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Mis-Information on Food Network


markk
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Let me start by saying that I know that it's my own fault for watching a Rachel Ray program! I saw that an episode of $40 A Day was featuring a few places in Miami that I'm interested in, so I taped and watched it, though I don't know how recent the episode may be. Still...

She announces that she's craving Stone Crabs, and goes to Captain Jim's Seafood for them.

She has a brief conversation with the owner about how the fish in the case was caught by their own boats the night before, and then the camera slowly shows everything in the case, during which she gives a narration, which was clearly done in post-production, because there's background music instead of the ambient noise from the restaurant. As the camera pans all the different fish, she identifies them correctly - until the very end, that is. The camera shot starts on a grouper, and as it shows each different fish, she says, "I see grouper, snapper, oysters, yellow tail, sea bass, cracked conch..." and then they finish on a bushel of live, and very lively blue crabs, and she says, "... and my favorite, stone crabs!"

Of course, if they were stone crabs, not only would they look totally different, they wouldn't have them whole (!!) and they wouldn't have them alive (!!!), because only the claws are harvested, and cooked, at sea. And by the way, when they panned the seafood case, there were cooked stone crab claws next to the cracked conch.

They recommend the crabs garlic-style, and they take her in back and let her pick her own, from a bucket of very feisty live blue crabs. Then they steam them, and toss them with garlic butter. They're very large specimens by the way, and probably have a nice amount of jumbo lump and backfin meat. She breaks off a tiny pincher (claw), with perhaps a fraction of an ounce of meat, certainly the least desirable part of the blue crab, and thinks she's in heaven.

Does she not know the difference between Blue Crabs and Stone Crab Claws? Does nobody at the Food Newtork?

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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My whole household cringed when Rachel said "ore-gone". If you're going to go to a place and do a whole show on it, wouldn't it be a good idea to learn how to say the name of the place in a way that won't offend all the locals? (Oregon sounds like or-eh-gun.) At least Bobby Flay got corrected and had a good laugh about it. Willa-mette? What ever. (Will-am-et for those not local and wondering.)

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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On one hand, you'd expect shows produced by a major cable network to have their facts checked. None of these examples are particularly egregious, but they probably should have been caught during editing.

On the other hand, piling on Food TV and RR in particular seems to be the new co-ed sport du jour, so I'm not surprised that this thread has popped up.

Tony says she's bad, so she must be bad. Maybe there'll be a new blog entry on Ruhlman's site about it.

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On one hand, you'd expect shows produced by a major cable network to have their facts checked.  None of these examples are particularly egregious, but they probably should have been caught during editing.

On the other hand, piling on Food TV and RR in particular seems to be the new co-ed sport du jour, so I'm not surprised that this thread has popped up.

Tony says she's bad, so she must be bad.  Maybe there'll be a new blog entry on Ruhlman's site about it.

Yeah, I flipped out when the Deane Brothers visited Milwaukee. They went to my hometown, Racine, a place know for outrageous Danish pastry (in particular kringle). They said outloud "you can only get kringles in Milwaukee!"

Stupid or careless?

RR also mentioned Cambidge university in Cambridge, MA in the same breath as MIT and Harvard.

I think there may be a Cambridge College there, but it's no MIT or Harvard!

As a writer, if I made these 'errors" my head would be on a plate and my job out the window!

We deserve better.

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oh my god they're so stupid on TV shows when they make editing and post-production decisions that include mistakes or incorrect narration that about 0.0001% of the viewership care about or even notice!!! they must not know a stone crab from a blue crab! oh man.

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Just for the record, much of the voice over is done on the fly, at least half mine was done in an office or hotel room...with no video....it takes a very long time to edit things....it could be that an editor did not know something and put a different image in where the voice over said something else...that said, we were very very careful to check our facts on Hungry Detective....but I do see how things like that can happen...

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Hey guys - you know it is difficult - but I figure that the people on this site are REAL food people - While Rachel has "Worked herself up through the ranks" don't watch - I don't I find the food network in general a laughable joke anymore. Only a couple shows are worth anything. Hers appeals to a simple audience - not pros. I certianly know that the pros screw up too - I don't watch Emeril - but I have seen him screw up cooking - the man knows what he is doing and you know - shi- happens.

