WND – Consoling myself with starch

October 2, 2008

I’ve been feeling disenchanted with the Food Network lately. It seems like every time I turn it on there’s a food travel documentary or the secret history of something or other airing. Admittedly I find the fact that carbonation is the secret ingredient in slurpees fascinating, but it’s not really what I’m flipping to the Food Network to watch. They have a roster of new shows and they all feel like they’re trying too hard. None of the new hosts really look at ease behind the camera, and none of them are endearing enough that I want to watch them anyway. This is a problem since they’re also not cooking any food that I’m interested in watching them make*.

I still like watching Ace of Cakes, and I enjoyed Feasting on Waves (because I do love me some social history, and the social history of food is just icing on the cake), but those aren’t really cooking shows and the line up of actual cooking shows just don’t hold my interest any more. I’m sure that Barefoot Contessa is still airing but it’s never on when I’m flipping channels, and frankly there’s only so much appalled interest that I can work up for watching Sandra Lee massacre food. And, when exactly did Paula Deen become a caricature? I ran across her new show the other day and I swear she looks like a drag queen. A classy drag queen granted, but I’m guessing that drag queen of any stripe isn’t really the image she’s trying to project.

At the moment I’m getting my cooking tv fix from America’s Test Kitchen. I finally gave in and set a series recording for it on my DVR, because who’s watching TV at 3:00pm on a Sunday? However, America’s Test Kitchen while entertaining and occasionally inspiring enough to get me to run off and bake enormous chocolate chip cookies, isn’t really enough to satisfy my need for food tv.

I’m not sure if my current disenchantment with the Food Network is a sign of growth on my part, a failing on the part of the Food Network, or just an overdose and I’ll be excited to watch it again in another few months. In the meantime I’m left with nothing to watch on Sunday mornings while I eat my breakfast and commune with my coffee. I suppose I could talk to my roommate, or read, but that seems terribly radical.

* It’s not as if I watch the Food Network for menu planning purposes. I make maybe 1% of the recipes I see in any given year. I watch so that I can learn how to rescue seized chocolate, and to get vicarious thrills from the amount of butter Ina Garten cavalierly tosses into her recipes.

Macaroni & Cheese
Roasted Chicken

Macaroni & Cheese
I’ve been refreshing the front page of the New York Times approximately every 10 minutes for the past week and been horrified every time. I’m consoling myself with cheese and starch.

Recipe previously given: Macaroni & Cheese

Roasted Chicken
I cheated. I didn’t feel like roasting a whole chicken and then having to dismember carve it, so I roasted bone-in chicken breasts instead and then sliced them off the bone to serve. I’m not entirely sure that this was actually easier, but it seemed like it would be on Sunday when I was at the grocery store.

I minced garlic, lemon zest and fresh thyme together and left them marinating in olive oil over night. I slathered the chicken breasts with the flavored olive oil and then roasted them with some quartered onions and lemons (the lemons that I’d zested for the marinade).

I served the sliced chicken with some of the roasted lemons – and then saved the rest for a roasted lemon vinaigrette that I’m going to make tonight.

Note: If you’re going to bake two things at once, like say macaroni & cheese and chicken, you need to up the temperature of your oven. Both macaroni & cheese and roasted chicken need a 350-375 oven to cook, but if you’re doing them together you need to bump the temperature up to 400-425 to get them to cook properly.



  1. Huh. I’d always suspected that about ovens, but haven’t had to bake things together often enough to need to test the theory. Nice to have it confirmed without actually having to do the work.

  2. It’s not just you, the Food Network’s new host just aren’t as good as the previous arsenal.

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