Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dear Food Network

You're driving me nuts with all this talk about nutty flavors!  When one of your shows highlights a rice or a fruit or a cut of meat with "nutty" flavors, there is no indication of what that flavor actually is.  There are whole recipes with nutty flavors that do not call for a single nut.  How can something be nutty and not contain nuts?  Get that Good Eats guy to explain what flavor compounds comprise "nutty" so I can build more dishes that are supposedly nutty and therefore be a better cook (because obviously only the best cooks can prepare nutty foods).

Your chefs constantly talk about nutty rice.  I've cooked quite a bit of rice in my day, and it has never once tasted nutty.  It always tastes... ricey.  Go figure, rice tasting like rice.  I guess that's better than rice tasting like bananas or avocados.  My potatoes don't turn out nutty.  My shortbreads and slow breads and not-so-breads all taste just like they're supposed to as well: not like nuts.

Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios... these things taste nutty.  Brownies with walnuts taste nutty.  There is a distinct "nut" flavor (and crunch!).  Brownies without walnuts do not taste nutty.  This is not a hard concept to explain.

When your hosts describe something as "nutty," are they referring to the Maillard reaction creating something toasty?  Are they explaining the grain-like flavor of a starchy product?  Are they talking about a known flavor compound (like vanilla or almond) that can be added?  Or are they just making it up to sound smarter than the rest of us?

Oh, and while I'm at it, can you please tell your hosts to stop having orgasms on TV.  I realize that the food they are eating is probably fantastic.  I don't really need to know that they're "having a moment" while on TV.  Whatever they're eating cannot possibly be *that* good.

Tired of Nutty Chefs

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