A Cook's Tour with Anthony Bourdain
Food Network, Sunday July 24, 2:30 pm or check out his new show No Reservations on the Travel Channel, Monday July 25, 10 pm
Writer/infamous New York chef Anthony Bourdain wholly endears me with his love of booze, cigarettes (two and a half packs a day), and exotic foods. Besides that, his shifty discomfort in front of the camera as he explores exotic locales and cuisines (recently Vietnam, St. Petersburg, and even the mysterious New York City) is utterly charming. Note that in virtually every episode foreign folk tell Bourdain, "this good for hangover." Also, the wiry, terribly dressed Bourdain never hesitates to call foods disgusting or repulsive, but overall he seems to look on the bright side, even if he's scarfing down a live cobra heart.
Food Network, daily 1:30 and 4:30 pm, DVD available for $49.95 at www.foodnetwork.com
While browsing my male "friend's" TiVo programs, I came across a surplus of recordings of a show innocuously titled, Everyday Italian. In a moment of boredom I clicked one on and quickly deduced the reason for his dedication to the show. Boobs. Yep. It's true, for straight men, everything comes back to boobs. Chef Giada De Laurentiis not only has a nice rack sheathed in revealing tops, but she makes great food. Oh that, and eating her delicious creations practically brings the woman to orgasm. If you're a fan of polenta, fettuccine alfredo, rubbed pork roast, and perky tits, this is your program. I should also note that watching Everyday Italian is a way to achieve what George Costanza called the trifecta: food, sex, and television all at once.
Iron Chef America
Food Network, Saturday July 23, 7 and 11 pm, Sunday 3 am and 9 pm, Iron Chef Battle of the Masters DVD available for $21.95 at www.foodnetwork.com
If you've seen the Japanese version you know what the show's about: One of three resident Iron Chefs is chosen to go up against another celebrity chef in a cook off. The chefs are then given the "secret ingredient" that they must incorporate into their meal, and have one hour to create it. This show is extra hokey with several commentators reporting from around the cavernous "Kitchen Stadium," and an overly serious chairman who alternates between making serious statements and doing martial arts. Much like a sporting contest there are moments of fear, disappointment, and triumph. Plus scoring calls are made by a bunch of complete morons (in this case, tubby celebrities.)
Caprial and John's Kitchen
OPB, Sunday July 24, 5:30 pm
While I really enjoy Caprial and John's Kitchen, this show makes me never, ever want to be shackled into the confines of marriage. While the couple appears happy enough, Caprial seems like she might be a little bitter to have compromised her cooking integrity (and control freakism) by giving her hubby a spot on the show. Her internal battle is evidenced by her constant correcting and subtle belittling of John in the kitchen. When John tries to suggest an alternate spice for the ribs or a liqueur for the chocolate fondue, Caprial is quick to dismiss amateur choices, making John look like a total putz. Lately though, John's been fighting back without words by looking extra ripped in his pec-hugging T-shirts. For ladies considering marriage, or worse, going into business with your hubby, watch a few episodes before you bite the bullet.