Alton Brown In A Twitter Scuffle With Mark Bittman
Noted chef and television presenter Alton Brown indulged in a Twitter scuffle with a newspaper columnist recently over the significance of cooking shows on television. Cookery shows are one of the most popular television programs since millions of people learn to cook watching these shows. However, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman is not one of them. For him, the food television programming is “all competition, cleavage, nastiness.” Quite a harsh judgment there and not everyone is agreeing with him.
1) Bittman’s Bite
Bittman got together with Times critic Ruth Reichl for an interview and said all the nasty things about television food programs. Both of them agreed that cooking and television shows were not made for each other. This is what Bittman said, “This whole thing ‘in order to cook, you have to be a chef’ has got things all backwards. The vast minority of people who cook wind up being chefs. No where else in the world, except for the West right now, would anyone ever think that cooking and being a chef was synonymous. There is that tendency around television. Books are a small part, television is really -- if ‘blame’ is to be cast television is to blame for that.”
2) Alton Brown Shot Back at Bittman
Among those whose feathers Bittman and Reichl have ruffled with their remarks against food television is Food Network giant Alton Brown. Brown’s show “Good Eats”, well into its second season, talks about the science behind cooking, food history and cooking equipment and their uses. Among the very first reactions that Brown gave in this regard, there is a tweet from his Twitter handle, @altonbrown, in which he says, “To the thousands who've told me you learned to scramble eggs from Good Eats, the shocking truth: you didn't!” He made this tweet on April 12, 2012.
3) Brown’s Twitter Barrage
However, he didn’t stop at that. His Twitter account was buzzing with Brown’s venomous and satirical remarks against Bittman’s take. Sample a few:-
- Very good cooks who are employed as "chefs" rarely refer to themselves as "chefs". They refer to themselves as "cooks".
- The worst food you'll ever eat will probably be prepared by a "cook" who calls himself a "chef". Mark my words.
- I guess I should feel grateful that Mark Bittman has erased any illusions I may have had regarding Good Eats as a teaching vehicle.
- Because we now know definitively that you can't learn cooking from television. Dang.
4) Taste of his own Medicine
He may be one of the prominent culinary movers and shakers of America, but Alton Brown has had his own share of scuffles too. It is not as if Brown has not ruffled feathers on his part. Not quite long ago, Brown launched a full frontal attack on poor Adam Richman, the rolly-polly host of the show with gigantic proportions of food, Man vs. Food (MvF). About the show, Brown said in an interview, “That show is about gluttony, and gluttony is wrong. It’s wasteful. Think about people that are starving to death and think about that show. I think it’s an embarrassment.” Richman responded by saying, “Alton Brown: MvF is about indulgence – NOT gluttony- & has brought loads of biz to Mom-n-Pop places. You were my here, sir. No more.”
While everybody, whether a celebrity or not, has an opinion on Television programs, especially food shows, listening to two celebrities battling it out on the social media over trivial issues is hardly entertaining. What do you think?