Monday, May 26, 2008
My very pregnant wife and I watched an episode of The Frugal Gourmet over the weekend and while it was enjoyable to revisit a childhood icon there were a number of things that rubbed us the wrong way. And so... please indulge this rant.
Jeff Smith is a very friendly and entertaining man. He makes you feel like a welcome guest.
Now for the bad.
The man is a pompous egalitarian! He continually slammed on America while praising other cultures. "They do this so well over there while we Americans, well, we just get it all wrong." I'm not saying that Americans do everything or even most things right but this constant harping during a twenty-five minute episode reminded me that he frequently did this on his show. In a show about food this left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Mr. Smith would also say things like, "The best dessert is to sit in Greece with a cup of espresso and a hard cookie. DeLIGHTful!" The phrase "You simply MUST go to [insert country name here]" occurred many times during the show. How many Americans can afford to go to Europe simply to sample the native cuisine? How out of touch is that?
The final mark against the man was the implicit "frugal" of the title. Every recipe called for rare and expensive ingredients. "I brought this back from Spain... simply WONderful!" Kids, have you seen the price of arugula these days? Even if I could afford to make these dishes only one of the fifteen or so he presented actually sounded good. A whirlwind of international dishes? Check. A cavalcade of delights for the mouth? NEGATIVE!
In a nutshell, Mr. Smith, with his out of touch elitist America bashing was a perfect match for PBS. I bid you peace.