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The Evolution Of Your Love For The Food Network

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With all due respect to the chosen people and Bar Mitzvahs, one does not become a man or woman until a little slice of Americana colloquially known as The Food Network becomes the central ingredient of one’s television diet.

Confession time: I only recently jumped onto the bandwagon. Like any kid with only one television in his house growing up, sure I participated in a few Iron Chef viewings back in the day. But The Food Network is like sex. You really only understand it when you’re older, and even then, it takes a while to not only appreciate its nuances, but to be also be able to develop the stamina needed to enjoy it for long periods of time. And with that, here’s a running diary of the thoughts you had into your descent into the world of food porn.

Phase 1: Fear Of The Unknown (First months out of college)

I cannot believe there is an entire channel devoted solely to food. Who are you people? Granted, I’ve never watched a minute other than to find out what @DadBoner is referring to when he tweets about Guy Fieri. Irrelevant point. It’s the damn principle of the thing. The Food Network is where the American Dream goes to die of heart complications, and is the leading cause of married couples officially mailing it in.

The Food Network must really be catering its programming to that hotly-coveted 35-63 year old “missing my left foot from the diabetes” demographic. Anyone without 3 kids that actually tunes into this food smut needs to start making some serious life reassessments, and 90% of them should revolve around lower cholesterol.

Phase 2: Background Noise (12-18 months out of college)

Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but television seems to be so much trashier than it was even five years ago. What happened to programing that was both entertaining and high-brow, like Punk’d? The only explanation I can muster for why there are more Real Housewives than Law & Order spinoffs is because the Botox lobby is shelling out the big bucks on Capitol Hill. Forget that noise.

Thank God for the Food Network, man. Entertaining enough to lend itself to cracking the occasional joke while it’s on, but not so distracting that you start playing Tetris in your head. I will concede that Restaurant Impossible is slowly becoming my jam. Didn’t know they made British dudes that jacked up. I won’t lie, these restaurant owners who get all offended when Chef Robert Irvine tells them that their business sucks are pissing me off. That is literally why you applied for the show.

Now, if I only knew how to pronounce Guy Fieri’s name.

Phase 3: Full-Blown Junkie (Mid-20s)

I woke up this morning and Sportscenter was recapping the NFC Championship. What kind of garbage competition highlights are these? I want real mano-a-mano action. What kind of sport doesn’t involve racing around a grocery store desperately looking for that jar of olives to lock up $10,000?

I’ve fully convinced myself that Giada de Laurentis is my girlfriend. I swear she loves me. She shows me how to make the best sun dried tomato pesto chicken paninis. That’s true love.

Told my friends I couldn’t hit the bars tonight. There’s a new episode of Triple D that I wouldn’t miss for anything. I call it Triple D because I’m just that big a fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Really assert my dominance over the rest of the casual Food Network fans. And besides, who needs friends when you have a book autographed by Guy freaking Fieri to take to dinner? After all, man cannot live on bread alone, but he can live on the word of a frosted-tipped total American badass telling you how the bread he’s eating tastes.

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J Parks Caldwell

J. Parks Caldwell makes jokes to hide the fact that he's upset, because that's what children of divorce do.

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