Alice Waters' Worst Nightmare

Just thought I would share this angry letter I wrote to the Food Network this week regarding some of their new programming... Dear Food Network,

I am an avid viewer and fan of your programming, an aspiring food writer, and a lover of food. I often make recipes by Giada, Barefoot, and Anne Burrell. Regardless of what my idol, Tony Bourdain, says about your network, I remain a loyal viewer and defender. However, I was completely dismayed when I recently tuned into an episode of your new show, Hungry Girl. The chef was making her "Fettuccine Hungry GirlFredo," a supposedly healthier version of Fettuccine Alfredo. What appalled me was the list of ingredients in her health food version: tofu noodles, fat free sour cream and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Laughing Cow cheese is a pre-packaged, highly processed cheese product. I love that the Food Network always advocates using fresh, real produce and ingredients, and I find it to be frankly insulting to the intelligence of your viewer to suggest that anyone watching the show would satisfy a craving for creamy pasta with this sad imitation containing microwaved tofu noodles and waxy, tasteless faux cheese. This recipe flagrantly promotes everything that turned us off to "health food" in the first place, back in the '90's when we were taught that anything "fat free" was guilt-free, regardless of how many preservatives or how little taste that food product contained. As a country, we're now moving away from that mentality with the farm-to-table movement, and this program has it backward.

It seems that all of your other chef/hosts know what any real food lover knows: that fresh produce and a little bit of real food, whether it's cheese or pasta or anything else that has integrity of ingredients, beats the processed stuff any day. If you want to give Tony Bourdain fodder for claiming that your network appeals to the lowest intelligence and taste level of the American public, then surely this new program is the best example. I would appreciate seeing the Food Network get back on track with programming that teaches America how to make real, nutrient-filled foods taste good with authentic recipes that aren't dumbed down. I am a lover of your content, but seeing that recipe come together was honestly disgusting--I had to change the channel after the first ten minutes.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best, Jessica