Friday, June 1, 2007
Here's hoping for a vegan cooking show
I guess you can say I have a sick fascination with cooking shows. I'm a vegan, and it pains me to see meat being prepared, but I hold out hope that the chefs on TV will do something that I can do in my own cooking. I was a huge fan of the Japanese version of "Iron Chef." The chefs always did exotic things, and their preparation wasn't as meat heavy as the Americans. The secret ingredient was often some unusual fruit or vegetable, which is a delight to a vegan. The producers of the American "Iron Chef" apparently feel that viewers only want them to use meat and eggs. I can't tell you how many times I've seen beef or pork. They can't do the same ingredient over and over, you say? Aw, they start with the generic "pork," then they move on to "bacon" and then, say "pork chops." I half expect "Iron Chef" to have consecutive episodes of "left pork nostril" this week and "right pork nostril" next week. Alton Brown, off course, will say there's a subtle difference in flavor and texture behind each challenging ingredient. When it comes to the fruits and vegetables, they just get the lump job. "Citrus" was one of the episodes. There're so many varieties of citrus that they should not be treated as one episode. It's not like different cuts of flesh from the same animal. With citrus, you have the typical lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. You also have the more exotic pummelo, Buddha's hand and Thai lemon. In the Japanese version of "Iron Chef," I would watch as the master of sauces would always add miso to his creations. I started experimenting with miso, and now I have an array of sauces on my own. Another issue I have with cooking shows is the lack of variety. How many different shows are we going to see the main personalities in on the Food Network? Whey can't they have a short weekly vegetarian and vegan cooking shows? I'm sure they could find room to squeeze one in late at night instead of the fourth rerun that week of the same Rachel Ray show. I know they probably think anything that would cater to vegetarians or vegans would be too radical. My counter to that is: Don't meat-eaters also eat things that are not meat and dairy? Why would a vegan show offend them? It's not the same as a vegan being disgusted with seeing an animal's flesh being manipulated. Meat-eaters might not want their spinach, but it shouldn't disgust them to see it prepared on television. I know meat-eaters would love to watch Isa Chandra and the Post Punk Kitchen. They rock. Why can't the Food Network even have a Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, French or other ethnic cooking shows? Why is it only Italian or Southern on the Food Network? Why can't they even have reruns of the old Japanese version of "Iron Chef?" I have this sick fascination of watching these celebrity chefs (I'm actually bouncing back and forth to the channel with my remote control. I can't stand to watch meat being prepared, so I switch to another channel for a while.) and hoping I might get something out of it. I never do except a head of hot steam. The Food Network needs to be more mindful of its programming, or even the meat-eaters will abandon them. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for a better ingredient on the next episode of "Iron Chef." Of course, I should probably expect cow udder. It wouldn't surprise me.