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Jeff Smith -- The Frug -- Dies


Carolyn Tillie
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so many people are willing to overlook the allegations by simply using the "innocent until proven guilty" line. He wasn't proven innocent in a court of law; the statute of limitations had run out

proven innocent when no charges were filed? since when does one need to prove his innocence? isn't it incumbent upon the state to prove some form of guilt?? :rolleyes:

if I ever do use one of his recipes again, I know I won't be able to avoid thinking about his victims

Victims and recipes in the same sentence don't work for me. :sad:

Being convicted in the court of public opinion would make for a lot of otherwise innocent people being found "guilty" ... and I, for one, think with your feelings so close to the surface on this, that you should avoid making anything without first checking the chef/originator's legal records ... looking for alleged convictions prior to making a recipe for my dinner? Nope, takes too damned long .... :wink:

Court TV or eG? you decide ... now I am uncomfortable with making my recipe from Scott Peterson ... should I await a verdict before making it?? :unsure:

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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...and we all know the legal system NEVER fails to prove a person is guilty[cough!...OJ Simpson...cough!].

I'm just sayin', from now on my view of Jeff Smith and his cooking has been changed. And God forbid, if Julia Child or Jacques Pepin or any other luminary be involved with an equally reprehensible scandal in the future (that is covered in all the major media outlets), that will undoubtedly affect my opinion of them as well. I won't go out of my way to dig up dirt on anyone, but at the same time I won't stick my head in the sand either.

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Spent a number of hours going over the evidence, the guy was a pedophile.

He was also a showman and a cook, and knew how to use those qualities.

And I used to enjoy his show.

I am grateful he was never able to abuse my son, and I will assume the sons of those who wax so elegantly about him.

Any child who is sexually molested carries baggage he can never erase.

This guy who abused little boys is dead.

Good.

He will never abuse another child again.

I agree with you Auntdot...abusing a child is a terrible thing: the trauma is something one never forgets and has to deal with the memories almost everyday of their lives. I should know, for this happened to me...

I agree his show was wonderful and got a lot of us interested in food, but his abuse against kids overshadows all the good of Mr. Smith, and as it should.

But I hope he has asked for forgiveness and finds some kind of peace now...

As you can see LurkerLoo, I am one of the few who do agree with you!

Edited by Barb48 (log)

Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique."-Anon

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...and we all know the legal system NEVER fails to prove a person is guilty[cough!...OJ Simpson...cough!].

I won't go out of my way to dig up dirt on anyone, but at the same time I won't stick my head in the sand either.

While I don't think I am "sticking my head in the sand" on this issue, I realize that I need not see the recipe's originator's personal legal file records nor even check his legal "underwear" ...

I simply avoid O.J. now and opt instead for grapefruit juice, on the grounds that I might come into contact with a "freed" murderer's breakfast drink ... :hmmm::laugh:

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I don't think anyone is dismissing the issue the way you think. However, he's dead and us burning our books or flagellating ourselves for being taken in by him will not do a whit of good. It's not like he's somewhere feeling the sting of ostracism. He was out of our lives for decades, due to the allegations, and now that he's out of our lives permanently I see no harm in us remembering his contributions.

In our local paper, around Father's Day, one of the columnists wrote a piece about her father. He'd abandoned his wife and children, was always involved in scurrilous activities, and was pretty much an awful father and role model. However, we were supposed to understand the columnist's need to re-connect with her father, no matter how heinous his actions had been. I think of Jeff Smith as one of my culinary parents, and even if there was a large part of him that was contemptible I cannot dismiss the positive influence he had upon me without burying a part of myself.

Edited by Hest88 (log)
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I don't think anyone is dismissing the issue the way you think. However, he's dead and us burning our books or flagellating ourselves for being taken in by him will not do a whit of good. It's not like he's somewhere feeling the sting of ostracism. He was out of our lives for decades, due to the allegations, and now that he's out of our lives permanently I see no harm in us remembering his contributions.

