Friday, November 21, 2014

Previewing Eat: The Story of Food

Food: some think about it too much while others it is nothing more than fuel, something to power us through the day. But no matter who you are, you eat it and need it to survive. For me, I am more on the latter side of the equation and really have no interest in all the television shows on the subject. I never understood what the enjoyment of a cooking show is if you cannot eat the finished product at the end of the episode and watching other people "judge" the food even more cruel.

While watching other people cook food may not pique my interested, I am a bit fascinated by the science and history behind food. The National Geographic Channel is looking into those this weekend with their six part seriesEat: The Story of Food starting tonight at 9:00. The series conducted interviews with nearly seventy chefs, authors, food experts, and food scientists including Padma Lakshmi, Rachael Ray, and Anna Boiardi (her family's famous product is spelled more phonetically).

The first episode deals with the "Food Revolutionaries" from Julia Child to Christopher Columbus, yes the guy credited with discovering America. What is sometime forgotten is the very reason he sailed the ocean blue was to find an easier way to transport spices from India but ended up discovering a new spice in the new world: the chili pepper. Food historians also credit food with the creation of capitalism, New Amsterdam becoming New York, and World War II inadvertently launching Chef Boyardee into grocery shelves everywhere.

The second episode will hit close to every grillers heart (and will want to be avoided by vegetarians), "Carnivores." The hour looks into why we eat the meats we do and why we avoid some others most Americans would find disgusting unless maybe they were avid watchers of Fear Factor. The hour also delves into some "meats" me may be better off not knowing about like the hot dog and chick nugget.

Other episodes include "Sugar Rushes" looking at the history of one of our dietary obsession dating back 10,000 when the sugarcane was first farmed. "Sea Changes" looks at the food we fish out of the oceans. "Guilty Pleasures" at processed food and why we just cannot eat one Pringle at a time. The series closes out with "Staffs of Life" looking at the rise of grains that helped up ditch the hunter / gatherer era to a more stationary age.

Eat: The Story of Food airs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel. If that is not enough food on television for you, the National Geographic Channel is premiering two new series this Monday, Eric Greenspan Is Hungry at 10:00 followed by Chug at 10:30.