I'm not a fan of the show "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" on Food Network. The show is emblematic of what has happened to the network in general. Years ago you used to be able to watch it and actually learn things from chefs like Ming Tsai, Mario Batali, and even (sometimes) Emeril. My whole interest in cooking, believe it or not, started 9 years ago when I saw Emeril make some beer battered onion rings and I thought 'hell, even I can do that...'
Then, somewhere along the way, things changed. Rachel Ray started showing how to eat in certain locations for $40 per day (apparently it involves stiffing servers on the tip, which is especially funny in episodes in the Hamptons or Telluride where she goes shopping for hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars worth of stuff.) Several shows sprouted up demonstrating how to do things cheaply, even if it meant using sub-par ingredients. Now it seems like almost every show is either a travel show, reality show, or a show that, instead of trying to expand the home cook's skills, strives to limit them.
"Throwdown" is a classic example. You do not learn anything from the show, which is a shame, because in every episode Bobby challenges someone who has mastered a particular food or drink. Presumably there is a lot that we could learn. But we don't. So I never watch the show. But I was turning around the other night after a baseball game and saw that they were making crab cakes.
My friend, with whom I was watching tv, remarked that she loves crab cakes, as do I. So I decided to cook some for dinner the next night. I bought some "Chinese coleslaw" (I'm not quite sure why it's called that) from Bristol Farms and cooked some tater tots that were in the freezer (I was watching the baseball game and that seemed easier than making homemade fries.) The crab cakes can't compare to ones I have had on the East Coast, but they were pretty good. The white wine we had with dinner was not so good, though. I guess crab cakes and tater tots should have been served with beer. (Not that that is an expert opinion; I often think my morning Flintstones vitamins should be served with beer.) Still, it was an absolutely gorgeous evening and it's always fun to cook something different.