Friday, May 26, 2006

American Idol

This is a post reflecting on the funny culture/food skits on the final episode of American Idol. Apparently one of the contestants had never been introduced to excellent French cuisine or seafood. So of course, Master Wolfgang Puck is invited to teach her to appreciate high cuisine. She grimaced at both the escargot and lobsters (Maine favorite) and seriously looked like someone's putting a gun to her head to try good food. I did not watch all of it but she made one point clear on national TV: I don't eat anything "weird" and I'm damn proud of it. I read in a book that there is an important age range when children are taught to recognize and become familiar with different foods. I suppose the contestant must have been ill-treated when she was a young girl. Either that or her parents are exactly like her and refused to let her try anything. And what good parents would give their children foods that they are unfamiliar with?

Yes, I am a food snob, but if I were invited to such a fine dining experience with Master Puck, I would not question what he is putting on the table. Besides, what is America's fascination with feeding snails to bumpkins? Last summer, I had to witness something similar on the Hilton show which attempted to turn country bumpkins into city-slickers. One of their first tasks? Manage to swallow escargot. I guess the fear factor effect is part of it. TV needs to be entertaining, and what is more entertaining that watching people eat weird foods and nearly die from the experience?

Besides teaching young children about healthy portion sizes, we need to allow them to explore foods outside of the kids meal or kids menu. If I see one more child going to a fancy restaurant for a hotdog, I'm going to give their parents a talk. No, actually, I probably won't. Their parents will say, "but little Johnny only likes hotdogs". Yea, and only the French can stand escargot.

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