F(ood)TV

Why is it that I always find it the hardest to start and finish my essays? It’s much easier to write on here so that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll just call it warm up for my essay writing. If you smell horse shit, well… okay, yeah. I concede.

If you’re in Australia and don’t live in a cave, you’ll notice that the entire nation is riveted by Australia’s own cooking reality show, Masterchef. I wasn’t in the country to watch the first season, and when I checked it out on YouTube, there were about 300 episodes or something crazy like that and I thought to myself, do I really want to dedicate that much time on low quality, online streamed video? No.

But I’d heard so much about this show from my friends. One friend even sent me the entry form and I heard more than once that I should join the competition but I honestly think I’d flunk out during the first challenge. Trust me, I’m not a skilled cook. I’m like the amateur amateur cook.

I’ve enjoyed watching this show, though. The best part is that it’s on TV almost every night (how addictive is that?!) and there are some quality characters to hate and others worthy of cheering on. I’m aware it’s all reality TV which means a heavy hand in editing to get the perspective the producers want but goodness, the amount of crying that goes on! My friend Andrea calls this season Mastersook and rightfully so! I’ve never seen so many people get so emotional about cooking.

I’ve already picked out my favourites: Alvin because he’s got a Malaysian background and he made drunken chicken last night, which is one of my favourite dishes. All he has to do now is make Black Vinegar Pork Trotter and I’ll write him a love poem. Jake and Marion are also the ones I clap wildly and whoop pretty loudly for. Can you tell I’m a real joy to have as a TV buddy?

I’m not sure if I truly like the show or if I only like it for its entertainment factor. I make a lot of snarky remarks while watching and sometimes I laugh so hard that I miss entire food tasting sessions because some people are so ridiculous! I’m not a fan of the judges babying the contestants either. I may be a cynic but they don’t need that much encouragement, do they?

I was just thinking that maybe a Masterchef Drinking Game is in order. Take a shot of liquor for every time:
+ a contestant cries
+ there is mention of a family member
+ a judge gives encouraging comments despite inadequacies and failure that the contestants should be chastised for
It’d be the most effective method of getting drunk.

I’ve also been fixated with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. I think it’s admirable what Jamie’s doing to improve the food that kids get in school. I’m not sure if the food I got as a student in Malaysia’s public school was better or worse, but I’m pretty sure it’d make Jamie pretty upset, too. The amount of oil and carbohydrates that are in foods in Malaysian school canteens; the lack of greens and all the deep-fried snacks is pretty revolting. The one redeeming quality is we always had a fruit stall with fresh, cut fruits in little plastic bags for really cheap and I always had them whenever I was peckish. Our food was also made fresh on the premises and it wasn’t frozen food or pre-packaged garbage. It’s just the dishes that were made aren’t too healthy an option anyway.

I recommend signing Jamie Oliver’s petition if you believe in what he’s doing. He’s even got a link on there for you to sign if you’re not from the USA. I’m all for good, fresh foods. Change has got to start somewhere and I believe once the ball starts rolling, it will spread out globally. If you get a chance to catch any of the Food Revolution episodes, you should watch it. It’s a real eye-opener. I actually hope it gets out onto DVD so I can start spreading it out to people!

Of course I’m a massive fan of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Who wouldn’t be? I enjoy living vicariously through this brave man with a stomach of steel. Sometimes I watch in sick fascination, but most times I watch in envy. However, I think it’s his unique and hilarious narrative I enjoy best.

This season has been amazing. He did another episode of Food Porn, which made me wish jumping into a TV screen was possible like in Last Action Hero. Or at least being able to taste the food by licking my screen. Someone should really look into making that possible.

Then there was this episode:

You can watch the following parts on YouTube. My favourite quote from the episode was obviously, “Basically, the excruciating pain you feel when you sink your knife into your thumb, a lot of the pain comes from the knowledge that you’re really an idiot.

Finally, my favourite of favourites: Top Chef. I first discovered this reality TV competition about two years back when I had Foxtel IQ and they were showing season 3 and Hung stole my heart with his Smurf Village.

You gotta love a chef with crazy wit and creativity! After catching a few episodes, I ended up programming my Foxtel to record every single Top Chef episode so I think I caught season 1-3 then because Foxtel is a bazillion years behind, obviously.

Most people outside the US don’t seem to know what the show is about, which is a shame, because it’s excellent. I guess an accurate comparison would be to say it’s Project Runway but for chefs. Again, it’s reality TV so I take the editing with a huge grain of salt, especially when it comes to showcasing personalities, but the skill and talent is impressive and after you’ve watched this, you can’t help but feel irritated by the contestants on Masterchef. (I have to remind myself constantly that Masterchefs are amateurs but honestly, sometimes it’s pure common sense that seems to evade them!)

The spin-off, Top Chef Masters is seriously good too. It’s a more respectful competition rather than a get-outta-my-way-or-I’ll-slice-you competition style as the former and there’s a lot more friendly help and advise provided than sabotage. This warms my cold, catty heart despite my loud snorts of disgust at the tearful babies on Masterchef.

Another perk is the recaps off Please Pack Your Knives And Go. Such wicked sense of humour! I don’t advise reading it at work because your boss might get suspicious when you howl with laughter. Jacey gave me a sanity-questioning look when I let out an uproarious, thigh-slapping-laugh whilst browsing the blog the other day. No judging my (COUGHendearingCOUGH) eccentricities.

I’m now getting pretty excited about another Top Chef spin-off, Top Chef: Just Desserts. There’s hardly enough pastry dedicated television despite all the food programs on TV and it’d be especially fun to see it in a competition setting.

Pst! The good thing about these shows are the gorgeous men that look more delicious than the food they plate up. There’s something innately sexy about a man who knows his way around food, don’t you think? They inspire my friends and I to get creative with our food-based sexual innuendos. I’d type them out, but they are shockingly filthy. We’re just putting our Arts degrees to good use ;)

This has reminded me of the most hilarious ads that have me in hysterics every time they come on, which I shall leave you with. Enjoy!

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