Friday, January 22, 2010

Man v. Food

*Update: As of Thursday, Food Network is back!

Sad story for y'all:

Once upon a time, in a pretty house on Long Island's South Shore, there lived a foodie couple who loved food and home renovations. Their TVs were 95% of the time tuned to channels devoted to those two things, as their daily lives were accompanied by Iron Chefs and House Hunters.

Then one day, after a New Year's out in Brooklyn, they returned to their cozy home, turned on the TV, and were greeted with dead air and a catty message from their big, bad cable company, stating that their good friends HGTV and Food Network were pulled from the lineup, due to Scripps Network's demands for higher pay.

It has now been nearly a month now, as the messages spewed by both Cablevision and Scripps become cattier and cattier, all while Cablevision customers throughout Long Island continue to pay high cable rates to not watch channels everyone else has access to (i.e. DirecTV and Dish subscribers). Cablevision claims that Scripps is being unreasonable since they've requested a rate increase of $20 million. Put in perspective, that's chump change per viewer, and still within a reasonable payment range as other companies pay it. Also, in light of a last year's revelation that the CEO of Cablevision received a $15.9 million pay package in 2008, it seems awfully unreasonable for Long Islanders to have to suffer without their buddies, Chef Morimoto, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, Mario Batali, Guy Fieri, and others.

However, I've recently found my way back to the channels that, although less focused on the fun factor of cuisine, talk about travels and food that comes from such travels. I speak, of course, of the Travel Channel!

I'd watched Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations, often enough in my life to know that I like it. Boy doesn't so much, mostly because Bourdain approaches his travels as the Everyman, and expresses enthusiasm for simple meals and home-cooked entrees, leaving no sign that he's the accomplished badass chef he is.

I like it. Rustic food is good, rich, and hearty. You can't eat teeny tiny zucchinis all day long, after all.

Anyway, the Travel Channel also has another show that I've gotten very enthusiastic, and has introduced me to basically a man of my heart: Adam Richman.

The premise of his show, Man v. Food, is a simple one: man (Richman) must conquer exorbitant quantities or unrealistically spiced food. Not a trained competitive eater, this endearing gentleman proceeds to devour rich, greasy, fantastic types and amounts of food as he travels about the country in search of plate sizes that would fell lesser men by simple appearance at the table.

Adam Richman is adorable, in my book. The reasons to love this native Brooklynite are many:
  1. His logo is awesome. Seriously, a man in a helmet punching a drumstick in a boxing ring. It really doesn't get better than this.
  2. He can eat more than me. I respect that.
  3. He doesn't edit out his tears when spiciness proceeds to kick his ass, and makes no bones about the consequences of such conquests. Respect.
  4. He doesn't give a rat's ass about being a messy eater. This makes me feel good inside, like my perpetual spilling and staining is acceptable, provided I can eat copious amounts in minimal time. I can handle this stipulation.
  5. He doesn't care about getting food all up in his face. Eyebrows, hair, chin, cheeks, ears ... it's all gravy. Again, respect.
  6. He has these huge sad brown eyes. I like Bambi eyes.
  7. He has floppy hair that flops a lot in his enthusiasm to consume. Aww.
  8. He's really funny. No, seriously. Cracks me up. Silly in an endearing way, that you just want to pinch his barbeque-sauced cheeks and high-five his greasy ham-hands when he pumps his fist in triumph.
And so, at least one thing has emerged from this debacle with Cablevision: a love affair with a man after my own heart. I want to eat stuff with him, all day long.

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