Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Wrote To The Food Network

Yep, I finally did it, and here was the catalyst. As many of you know, I had major spinal surgery this past summer. And lucky me, recovery is going great. I am not 100% , but that is to be expected. On my last doctors visit, they advised me to take a pilates class. Well, due to the fact that I am still unemployed, I thought I would swing by the library and scour their DVD section to see if I could find one on pilates. Low and behold there were none. But I did come across a DVD on raw food. I read Kristen's Raw, but wanted to see real folks in action dealing with raw food. They had people talking about their experiences, and then some recipes. I snatched that bad boy up and home I went. My husband and I both watched and and as always learned tons of new information.

But as I was watching the recipe section of the DVD, it hit me that there was nothing, and I mean zip...nada, zero, zilch, get where I am coming from. But in defense of the Food Network I will say that Ellie Krieger is the closest thing we have to a healthy cooking show. So I sat down and typed out a letter to Food Network. I had Savanah edit it (as I do so many times for her) and she approved. So, print I did and slapped a stamp on thee envelope and it is now sitting in my mailbox, anxiously waiting for Mr Mailman to come and whisk it away.

I wanted you all to see what I wrote them and as soon as I get any word form them I will be posting it here. You always here of people being pro-active and I have envied them for years. Well no longer will I be the equivalent of a letter-writing couch potato. So here goes and hope you all enjoy it, for I certainly did:

Greetings Food Network,

I have been a staunch follower of your network for some time now. I am pleased to say that there is many a show my family and I watch. We also enjoy the diversity of programs you offer until just recently.

I have a 15 year old daughter who is a vegetarian and decided to do so at the ripe age of 8 & ½. Who does that? I, having been vegetarians in the past, supported her whole-heartedly. Her’s was for the reason of the animal cruelty.

So as we sit and watch your channel, it baffles us as to why you do not have any show related or connected to vegetarianism, veganism, raw foodists, macrobiotics. Do not misunderstand me. You offer a wide variety of themed shows, if you will. You have Southern, Italian, semi-prepared, down-home, in your face, ethnic, grilling…the list is endless. And they are a tribute to their cooking abilities. But for those of us who do not consume meat, we can only take meat dishes so far, and then it is a done deal. And in as much as we would like to make meat dishes vegetarian, that is not always possible.

Most people see being a vegetarian as a door closing in the world of cooking. I happen to disagree. We see it as an opportunity to explore new foods that most people have no clue about. I would say the most common question we get asked as vegetarians is, ‘What do you eat?’ And my new-found answer is, ‘Everything you do not!’ And it’s pretty darned accurate. It still amazes me when people have no idea what Swiss chard is, or Cous Cous, or wheat bulgur. Again the lists of food people are clueless about are endless. Omnivores see our lifestyle as a lack of foods, when in all reality is an open door for an abundance of foods.

I do have to give you credit where it is due. We enjoy Ellie Krieger. But she still uses quite a bit of meat in her dishes. And I have heard from those of us who are vegetarians, who do appreciate her show in the fact that she does give us someone to turn to, but rarely.

I think there is a market out there for us. But here is where it gets hairy on your end. Most of the time we as vegetarians are depicted as free loving, dreadlock donning, bare-footed, tie-dyed shirt wearing people. Oh so wrong are we perceived. We are much more than that. We are main streamed people who are trying to fit into an omnivore’s world, (and do quite well if I do say so myself). But what I think we want people to see and understand is that we do not live on tofu and twigs. There is more in our food spectrum then the average public suspects. Our options open up the minute we let go of meat. And trust me when I tell you that my dinner table is loaded with choices. And that even a die-hard meat and potatoes person would be hard pressed to say we have limited choices when it comes to our menu.

I guess what I am asking, is that you take into consideration those of us who chose to leave meat by the wayside when choosing your next new show. There is a market out there and I think you would be surprised to find out just how many of us are out here waiting for the right show to explain to the unsuspecting world what we have to offer as non-meat eaters.

Thank you for your time,
Danette Jalil


Freakmom said...

As newbie Food Network fans I agree with you. It gets tiring to turn it on and find another cow cookoff or see the Iron Chefs slaughtering something in the kitchen. We'd watch even more if we didn't have to turn it off when it is Pork-o-rama night.

p.s. we like the cake challenge shows the best.

River said...

Awesome letter! It would be great to have at least one darn veggie cooking show on TV!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you're recovering well from your surgery! Great letter!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Here's hoping the Food Network changes. They have so much going for them...and we're not asking for much. One little show would be a great start.

Chef Chuck said...

Great Job, You go Girl!!