As many of you may be aware, I am a fan of Alton Brown’s show on the Food Network, “Good Eats.” The man is a genius, really. If you combined his wit and knack for all things food with Giada DeLaurentiis’ looks, you would have a child that could potentially take over the world.
The other night, however, I was struggling with my usual insomnia and, after the late-night Good Eats re-run concluded, “Unwrapped” with Marc Summers came on. For those of you who don’t know, this show covers all the behind-the-scenes info on popular American foods, from the origins of French’s Classic Yellow Mustard to what’s really in Marshmallow Fluff (which we all know is nothing but clouds and cyanide).
Normally, this show is relatively entertaining. If you ever want to know the reasons the Lucky Charms marshmallows are the shapes that they are (I like the pots o’ gold, personally), this would be the show for you. But the episode I was watching – “Cheese Please” – may have just turned a normally cheese-loving awesome guy into, well, just a normal awesome guy.
This episode detailed the secrets behind making goat cheese, cheesecake, and Cheez-It crackers. Now, I love a good goat cheese as much as the next guy, but there’s something about seeing it in still-liquid form in a thousand-gallon metal vat that would turn even Joe Rogan’s stomach.
When referring to the process of making goat cheese, there’s something about the phrase, “Now we dump in the live cultures, and as soon as those start to work, the cheese will start to curdle – kinda like milky Jell-O!” that makes me never want to look at a goat again. Ever. Sorry kids, the petting zoo is out. I hate goats now.
Next up: cheesecake. I like cheesecake, I do. But in my mind, cheesecake is always made by hand, by a bunch of attractive, motherly-looking women with aprons and rolling pins, infusing their cheesecakes with love and blessings for all who may consume them. NOT by a giant machine that spits a big blob of filling into a pre-made crust in one gigantic squirt…200 at a time. Where’s the love? Where’s the blessing?
Finally, Cheez-It crackers. At first I was thinking that seeing little orange crackers in mass quantities – we’re talking feeding all of Africa here – wouldn’t bother me so much. And it didn’t…until they attacked my eyeballs with what the cracker dough looks like before it’s baked. Obviously, it doesn’t start off orange. It starts off white. Fine, it looks like bread dough. But seeing them dump a giant bowl of liquid ORANGE into the formerly normal-looking dough was too much. I don’t think I even heard what was in it. I was too busy contemplating injecting liquid Dawn into my ears in an attempt to wash my brain of the image I had just witnessed. I will never look at a Cheez-It the same again.
I think from now on, I’ll stick to Good Eats. I’ve come to the conclusion that knowing how the majority of my processed food is made is not a good thing. At least I know good old Alton infuses his food with love and blessings.
Now, if he could also infuse it with a little Giada DeLaurentiis, it would be on like Donkey Kong.