From Scratch

Inside the Food Network
by Allen Salkin
First sentence: “Before there was a Food Network, there was no Food Network, or even a world in which it was obvious that there ought to be a Food Network.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: It’s a non-fiction book, so there’s that. And people don’t always talk nicely, and Salkin didn’t do anything to prettify it, so there’s a lot of swearing, including f-bombs. It’s in our film/TV section of the bookstore.

I picked this up because I have watched Food Network in the past (back when I lived in Mississippi and Arkansas) and I was, well, curious to see what Salkin had to say about the behind the scenes goings-on at the network.

The thing is: this wasn’t. Not really. It was a little bit: there were stories of how Alton Brown and Rachel Ray and Paula Deen and Emeril and Bobby Flay all got their shows, but it was more the story of the network as a whole.

Which means there was an awful lot about the whole business of the network. Getting it started, ad revenue, selling it, CEO changes, programming…. all of which is behind the scenes and dishy, but none of which I was interested in.

So, in truth, I actually ended up skimming this one, looking for the “good” bits (read: the stuff I was actually interested in), and then just kind of petering out near the end. I guess I wanted more gossip. (I suppose that say something about me.)  It wasn’t a badly written book, and I think someone who is interested in the business of television, or is interested in the Food Network and doesn’t mind the business of television would actually really like this one.

That someone just wasn’t me.

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