Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where I rant about the FoodNetwork.

If you are perfectly happy with the FoodNetwork please just pass this one up. But, if like me, you are finding them to be a little tedious, formulaic, and not responsive to viewer needs than read on.

I sent an email to the Food Network commenting on the fact that they put a show on specifically about meat but didn't balance that out with one specifically about veggies. I figure that if 6% of the population is vegetarian than maybe the Food Network could make 6% of their programming designed for vegetarians.

Let's do a little math (I know a librarian doing math is about as likely as the Food Network putting on a vegetarian show but stay with me here.). If the Food Network offers approximately 18 hours of programming per day then 6% of that would be.... 1.08 hours of programming (Please check my math. I'm a librarian not a mathematician.) So 1 hour a day should be devoted to vegetarian programming (I'd be happy with 1 hour a week). 

All this seemed perfectly reasonable to me so I fired off said email. I received this lovely auto-response back from them. Okay, it was in the evening and no one was in the office. I get it but it sort of rubbed me the wrong way because I've sent an email or two in the past and received nothing.

We have received your email message with the subject:

  OTHER comment

and we appreciate your taking the time to write to us.  Your comments and suggestions on our programming, as well as our website, are very important to us.  Your feedback will be shared with the appropriate departments for consideration when planning future programming and development.

Thank you for your interest in the Food Network and

Best regards,

Food Network Customer Service

Shall we break down their response a little.  

OTHER comment means that once you have taken the time to actually find their contact page, (no easy task mind you, there is a little tiny link at the very bottom of their homepage or you could do what I did which was to use the search box.), they don't give you an option in the drop down menu to comment about the network programming philosophy as a whole. Only to question or comment on specific shows or chefs. Unless you chose OTHER. Kind of made me feel second class or steerage.

Your feedback will be shared with the appropriate departments. Since my option was OTHER I take this to mean the appropriate department is the nearest trash receptacle. Since, I've written them before (only once or twice. Not enough to be a pest. YET!) and received no response the trash can seems the most likely place for my emails. This statement on their website pretty much confirms my suspicions. "Suggestions and comments will be automatically forwarded and shared with the Programming and Website teams, and no further correspondence will be forthcoming from us." I understand, they get lots of emails every day. They can't be expected to answer all of them but wait a minute; I work for a library that services 40,000 students plus faculty and staff and we seem to be able to respond to every single inquiry. We wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't. The ratio of staff to questioner is probably (or should be) roughly the same. I would be happy if I knew that they logged my comment into a database for further inquiry or that they thought it was stupid and couldn't or wouldn't be able to accommodate me. Makes one think a bit about their commitment to their constituents.

Thank you for your interest in the Food Network and Which I take to mean; thank you for watching shows with ingredients you can't afford, can't find, will never use again after you do find them and spring for the exorbitant price, and don't have the time, equipment or help to clean up after you've made the meal that has dirtied almost every pan you own after  Oh, and thank you for having such low expectations that we can fill hours of programming with reality based shows that take little or no brains or money to produce.

I totally understand that Alton Brown and a few others have real lives and can't be producing shows all the time but surely you guys are clever enough to come up with something better than reality shows? They are sort of the bottom-feeders of the TV show world (my opinion).

I, also, understand that not everyone is a vegetarian but I live with a bunch of omnivores and cook for them I make or adapt meals that usually include something for everyone. Because I don't chose to eat meat does not mean that I expect others to make that same choice. I am not on the PETA fringe.

What I would like to see is some alternatives. As Thomas Jefferson said; "(he ate meat) as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet". FoodNetwork could we have a couple of 30 minute shows where the meat is the condiment and not the primary ingredient?

Thanks for letting me rant. Sorry about it but I just felt I had to get this off my chest. It was beginning to make me crazy. I'll be back to crazy photos and history tomorrow. I promise.




  1. The Food Network is no longer about food - it's about stressful competitions and making people who can't cook any better than you or me (and have far less understanding of what constitutes good food) "stars."

    I can't watch it any more - it irritates the bejebus out of me.

  2. I'm surprised that people calling themselves a Food Network wouldn't have a vegetarian show. :\

  3. Well done!! Let's get this post out and about and see what happens ; -)

    I have to admit, I love Diner's Drive-ins and Dives as it makes me feel like I am on a road trip, other than that I've lost interest. I am not a vegetarian, but would love a vegetarian show for the meatless nights ( try to cook meat only 2-3 times week).

  4. I only watch Good Eats and Diner, Drive-is and Dives. And on occasion Guys Big Bite. The rest of them just annoy me. I don't hav ethe money to shop like it is required to cook those foods. Now if they had a show about what to do with the plain ingredients I find knock around in my cupboard--that's a show I could watch. And Meatless could work--we are trying to cut back on the meat we use--but I'm not so big a fan of the over vegebtabled dishes in most cook books.

  5. I'm sure Bobby Flay is about to challenge you to a throwdown, Michele. Keep watching... :-)And the only show I tape anymore from Food Network is Ace of Cakes. Duff cracks me up.
    My new cable p0rn is DIY channel. :-)

  6. You would have to say there was a tone of PFO about that communication.

  7. I used to watch TFN often, but over the last couple of years I rarely watch it. It has just become a boring, same ol' shit kinda thing. Cheers Michele!!

  8. I think they're really missing a key market when they don't do a show for vegetarians!

  9. Here's what I think. Excellent Idea.

    Now make it happen. Find out who the production company is for Good Eats, Giada deLaurentis, and Saran Moulton.

    Write the proposal, outline a few shows, pitch them the idea.

    You're a librarian - do the research and point out how it doesn't have to have fringe (ie: PETA) appeal.

    I bet you could do it.

  10. You know what I would like to see is a show where real people judge the cooking of our favorite chef's. Now that is a show I think a lot of people would like. Especially if it were people off the street who don't know who they are judging. Thank you Helen Jones -Jackson