Do you ever sit down in front of a meal, let’s say a burger with fries or Chinese takeout or scrambled eggs with bacon and wonder, especially if you had nothing to do with the buying and cooking of the ingredients, where the hell did it all come from, how did it get to your plate and should you even be eating it? I am amongst the obsessed with the subject and I have an entire fiefdom of causes close to my heart that I will bore anyone to death with if they care to listen. And if they have a lot of time. Most of my co-workers head for the door when I start on why pork is bad, and do you know in what kind of filth are pigs raised, and the amount of antibiotics they are injected with to keep diseases at bay? And what about those poor chickens, kept in vertical coops with the top chicken shitting on the bottom chicken, all the way down the ladder? And shall we mention the bleach in the flour or the pesticides in strawberries – really, it’s a miracle I can still eat. In restaurants, the rest of the table usually cringes when I question the server as to where the meat they serve comes from.
My eating life has recently gotten more interesting thanks to my friend and former colleague Bobby Bognar (and husband of my favourite chef) who, for one, has gotten me to tune in to the History Channel and, two, he now entertains me every week with the program he hosts on Thursday night at 9 pm.
“Food Tech” takes a meal, breaks it apart, and traces back the origins of every single piece – how it’s grown or made or killed, how it gets to your table and how fast. The first episode analyzed a burger and fries and now that I have seen how commercial burger buns are made, I will never look at one the same way again. I thought I knew ovens and conveyor belts but never had I imagined an oven way bigger than my house, or a machine that sprinkles sesame seeds. I might be biased but, besides having fun with the subject matter, I was blown away by Bobby’s presence on the screen – the guy is a natural, funny, articulate, completely at ease, even when forced to wear a series of hairnets every time he sets foot in a factory or other. He was always extremely compelling and entertaining when he ran our daily staff meetings but who knew that the same set of skills would translate so well to the small screen?
What the program might lack in in-depth analysis, it makes up with a fast pace that keeps you interested and watching. So, for all of you who thought the History Channel was an endless series of documentaries on World War II, do me a favor and tune in on Thursday nights. It’s nothing as boring and self-righteous as my rants…