Review: Food(ography)

I finally got a little quality time with the Cooking Channel so I am attempting to review several of the shows I have not seen.  This time around Food(ography).

This is another rehashing of a tried and true formula – the food documentary.  It is much in the vein of Food Tech and Unwrapped, though decidedly better than either since it does not promote the mechanization of food as a positive development.

Food(ography) on WannabeTVchef.comThe show is hosted by comedian Mo Rocca (more on him later) and a handful of food writers, food anthropologists, professors and other learned people.  In an episode entitled “Outdoor” one of these great food thinkers, Frances Lam of salon.com, gave one of the best quotes ever about our fast food nation, “You go to your fast food place and you go through the drive-thru and you know what?  It’s never any faster than if you just park the car, walk inside and ask for your cheeseburger to go.”  Lamb continues, “It’s a perversion of the beauty of the drive-in.  The drive-thru is enslavement; the drive-in was freedom.”

There is a reason that Rocca has never been more than a B-list entertainer; it’s the same reason he is only serviceable as a the host of Food(ography) – his voice is terrible.  It’s a shame really because he possesses a dry, quick wit.  He drops a few great one-liners each episode but after a while his voice starts to grate.  I think that is why the producers intertwine so much footage of the aforementioned food experts, to give the viewers’ ears a break.

From a production stand point Food(ography) doesn’t particularly stand out as it uses a ton of stock footage.  Some of it good, some of it not so much.  But it does pack a lot of great information into 60 minutes from a plethora of knowledgeable experts like Lam, Dr. Krishnendu Ray (Professor, Food Studies, NYU) and Southern Folkways Alliance director, the esteemed food writer John T. Edge.

Food(ography) is a very informative show that is entertaining with a ton of upside.  I can easily see killing a rainy day with a Food(ography) marathon.

3 Responses to Review: Food(ography)

  • ernestine clinton says:

    i love this show!!!!! please continue to have great show. Love your pork show, i am going to make some pigfeet fritters ummmmmmmmm.

  • tom evans says:

    one show had a cake recipe with three types of milk. can you send me the recipe or direct me to it?

    • It sounds like the amazing Latin American dessert called Tres Leches (literally three milks). It is a simple yet brilliant cake which appears in some form in virtually every Spanish speaking country. I don't know what recipe they used but I included one in Third Coast Cuisine. Here it is:
      Tres Leches
      1 cup flour
      2 teaspoons baking powder
      3 large eggs, separated
      1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
      1 cup sugar
      1/4 cup milk
      1 cup heavy cream
      1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
      1 12 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
      1 cup whipping cream
      1 tablespoon Crème de Coconut
      2 tablespoons powered sugar

      Cake-
      Grease a 9 X 9 inch pan and preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat three egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks at medium speed while gradually adding 1 cup sugar. One at a time beat in the 3 egg yolks. Incorporate the flour mixture in four equal steps, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 1/4 cup milk and mix just until blended. Spread the batter into the cake pan evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

      Sauce-
      Combine 1 cup whipping cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk in a bowl. With the cake in the pan, prick it repeatedly with a toothpick roughly an inch apart. Pour the sauce over the entire cake and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

      Whipped topping-
      In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters add the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and the Crème de Coconut and beat to stiff peaks. Cover the cake with whipped topping just before serving.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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