Monday, August 04, 2008

Eco Emeril Feels Forced

I watched "Emeril Green" on Planet Green tonight and I have to say I agree with today's New York Times article (see link) that says that his show leaves "a huge calorie wake." Emeril walks around the food aisles of Whole Foods (shameless product endorsement!) and points out organic foods and thrills at the bins of grains and oats, which are not particularly new discoveries at this point. I'm a big fan of Whole Foods even though it is overpriced, because the quality is generally so good. But I don't like feeling like my cooking show is one long commercial, and it's a misguided idea to framework a television show in this way.

In the meantime, his dishes are fried and cholesterol laden. The premise of the show is that he plays "food therapist" to at home cooks with "problems." The first case study was a Washington D.C. writer who "missed Puerto Rico." The camera shows her sadly running in D.C. as she longingly glances at tropical travel posters in a window. Give me a break. Given everything going on in the world today, are we really supposed to feel sorry for this woman who can sit home all day and do travel writing in a fancy apartment while nibbling on cherry tomatoes? I think not. He then treats her to a joint shopping trip, where Whole Foods staffers explains the inner working of pork (is this holistic?) and the various types of plantains. Yawn. In between, he asks shoppers what they are making for dinner. "Chicken and tomatoes," one customer shouts out. "Steak," another one says. "Who cares?" I am thinking to myself.

The next case study is a busy mom and at home cook who needs easy organic dishes she can whip up for her family. What we get are a series of dishes that are so complicated I cannot imagine making them on a weekend, not to mention a weeknight. Humus and falafel, which demand just the right portions in the food processor or they get stuck there, and a fancy baklava which involved filo dough, one of the hardest substances to cook with. I don't know about you, but if I'm looking for a quick easy meal, I am not going to go searching for philo dough!

Emeril was best on "Emeril Live," doing what he did best, hamming it up in front of a live audience and loading up on cheese, butter, and any fattening substance he could find, without pretending he was being healthy about it all. This show is an example of the continuing confusion about the fact that organic on its own is not healthy. The fact that he shoved a muffin loaded with butter to poor busy mom before she was barely done explaining her overbooked schedule, is such a case in point.

Let's not sugar coat organics when we've gone to so much trouble to replace corn syrup with natural cane juice.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I must say ... I totally agree with you. Give me a break also. Quite an unlikely candidate is 'Emeril' to be 'touting' GREEN. It's evident he's let himself go (another statistic). Frankly, Food Network in general, as well as Emeril, is just not worth watching. I used to be excited by the network, but now ... I yawn with you.