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On one hand, you'd expect shows produced by a major cable network to have their facts checked.  None of these examples are particularly egregious, but they probably should have been caught during editing.

When it's a show about food, and food in Miami, I think getting stone crabs and blue crabs confused is a big mistake.

The Food Network is, of course, trying to appeal to the masses, but these shows can be accurate at the same time. And maybe in time the simple masses won't be so simple food-wise and will be an even better audience for them. In sportscasting I know that often there is a person in charge of sports statistics giving accurate info to the on-air sportscasters. Can you imaging if they got Joe Montana's or Mickey Mantle records wrong? Shows about food should be accurate about food.

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I should think that any of "the masses" who happened to watch this episode and also happen to live in the very populous state of Florida all had a serious WTF?! reaction to the stone crab thing. And that's not even counting the millions of Americans who vacation in Florida and eat the hell out of some stone crab claws every ($30/ lb.) chance they get.

PLUS the folks who live on the Eastern seaboard and eat blue crabs all the time. That's a significant enough portion of the TV-viewing public to make RR's and FTV's mistake a particularly egregious one. For crying out loud.

That is really pathetic, and I do think it's valid to criticize Food Network for being so freaking negligent.

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I should think that any of "the masses" who happened to watch this episode and also happen to live in the very populous state of Florida all had a serious WTF?! reaction to the stone crab thing.

That is really pathetic, and I do think it's valid to criticize Food Network for being so freaking negligent.

I know I caught it. I understand how these things can happen as Chris pointed out but that's why there are editors.

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Let me think? When was the last time I considered Racheal Ray an authority on anything edible? ...Right around the time I considered her a credible cook- that's right - never. I don't watch her shows, I don't read her books. Misinformation on her show? Come on, what did you expect? :biggrin:

Kate

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As a writer, if I made these 'errors" my head would be on a plate and my job out the window!

We deserve better.

In the case of the crabs, it seems fairly likely the mistake was that of a film editor or producer rather than Rachel Ray, and for all we know the responsible party may well have been disciplined if the mistake was brought to the attention of his or her superiors.

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Maybe, but this was a repeat airing, and they should have fixed it with a quick dub if they found it, or if they cared.

I certainly wasn't going to waste any of my time writing to them about it. A few years ago, I found a much more serious journalistic mistake in USA Today (forgive me again for thinking it might have some journalistic integrity) and found that they didn't care either.

They had a 2-page spread on The Sandwiches That Define Our Cities, and chose one sandwich to represent the largest city in each state, and told where to get the best one.

For New York City they chose the Rueben. (But... hold that thought! Whether that's the right choice isn't the point here.) They said that the best Rueben in NYC was at the Second Avenue Deli, and described it as piled high with juicy corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. Sadly for journalism, the Second Avenue Deli was kosher and didn't have dairy in the place, and they never had a Rueben sandwich in the place or on the menu! And, they were not happy when I called them to confirm this after reading the story (I called in case I had lost my mind) - but of course they confirmed that they don't have a Rueben Sandwich on the menu, never did, and never could.

So how was the reporter saying she'd had one there, and describing how high it was piled with cheese and corned beef? I wrote to them and informed them of this mistake, and asked if they made up the rest of the news as well, but they never answered. I actually wrote more than once, making my letters very clear that they were not for publication, but were requesting a reply. I wrote to several editors there. And nobody answered.

What was I thinking? What did I expect?

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Maybe, but this was a repeat airing, and they should have fixed it with a quick dub if they found it, or if they cared.

It could be post-production corrections aren't in their budget. I suppose that's still a black mark, but it's a black mark against Food Network's higher ups rather than the staff of an individual show.

The USA Today thing is pretty lame.

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She announces that she's craving Stone Crabs, and goes to Captain Jim's Seafood for them. 

They recommend the [bLUE] crabs garlic-style, ...She breaks off a tiny pincher (claw), with perhaps a fraction of an ounce of meat, certainly the least desirable part of the blue crab, and thinks she's in heaven. 

Does she not know the difference between Blue Crabs and Stone Crab Claws?  Does nobody at the Food Newtork?

so maybe she meant to say "blue crabs are my favorite"? that would be the eastern shore of maryland show, though... if she meant (florida) stone crabs - why didn't they make her a plate of stone crab claws? if she wanted blue - why didn't she rip that puppy in half and eat the good stuff?

sounds to me like she wanted a regional speciality, but also needed the restaurant to do more than toss some already cooked food onto a plate, so they blended. deliberately. the truly strange thing is her eating the claw of the blue as though it were a stone - that's not an editing issue, it's a recognition issue.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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RR also mentioned Cambidge university in Cambridge, MA in the same breath as MIT and Harvard.

I think there may be a Cambridge College there, but it's no MIT or Harvard!

Ok, that just made me dislike Rachel Ray even more, but it's like people getting Cornell University confused with Cornell College. Grrrr. One good thing about moving to Asia is that I'm not forced to see any Rachel Ray show.

I like my cooking shows to be factually correct. I don't want people around me to spout "facts" that are wrong and claim it's right just because they saw it on tv. They have rather a limited knowledge on food already, and I wouldn't like it if their knowledge is false either.

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we were going to bed. i swear. i flipped to FTV just to see, and it was her, the bane, in antigua. we honeymooned there last year and felt compelled to watch...the train wreck.

my takeaway from the show was this; la ray (and certainly her producers) are in no way making a travel show. they juxtaposed several locations - some 30 minutes away from one another (leading my husband and i initially to question our sanity and run to google for a little fact checking) without any VO noting "take a short cab to historic nelson's dockyard..." any well-meaning person watching this show and thinking - hey - antigua, let's go there - and expecting what RR presented would be totally baffled. i can just picture joe and mary average re-looking at their expedia itinerary, and then at downtown st. john in incredulity.

lots of tight shots and clean streets...many ridiculous shots and a 5 minute description of what looked like a very average (thai!!) green curry cooked for english tourists. and i can't even think about the whole gelato incident. no breadfruit, no codfish & ackee...instead we got, "a little bit of italy." excuse me, i need to cut myself.

we loved our visit, and frankly, i think FTV is insulting not only antiguans but also the average's with their portrayal. i mean, seriously - it's an island of black people - is that so distasteful for FTV to show?

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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I'm going to try to offer a solution, now I don't know,but rock crab but when you think about it, is it camera friendly, does it look good on camera. Chances are if it does not it would be swapped out for something that is. I don't think that Food Network could have made a mistake like, doesn't seem feasible.

Edited by Multiwagon (log)

16 years old and in love with cooking, you'll hear about me in the future. ;)

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What was I thinking?  What did I expect?

Many years ago I spent a fair chunk of time on the phone with an editor at the major Houston paper (the Chronicle?), which ended up in a loop in which he would agree that I was an expert on the subject of the article, and he was not, but then immediately deny that it was possible that I had spotted a factual error in the article that he had missed.

Reading articles on a subject you know well is a great way to calibrate how much trust you should give the paper...

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misinformation is not limited to FN. While scanning the channels the other night I saw one segment of Everyday Food. The host John Barricelli was preparing a skirt steak and says correctly, you have to slice this across the grain or else it will be tough while he slices it definitely with the grain into short 2" sections. Maybe it looked better that way and they told him to do it for the visual effect but anyone who was watching to learn would end doing it wrong.

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  • 2 weeks later...

the problem w/ some thing like Rachael Ray's (or any similar) mistake--whether it be intentional or not--is that it is taken as gospel by the casual watcher. When Mr & Mrs. casual watcher walk in to a restaurant and ask for stone crab and are given some thing that does not resemble what they saw on television they think they are getting cheated. Mr & Mrs casual watcher then tell every one that the restaurant tried to cheat them (and we all know that television never lies!) and the restaurant gets an un-deserved reputation b/c of the customers' ignorance. Mean while Rachael Ray and Mr & Mrs casual watcher continue on their merry way blissfully and uncaringly spreading mis-information and causing problems for those trying to get it correct (and who are Mr & Mrs casual watcher going to believe? the well-known food personality or the restaurant).

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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