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Taking Ourselves Too Seriously


Taking Ourselves Too Seriously

I was just watching some cooking and wine shows on TV and noticed that some of us in the food and wine business definitely take ourselves too seriously. I have to confess that I have a tendency to do the same thing myself at times, but it seems that the older I get the less I take myself seriously. By nature, being somewhat shy, I normally cover up the shyness by turning into a pompous bastard in social situations. I’m trying to control it more and more as I do not like myself when I do that, but it is difficult at time when the audience tends to be on the pompous side too. When I have to talk about subjects that are close to my heart and that I totally enjoy, be it food, wine, technology, or something else, I try to be less on the pontification side and more on the entertaining and preaching about my love of the subject side, as long as I do not get carried away too much.

I noticed that the cooking and wine shows I like the best are the ones where the hosts really like their subjects and seem to be enjoying themselves while presenting it. Enthusiasm tends to be contagious and if the host is truly enjoying himself, then you feel it and like to share this enthusiasm for the subject at hand. At the other end of the spectrum, the hosts that take the superior approach and sound like they are talking about a very serious subject as if they were in church, should remember that it is only food, and only fermented grape juice in case of wine, and that they are all destined to be eaten and drunk in the end. You know that happens a while after that part, do you?

I normally dislike the type of shows filmed in front of audiences, as they often time rely on gimmicks from the host, and tend to get repetitive after a while. The same is true of hosts who heavily rely on gimmicks of all sorts, often for shock value or just to cover the fact that they have nothing new to add to the genre, except for the gimmick.

I was also wondering what is it with all of those shows where the host cooks on a rickety table in the middle of a field or at the edge of the sea, with wind blowing things away, and flies all over the place? Is there a reason why those shows are done like that, besides looking at the nice scenery? Most of the time the host looks so uncomfortable, and seems to miss his real kitchen a lot.

While I’m on a roll, I really appreciate shows by hosts who knows how to cook well, but I cannot believe that some of those supposedly professional chefs, at least from the publicity surrounding them, barely seem to know basic preparation techniques, or at times seem to not have enough coordination to prepare a sandwich without injuring themselves, or even worse are not using a sharp knife, one of my pet peeves… There nothing more laughable that seeing a cooking show host who does not seem to know how to hold a knife, and that cannot cut something that should cut very easily with a sharp knife. I tend to lose confidence quickly in those cases.

Another thing, what is it with the Napoleon complex? Napoleon is a French dessert that is composed of layers of cookies and filling pile up high on a plate. Now it seems, especially amongst younger chefs, that food requires height, and they pile up stuff, Napoleon style, on the plate until they have a shaky sculpture that reaches the roof of the restaurant. It might look mighty nice on the close-up shot at the end of the show, but has any of those “Chefs” tried to eat one of their creations? There is no way to eat one of these monstrosities without first disassembling it, and then eating the bits and pieces. That is if you are lucky that it can be transported to your table without collapsing into a singularity.

Yet another thing, when they prepare their pile-o-food that is sky high, why do they paint only about 1 tsp of that very complex beautiful sauce that they are so proud of, in the bottom of the plate where it is impossible to taste it? I know that I am of French extraction, and that my genes are programmed to love my sauces to excess, but can we get more than 1 tsp of sauce so that we can actually enjoy and taste them?

I am just rambling on now, so I will try to cut it short. First, to all the cooking show hosts out there, try to look like you are enjoying yourselves while preparing the food and that you really enjoy eating the food that you cook. Second, try to not be too repetitive and please do not rely only on gimmicks. Third and most important of all, stop taking yourselves too seriously as it is only food and wine, not a bloody cure to all that ails the world that you are talking about.

Great, now I go it off my chest…

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