In our local paper, around Father's Day, one of the columnists wrote a piece about her father. He'd abandoned his wife and children, was always involved in scurrilous activities, and was pretty much an awful father and role model. However, we were supposed to understand the columnist's need to re-connect with her father, no matter how heinous his actions had been. I think of Jeff Smith as one of my culinary parents, and even if there was a large part of him that was contemptible I cannot dismiss the positive influence he had upon me without burying a part of myself.

Nicely put. I commend you for expressing those sentiments so well.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I think of Jeff Smith as one of my culinary parents, and even if there was a large part of him that was contemptible I cannot dismiss the positive influence he had upon me without burying a part of myself.

Hest88, this is so well said. I think that sometimes we (mostly Americans) try to keep ourselves "pure" by cutting off or denying any dark or unhappy associations, even if that means losing the good that comes with them. For those of you who are Christian, aren't you supposed to hate the sin but not the sinner?

I never met Mr. Smith, but I learned a great deal from him. I also understand that he was a kind and generous man. I am very sorry that public television has chosen to eliminate reruns of his excellent shows.

We are all flawed. But he had a gift. His joy for cooking, for food history, and food culture was contagious. It was honest. It was a blessing.

Thank you Mr. Smith.

Emily
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I've read this and other threads about Frug, and I find it quite disturbing that so many people are willing to overlook the allegations by simply using the "innocent until proven guilty" line. He wasn't proven innocent in a court of law; the statute of limitations had run out.

I have several of Frug's books, and I acknowledge his contribution to television cook shows and introducing people to the joy of cooking, but I got a definite creepy feeling when I hauled out some of his books in a fit of nostalgia not too long ago.

Am I the ONLY one who feels this way?

No.

I liked the Frugal Gourmet I saw and heard on TV. I didn't know the person, and if he was a serial child molester in "real life," that's very abominable. So I didn't really know what to post, and until now had kept in mind something my grandmother used to say: "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." That seems especially operative when a person has just died, but I don't feel right about critics of the late Frugal Gourmet being ganged-up on. We don't know a person just because we've watched him on TV. When I was a child, there used to be a TV show for children called Wonderama that was taped on Fridays and ran every Saturday morning (or was it Sunday?) on Metromedia Channel 5 in New York. They had lots of stuff to give away in exchange for mentioning the names of the products and companies on the air, so they had the kids do all kinds of games and races to select the lucky winners. I knew kids who skipped school on some Friday or other to be part of a Wonderama show, but I was too much of a goody two-shoes to do that (and my parents also thought that would have been a frivolous reason to skip school). The host was a man who dressed in a clown suit and he had a very funny and seemingly benevolent TV persona. He was later convicted on numerous counts of child molestation and sentenced to substantial jail time, as I recall . So by all means, praise the Frugal Gourmet you knew from TV, but don't assume he deserves to go to Heaven.

P.S. I notice saultime said some of the same things much more pithily. :biggrin::laugh::raz:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks, Pan. You grounded me from being insensitive about his accomplishments. Your grandma's admonition is the reason I've not posted regarding his passing. He will be judged by a power he cannot hide anything from. I am so glad for all the youngin's he gave a love of food to, but do not mistake him for a sterling personality. Just keep in mind--speaking of clowns--that John Wayne Gacy was a well-respected citizen for over 20 years.

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Just keep in mind--speaking of clowns--that John Wayne Gacy was a well-respected citizen for over 20 years.

Exactly. And some sports personalities who were known for being "nice guys" eventually get arrested for beating their wives' heads in or committing rape. Etc. But we fans didn't know that side of their personalities, because it was their private side. So let's praise the Frugal Gourmet's worth as a TV personality, but let's not go overboard. Allowing ourselves some cognitive dissonance is salutary.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I think almost everyone has said their peace??

well said Pan; for me if there is a God, frug will get his judgement.

