Each week we take a quick, cautious look at what's going on with televised cooking. This week: Food Jammers, a half-hour show about our Canadian overlords, Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. on the Cooking Channel.
When you first heard the MythBusters cannonball went errant last week, wasn't your life, in that moment, complete? Didn't you get a tiny glimpse of God? It was so beautiful, the way it bounded 700 cinematic yards through a bedroom community in Dublin, over roads and through houses, before smashing through the window of a Toyota minivan and coming to rest in the passenger's side like it was ready to go play miniature golf -- let's go, Dad! When Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are old, hacking together telepathy machines from old crock pots and spent uranium, they'll still be giggling about it.
It was in this spirit that I watched Food Jammers, which was the wrong thing to do. I was swayed by the premise: Food Jammers is about three kids who make very forward-thinking DIY food contraptions, like a taco vending machine and a turkey dehydrator. Of course it's like MythBusters. Ballistics beef or whatever. But something happened along the way. Canada happened.
Not-so-widely-known-fact: A great many Cooking Channel shows are from Canada, because that's how you start a cooking channel. You drive up to Canada and throw money at it. Food Jammers, French Food at Home, David Rocco's Dolce Vita, Everyday Exotic, and Chuck's Day Off are all from Canada. So all of you people who think you're watching cutting-edge cooking on the exciting new Cooking Channel are actually watching old reruns of Canadian TV. Ain't life grand?
In the hosts of Food Jammers, Canada has something as mumbly and undefined as the American hipster. The three of them mumble, seldom altering tone or inflection, almost like they're having a meeting about doing the show while they're doing the show. And the thing about Canadian hipsters who mumble without any real inflection or modulation or any outward-facing vibrancy is that after a few moments you stop trying to catch the words you miss and just gaze at them, wondering who their friends are and what you are doing.
Of course, I clearly watched the wrong episode. I'm pretty certain Food Jammers had an off-night, but so it goes: I limit myself to watching one cooking show per week because THAT IS HOW I ROLL. Instead of making pasta with a car jack (season one) or fabricating that taco vending machine (season two), they made fucking cough drops.
By way of contrast, next week they "build an entire bizarre edible city made of our own homemade chocolate flavors," according to the site. Later "they section a sugar maple, carving each log into food vessels in which to cook." All this sounds pretty good? The episode I watched promised: "Being sick is a drag, so the Food Jammers build their own customized gurney to keep remedies and comfort foods within reach."
How did I fuck this up so badly?
Our editorial guarantee: If a later episode significantly alters our judgment of Food Jammers, provided we watch it (not agreeing to or anything), we'll provide an addendum of sorts somewhere on this Web site, so STAY TUNED FOR THAT. Onto our judgment about Food Jammers:
But how could it not be Zzzz, with a customized gurney and cough drops? If you have a DIY show set in a warehouse you call a "space," full of power tools and a drum set and were those crates of records?, then don't devote all your mumbly efforts to making a slipshod illness gurney like you're 12, with stuff like magazines on ropes and snot towels on other ropes. This is actually what they did. A snot towel and not tissues, because tissues you can dispose of? Also some other stuff but that was the takeaway. Oh, and they made pho, but they showed basically none of the preparation, which, OK, that's probably best.
In the end, the episode turned into a pointless mess, but at no point did the hosts look at the pointless mess and say, like Adam Savage would, "We need C4 and watermelon STAT." Our boys just marched through the dullness, mumbling about herbal remedies and being earnest hipster-like young Canadian people. At one point near the end, it must be noted, all three of them were wearing trucker hats at the same time, although I can truly find no fault with that since this show is a rerun from Canada.
On a positive note, the show is full of indie music, Canadian and otherwise.
Previously, Michael Leaverton watched: