I’ve Done It Again

Reprint of a wonderful 2010 article by Ron Cruger from “The Spectator”…
        When I first heard, in 1993, that a television channel would be exclusively devoted to food and cooking I turned to my wife and said, “Boy, those suckers are in for a terrible disappointment. They won’t last a month. Who is going to watch someone peel potatoes or sauté liver on television?”
        Well, I’ve done it again, Stanley!next_food_network_star-logo
After all, who would believe that millions of American men and women would sit still, hour after hour watching a procession of cooks dice, chop, salt, season, marinate and whisk dishes for their culinary entertainment?
Today, the Food Network is seen in more than ninety million households. Food Network shows are featured on thousands of television screens in airports and hospitals.
Chefs and cooking all- stars have become millionaires. Go to any department or specialty store, check out the kitchenware area and you will be surrounded by pots, pans, knives and assorted cooking implements, all endorsed by the likes of Giada De Laurentis, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Paula Dean.
SOBEWFF: Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael RayFood Network broadcasts are divided into two parts. The daytime section is labeled, “Food Network in the kitchen.” Prime time shows fall into the “Food Network Nighttime,” category. “In the kitchen” is dedicated to the instructional cooking programs, while “Nighttime” features food-related entertainment programs and reality shows.
The channel regularly offers specials which can follow its personalities on working vacations, or bringing together a group of cooking personalities for a themed cooking event.
The growth of the Food Network since 1993 has been one of the great success stories of television.
Young people of both sexes have taken up cooking. Stores like Williams-Sonoma have found a new audience in college age kids interested in the culinary arts.
One of the big stars created by the Food Network is their cross-over star Rachael Ray, who parlayed her cable following through the series “30-Minute Meals” and “$40 a Day,” into a widely watched syndicated talk show.
Chefs present at the 1993 launch were Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali. Now, in addition to the already famous chefs, there are new stars featured on the Network. Starting in 2005, an annual contest, “The Next Food Network Star” has brought viewers to New York City to compete for the right to have their own show. Among the winners were Dan Smith, Steve McDonagh, Guy Fieri, Amy Finley, Aaron McCargo, Jr. and Melissa d’Arabian.
I must admit, I’ve watched Guy Fieri’s show which features Fieri visiting taco and filafel shops and hamburger and hot dog stand, eating his way across the country as he comments on the tastiness of the goods.  And now the Network is expanding around the globe. In November, 2009 it started its UK show and early this year it will debut its Asian model. It is a constant reminder of my “ability” to look into the future and foresee successful businesses when I come home and find the little lady engrossed in her sixth hour of watching the Food Network. She’s been watching Bobby Flay dice an Idaho potato, Giada De Laurentis steam spinach, Guy Fieri gobble down a chili covered hot dog and Paula Dean prepare a dish of grits and brown gravy.
I admit I blew this prognostication. Next, you’ll be telling me that there’ll be a television show featuring Hollywood stars dancing in skimpy costumes. Not a chance it will succeed. I know these things.


Ron Cruger
Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player. Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii). Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger

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