Sunday, November 3, 2013

From Scratch: Inside The Food Network – Allen Salkin (Putnam Books)

Ah guilty pleasures.

It may seem hard to believe that the hulking giant responsible for this review is actually a huge fan of television cooking shows! Just so my man card doesn’t get revoked; I want to be on record very clearly that I love football, hockey, NASCAR and action adventure movies!

So why do I watch the Food Network? Heck, one look at me and you’ll know that I love to eat, so I have to know how to cook too! So I was intrigued when I started reading Allen Salkin’s new book, From Scratch: Inside The Food Network because to be honest, I didn’t know exactly how the network got started. I became a big fan of Emeril, who truly was the network’s first recognizable superstar.

While I’m not certain that there is a whole lot of inside scoop to be had in the pages of From Scratch, it is interesting to see how the network developed from its earliest days and the transition, continuing evolution and its ability to grow a legion of superstar chefs. That title alone, superstar chef, speaks volumes about the personality focus that the network has been able to generate.

Salkin gives interesting insight into Emeril’s departure from the network’s nightly lineup that for whatever reason I didn’t comprehend when it was occurring; he was there one day and gone the next. While I thought it was a case of his status as a superstar plus his growing business interests that was at the root of his departure, this book gives a different side of the story.

 From Scratch: Inside The Food Network makes for an interesting history of the network with just a pinch of behind the scenes machinations to spice things up.


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