’s a lot of meat. Now imagine that meat surplus, which would normally go to Americans who don’t really need it, went instead to those poor villagers in Mozambique. Would that make Mr. Bourdain be in favor of cutting back on meat eating?
I am not going to do anything so dramatic as stop watching “No Reservations”. As I mentioned, I am a fan, not only of the show but of Mr. Bourdain himself, and his voice. I think the food world is a better place with him in it. Pity he doesn’t feel the same way about me.
[Spoilers Ahead] I would have been happy with either Carla or Stefan winning, but Hosea? I can’t argue that Hosea didn’t make the best meal during the finale, but throughout the competition I don’t remember a single dish he made being described as better than “pretty good.” Both Stefan and Carla had their low points, but they had some great highs as well. Unfortunately Carla took herself out of the competition by relying too much on Casey’s influence, and Stefan made mistakes of his own. Hosea was there as the guy who didn’t make as many mistakes as the others and won the whole thing. This season has been been the battle of “who cares?” and the finale just continued that theme.
Here’s a clip from “Kids in the Hall” about making potato salad. I don’t know about you, but I’d watch an entire season of a cooking show called “Friends of Larry.”
“Mix, mix, stir, stir…”
Although I haven’t found many laughs in “The Simpsons” lately, the writers can always amuse me by tossing off some fake restaurant names as the family drives through Springfield. Over at The Simpsons Archives they have compiled (among other things) a list of all of the restaurants named in the show. Of course there have been some actual restaurants named, but the fake names are always better. Most Simpsons fans could name Krusty Burger, and maybe the Rusty Barnacle, but there are so many more. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Up, Up and Buffet!
2. Prof. VJ Cornicopia’s Fantastic Foodmagorium & Great American Steakery
3. Griddler on the Roof
4. The Texas Cheesecake Depository
5. General Chang’s Taco Italiano
Do any of these sound like restaurants that you’d actually want to eat at?
I watched the premiere of “Chopped” on Food Network last night, and like most people I didn’t like it much. I was actually most struck by the seeming omnipresence of Ted Allen on Food Network when “Chopped” went to commercial and the first ad was for Ted Allen’s “Food Detectives.” Is he on the verge of becoming the next Rachael Ray? Let’s hope not. The very next commercial was for Guy Fieri’s “Ultimate Recipe Showdown” which looks like the same kind of show as “Chopped.” Of course there’s also “Iron Chef America,” to complete the trifecta of cooking competition shows. Is there any truly original programming to be found on Food Network these days? Between Ted’s forced, somber pronunciation of “You’ve been chopped” and the unnecessary recap of the show about two-thirds of the way through, I don’t foresee much of a future for the “Chopped.” The only thing I really liked about it was the contestant Chef Sandy, who worked more slowly and methodically than the other competitors, and (SPOILER!) ended up walking away with the $10,000 prize, much to his surprise.