If you ever watch the Food Network

Via the always terrific but especially recently on fire Pop Candy, food writer Michael Ruhlman hands over his blog keys to Tony Bourdain, and Bourdain doesn’t let him down. If you’re a Bourdain fan or ever watch Food Network, even for a minute before changing the channel, the post is a must-read. He begins:

I actually WATCH Food Network now and again, more often than not drawn in by the progressive horrors on screen. I find myself riveted by its awfulness, like watching a multi-car accident in slow motion. Mesmerized at the ascent of the Ready-Made bobblehead personalities, and the not-so-subtle shunting aside of the Old School chefs, I find myself de-constructing the not-terrible shows, imagining behind the scenes struggles and frustrations, and obsessing unhealthily on the Truly Awful ones.

Chef-by-chef remarks follow, including respect for Emeril, props for my girl Giada, a Triscuits reference for Rachael Ray (I thought I was the only one who found it odd to have her picture on the front and back of the box), and unbridled hatred of Sandra Lee.

To wit: “I would likely be arrested if I suggested on television that any children watching should promptly go to a wooded area with a gun and harm themselves. What’s the difference between that and Sandra suggesting we fill our mouths with Ritz Crackers, jam a can of Cheez Wiz in after and press hard? None that I can see.”

The first time I saw Sandra Lee on TV, I think it was during a holiday appearance she made on CNN, back when I was working there. We all remember how happy I was that season, but the only thing I can remember from that day was pure confusion. What was she making?

With Bourdain, it’s time to read the books. While I came to his work late, finding No Reservations playing the deprived National Geographic role in my life that Dave Attell’s Insomniac once filled, Jess has always touted the books as funny gritty foodie masterpieces. Which, if accurate, fits my continuing love of funny people, gritty movies, eating, and Monsterpiece Theater.

First, to work through the books already in progress….

This person claims there are five pictures of Rachael Ray on a Triscuits box. I don’t remember that many, but it’s possible. Also, Giada turns up in the paper this week. How I missed her chat on the site in 2004, I have no idea.

Finally, the Muppets Wiki has a comprehensive rundown of Monsterpiece Theater episodes, includes synopses, photos and — best of all — YouTube links.

Alistair Cookie also gets his own page, featuring a classic work of description: “Though seemingly more sedate and urbane, Alistair Cookie is still a Cookie Monster, devouring baked goods, props — and in the revamped opening in the 1990s, noisily consuming cookies over the theme, while offering judicious comments on the texture.”

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