Each week we take a quick, cautious look at what's going with food TV. This week, Easter Unwrapped, an hour show that never hurt anybody, April 7 on the Cooking Channel
It would be a crime to critically review Unwrapped, to lay any sort of smothering blanket upon this innocent show, which films factories making the foodstuff I love, with conveyor belts and hair nets and blast ovens and a host who fires puns scattershot over the cable landscape, killing viewers three channels over. You watch this show when you break your foot or are unfit for work. You watch it when you want to steer the couch into a nap. Nobody needs to hurt this show.
Of course, I'm biased. I have a thing about watching proto-foodstuff traveling around on conveyor belts, getting sprayed with additives and sliding through ovens and flopping into ammonia baths and getting clotheslined into their own little cocoons of packaging. I love these machines. These are the most fucked-up machines. Whoever made these machines should explain exactly the thought processes that went into making these machines. Why this curve there? Why this loop de loop? Why four toaster strudels to a row here and only two there? Do you know William Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch on drugs? Because that thing you created that just put together a Fun Dip is both clinically insane and a masterpiece as well.
So to avoid reviewing the holiday episode Easter Unwrapped -- which should never be harmed lest it burst into tears and run off a cliff -- I will instead review the adorableness of the factories that produced the Easter candy in Easter Unwrapped. Willy Wonka, you know? I figured the Russell Stover factory had to be at least marginally adorable, like its candy. I was wrong. The Russell Stover factory is just a factory. It's not very adorable. It's a four on the Easter Adorability Scale. It's an adult rabbit eating food pellets in a Sacto backyard.Easter Adorability Scale: 8: Fuzzy chick in a egg cup surrounded by sweepy kittehs 7: Zooey Deschanel eating a carrot at a bus stop 6: Baby with a Peep stuck to her head 5: Easter egg hunt ending in light tween violence 4: Adult rabbit eating food pellets in a Sacto backyard 3: Egg farm outside Reamstown, PA 2: Donnie Darko bunny sitting behind you in a theater 1: The hanging rabbits of Chinatown In order of appearance on Easter Unwrapped (not to be confused with Unwrapped: Easter Basket, although it should be): Russell Stover: marshmallow bunnies There's a moment when the guy from Russell Stover tells us that chocolate should be aged, which explains a lot about Russell Stover, since every time I eat Russell Stover it tastes like my aunt kept it in a drawer for years. (I only eat Russell Stover when my aunt gives it to me.) ADORABILITY: 4 (adult rabbit eating food pellets in a Sacto backyard) Palmer: chocolate bunnies The factory is just a 4, but when the tanker truck filled with liquid chocolate shows up in the alley out back, Gene Wilder suppresses a fart and boots it up. ADORABILITY: 7 (Zooey Deschanel eating a carrot at a bus stop) Sauders Quality Eggs: eggs Sauders is an egg farm outside Reamstown, PA. ADORABILITY: 3 (egg farm outside Reamstown, PA) Jelly Belly: speckled chocolate malted eggs Imagine thousands of candy-coated malted milk balls spinning in a line of cement mixers -- one for each neon color -- with a man in a hairnet flicking a brush full of speckled candy flakes on them. It gets your attention. ADORABILITY: 6 (baby with a Peep stuck to her head) Heinz: vinegar What the hell, host Marc Summers? ADORABILITY: n/a Hammond's: art candies Watch in amazement as an artist layers hunk of colored spun sugar into a massive slab, which he affixes to rolling machine or whatever that was, and then rolls and rolls and rolls it. Days later (I don't know) it becomes a thin tube, which is snipped into thousands of bite-size candies, and inside of each one is -- wait for it -- just the most adorable little picture you've ever seen, which is the magical result of that artful layering I spoke of several pages ago. We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams. ADORABILITY: 8 (fuzzy chick in an egg cup surrounded by sweepy kittehs) Just Born: Peeps They spend the whole time profiling a guy who makes art out of Peeps. Fuck that guy. He just wants attention. ADORABILITY: 1 (the hanging rabbits of Chinatown) Patty De Angelo: Ukrainian Pysanky Patty makes Ukrainian Pysanky by hand. What? She dyes Easter eggs. It's a Ukrainian folk art, done by a lady in the Midwest. This might be more adorable if making one of these collectibles didn't look like such a joyless slog through a moor that I'm falling asleep just writi -- ADORABILITY: 2 (Donnie Darko bunny sitting behind you in a theater) Kencraft: panoramic sugar eggs This is all nicely adorable, with a bunch of workers sitting (sitting!) at tables squeezing frosting and pressing bunnies onto giant sugar eggs. The only sad part would be getting a panoramic sugar egg for Easter, because they taste like unflavored hard sugar, according to the founder, which is holiday code for "like shit." ADORABILITY: 7 (Zooey Deschanel eating a carrot at a bus stop)
From the Kitchen of ... That Time Rachael Ray Pretended to Eat in San Francisco RestaurantsThe Donatella Project
Previously, Michael Leaverton watched:
Bama Glama, the show all Alabama loves to fight over in comment threads