Monday, May 26, 2008

More Frug


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.

4 comments:

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I have a couple of his cookbooks, and I agree with you on the difficulty of finding or affording ingredients.

Now, before Alton Brown came along, I really valued his recommendations on equipment though. That's where the frugal came in, because frugal, rather than meaning cheap, means getting your money's worth. So, a $100 knife may be more frugal than a $15 knife, IF it does the job so much better that it makes your life easier. And the same with other cookware. I did value his opinion on those things, and I learned from him on that.

But there are others that I'd rather watch...because in the end, I can FIND the ingredients they are talking about.

Uvulapie said...

Now that you mention it I still use my Frugal Gourmet pastry knife that I picked up cheap at Big Lots after his scandal broke. Quality.

Big Doofus said...

That scandal sure put an end to his television career. I was a big fan of the show back in the day. But these days it's all about Alton Brown and Bobby Flay.

Uvulapie said...

In a cage match my money would be on Brown. Flay may have the machismo but Brown would know the science behind his moves and would pin that brash upstart by the third round.