Death though can be a bit final.

stovetop

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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I grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet with my dad - it's what I believe started me out as a foodie. When I moved out to go to college, I went down to Pike Place Market and picked up a few of his books in paperback - they were heavy reading for me even as a kid. I love the sense of community, story, and history that goes into his books and anecdotes.

My husband keeps asking why everytime we get out the wok I say "Hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick!". I credit Jeff Smith with making me curious about different foods, and different cultures, and his excellent show for being a centerpoint of some serious father-daughter quality time in my house. When my dad deployed with the Navy, I would turn on the Frugal Gourmet and it was like I was watching it with my dad and we were deciding what to make for dinner. For that, I will always have fond memories of his show.

I would love nothing better than to have his shows on DVD or on the graveyard rotation on PBS or Food Network, but sadly I don't think it will ever happen. I never would have tried variety cuts if it hadn't been for him, or been such a garlic fan. He gave me my first stock recipe, my kale soup recipe (which makes my husband homesick for New Bedford), and made me want to search out farmers markets.

I for one, will miss him, and pass his books to my kids. Any wrong doing on his part is passed, and I will continue to cherish the good in his legacy.

I have an address for his business manager, if anybody would like to write his family a letter as I did telling them how much he meant to me growing up.

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Quote: Any wrong doing on his part is passed,

I would not say for sure that the family's he affected would agree with you!!

However, how productive is it to beat it around even more now that he's passed on? He did good and bad. Let's keep the good and let the bad fade.

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I also enjoyed his show's and have many of his book's.

But based on that I have no idea if he was a good man or bad.

He was very good at his job and portraying to his audience what he wished them to see but as many time's as I watched his show I could not see in his soul or even his living room for that matter.

I admire the man for his work but beyond that if he did do what he was accused of doing he was a very lucky man only to lose his job.

Robert R

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I enjoyed and learned a lot from the Reverend Jeff Smith's TV shows and felt especially connected to him when he stated that the best dessert was a glass of Sauternes. But, if he was a child molester, he should burn in hell.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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The only Jeff I ever met was the Frugal Gourmet on the T.V. I enjoyed his shows and his attitude towards food.His personal life was not a concern of mine but if he did wrong well Im sure he has probably paid some of it back by his gift of giving.

All I can say about people who attempt to degrade this dead mans legacy is to cast the first stone if you are so holy.

We have all done wrong but who is the Judge?

Thanks Jeff for so many good tips and ideas on food!!!!!!!!!!!!!Doug.........

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity!

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All I can say about people who attempt to degrade this dead mans legacy is to cast the first stone if you are so holy.

No-one tried to stone him to death; he died of natural causes. And as far as I can see, everyone has been able to express an opinion about Mr. Smith in his persona of the Frugal Gourmet, regardless of what they think about his private persona. I don't see an "attempt to degrade" here, just a good deal of praise for his Frugal Gourmet persona and a fair degree of concurrent negative remarks about aspects of his private persona.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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:unsure:

I am sure that what ever henious crime Jeff Smith was accused of was just someones attempt to extort money for a celebrity.......since there was no "trail", the man was probably railroaded by some greedy schmuck. I enjoyed the Frugs recipes and his kitchen antics......I at one time has a friend who was bonkers for the Frug.......everything she quoted was from the frugal one......she was a lark and so was Smith. I'll miss him and now I feel doubly bad for never having written him a letter of support, Please forgive me Chef Smith, but know that my love for you shall be in my heart for the rest of my days. :smile::smile:

"We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing"

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And as far as I can see, everyone has been able to express an opinion about Mr. Smith in his persona of the Frugal Gourmet, regardless of what they think about his private persona. I don't see an "attempt to degrade" here,

But, if he was a child molester, he should burn in hell.
I guess that is not "degrading" but it sure ain't exactly nonjudgmental either ... :unsure:

You are right, Pan, as usual, most of the thread was complimentary and entirely correct in praising his work on PBS .. the rest is none of our business really .. when they took his show off the air, that was probably the most degrading part of it for him ... he remains a bright, cheerful memory to me .. all else is merely conjecture ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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