While we all love reality television stars and sports commentators, the Food Network provides a refreshing break from this overdone amusement. There’s just something about food that engages viewers. Maybe it’s because of the practicality of cooking, the aesthetics of the food itself, or because it’s a childish attraction to the “Ratatouille” spirit animal inside us all. Still, not all of The Food Network’s shows are worthwhile. Here’s a ranking, from worst to best, of shows about America’s biggest love: food.
- Worst – Frontier Family: The Pioneer Woman, Tuesdays at 1 p.m.
Being down home on the ranch is far from the college experience we have in Miami, so the supposed country branding provided in this show is far from alluring. “Pioneer Woman is actually the worst,” Harlan Pocquette, a UM jazz performance major said. “There are recipes that are stretched into being called pioneer, like Pioneer Gazpacho.”
- Pretty Weird – Guy Fieri shows in general, Mondays at 9 p.m.
Sophomore Daniel Lopez nicknames Fieri’s two shows “Triple G’s and Triple D’s,” because saying the full names of “Diners, Drive and Dives,” and “Guy’s Grocery Games” doesn’t warrant his effort. Not to pick on Mr. Fieri, but he definitely lacks a certain finesse in his treatment of food.
- Writing Down the Recipes – Barefoot Contessa, Mondays at 4 p.m.
When Ina Garten invites viewers into her kitchen, they learn from her greatness. Her recipes are the epitome of delicious, American cooking and they are so easy to follow. She even has some great wisdom to offer: “You can be miserable before you eat a cookie, and you can be miserable after you eat a cookie, but you can’t be miserable while you are eating a cookie.”
- Watch This With Friends – Cutthroat Kitchen, Sundays at 10 p.m.
This show is highly competitive and makes the viewing experience almost like watching sports. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself yelling at a competitor – “That’s too much orange zest you moron!” Bets may even start over which contestant will forget the essential ingredient or under cook their dish.
- The Best of the Best – Chopped, Tuesdays at 12 p.m. and Giada at Home, Mondays at 3 p.m.
There is such a thing as a Food Network fandom, and the majority of these followers love Chopped and adore Giada. Chopped, which has been on air since 2009, challenges competitors to use baskets of mystery foods to create restaurant-quality meals. On a recent episode, the chefs had to use skate wings, pomegranate molasses, purple asparagus and candied sardines. It sounds crazy, but this show inspires viewers to go beyond the typical pantry ingredients. Industrial engineering major Daniel Lopez likes that “you learn about ingredients that you would actually never use.” Giada’s show is more laid back, but her food goes a long way. “The way she presents the food is my favorite part,” said sophomore Kayla Etienne, a biomedical engineering major. “Her recipes are delicious but her arrangements make my day.
words_alejandra bastidas. photo illustration_yili wu.