She Works Hard for the Money

In my last post (really? August 24th? Whoops.) I ranted on about how bloggers shouldn’t solicit or accept payment for endorsed posts on their own blogs. And I still firmly believe that. But there is a way for bloggers, especially those with a specific area of expertise, to work with companies and corporations, and that is as a consultant. The oft-touted theory of “I deserve to be paid for my time and effort” doesn’t ring true when you’re being paid to say nice things about a product on your own blog, but when a company comes to you, asking for your help with something they’re producing, you most absolutely deserve to be paid a fair price for your work.

I bring this up now because I have been contacted, yet again, by a corporate entity that expected me to “help” them for free.

The person in question represented a very well-known show on the Food Network. The host of this show has a product line and endorsement deals. Their show is aired internationally. It is safe to presume that the major players involved are making a decent amount of money.

The request I received was for me to call the show’s researcher (long distance) and advise on some places in the Toronto area that would be appropriate for the show to visit on an upcoming trip here. I am familiar with the show only peripherally; I watched part of an episode once and didn’t much care for it, and since we cancelled our cable about six months ago, I haven’t watched anything on the Food Network at all. So I calculated how much research I would have to do to learn about the show and the types of places they covered, as well as how much work I’d have to do to come up with a short list of places that would be appropriate, and I replied via email stating a rate for my consulting services.

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Lucky Dip – Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Dear fellow fatties, join me in gesturing, “Price Is Right”-style, at a new program for determining health risks related to weight that says exactly what we’ve all been saying for years – WEIGHT IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF HEALTH. Fat folks can apparently be just as healthy as skinny folks, and, I know, surprise, just as smart when it comes to knowing their own level of well-being. [Toronto Star: HealthZone] [Globe and Mail] [National Post] [Toronto Sun – avoid the comment section here; the trolls are out in full force.]

Also, enjoying and savouring an occasional cupcake or hotdog is better than wracking yourself with guilt over it. The news is awesome today, isn’t it? [National Post]

Wait, if Canada’s version of the Food Network is “better” than the US station (and okay, Martin Picard does make a difference), why are we still getting all the crap shows from the US? Also, we’ll trade you 3 Canadian food network “celebrities” of your choice if you give us David Rosengarten (who is no longer on the Food Network, which is a crying shame.) [Village Voice: Fork in the Road]

The 411 on lactose intolerance; the least fun you’ll ever have while drinking a milkshake. [Globe and Mail]

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Dumb and Dumber

One of my first posts when I started up this journal was about how I hated the Food Network, about how I thought it was becoming insipid and fluffy and annoying.

Turns out I’m not alone. Bill Burford of the New Yorker has written a piece for the latest issue on the dumbing down of the Food Network.

What’s really sad is that genuinely talented chefs with information and skills and techniques to share, chefs such as Sara Moulton, Anthony Bourdain and David Rosengarten, are being pushed out by talentless hacks with a schtick. There should be no comparison whatsoever between Moulton ands someone like Rachael Ray, yet the viewing audience would rather watch Ray unwrap packages of cooked ham and pound skinless bonelss chicken breasts into tasteless goop. I don’t get it.

That’s not true, actually, I do. Because the world of cooking is a lot like the world of fashion.

Bear with me for an explanation.

Both are necessities – we have to eat and, in most cases, we have to wear clothes. Just as there are fashionistas who buy designer gear or spend hours or even days creating an outfit, the same goes for foodies. Some of us will hunt for the perfect purse, some of us will hunt for the perfect cheese.

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Channel Surfing

Somewhere in the transfer of cable services from home A to home B, we ended up with a bunch of cable channels we didn’t have before. Besides the fact that we are cheapasses and refuse to pay for a bunch of channels that we mostly don’t watch, we made the well-thought-out decision to cancel all but basic cable a few years back for one specific reason.

I yell at the Food Network.

Honestly, I am flabberghasted that there are unsuspecting housewives out there, tuning in to the Food Network, thinking that they’re going to get decent advice on anything to do with cooking.

(NOTE – with the possible exception of Alton Brown. He’s an alright guy.)

Of course, the extra channels that we are now burdened with include the Food Network, and I have quickly gotten sucked in again. It’s been a few years, so many of the faces are new (although I see that BAM! guy is still there, mucking things up), but it’s reassuring to see that one can get a job hosting a cooking show without any damn idea of how to cook. Note that many of the people I mention below appear on the Canadian Food Network so you US folks might not recognize everyone. [1]

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