I’m almost embarrassed to admit the extent to which the Missus and I have become Food Network junkies. If you were to attach some sort of electronic transcription device to our Teevee Tuner—or look at what goes through our DVR, for that matter—you’d see that virtually all of our television viewing consists of a handful of shows on NBC (mostly their Thursday night lineup), American Idol (a guilty pleasure for the Missus), and Food Network for the balance.
Honestly, I don’t know why we pay for HBO. Now that Boardwalk Empire is between seasons, there’s nothing on any of the premium channels that grabs my attention like Guy Fieri cramming some sweaty chef’s meatball sub into his pie-hole.
I know it’s ridiculous. It seems that nowadays, most of the Food Network’s content has drifted away from useful material—actual cooking shows, for instance—toward reality television in which food plays an ever more peripheral role. Entertainment trumps information.
Inevitable, some would say. After all, watching Rachael Ray roast a rack of lamb with a side of sautéed broccoli rabe (nice rack, Rache!) may have been informative, but it’s more fun to watch a platoon of wannabe-Iron Chefs duke it out for the opportunity to be a regular feature on a show that is a goofy American remake of an even goofier Japanese show.
If you look at Food Network’s schedule hard enough, though, you can spot the occasional trend. Food trucks? Personal chefs? They’re all there. But the most glaringly trendy food seems to be the Cupcake. Those little suckers are enjoying a veritable craze right now.
There are whole shows devoted to cupcakes, most notably Cupcake Wars. Wars! Over cupcakes! (Sure, it’s just another “make-a-metric-buttload-of-interesting-food-in-no-time-flat-with-bizarre-ingredients-and-amuse-our-judges” show, but I like to imagine an actual war fought with—what?—cupcake grenades, perhaps.)