The weekends mean that I get some face time with the Food Network. I usually watch it early Saturday mornings and then Sunday mornings after my long run. I have to say that within the last several months I’ve actually been kind of appalled and turned off by what I’m seeing.
The commercials are either touting some sort of diet pill or system. Things which are not healthy nor are they good for anyone. Those commercials are alternated with either things we don’t need (a dryer sheet you stick in your dryer and leave for a month! Handy!) to fake and processed foods (Why hello American cheese slices. Nice to see you costumed up trying to pretend you’re real cheese. How’s that working out for you?).
For a network that is supposed to get people inspired to want to cook and to try new foods, the fact that they aren’t promoting or supporting that in any of their commercials is a little disconcerting.
And then I had the thought:
What would happen if the Food Network only showed commercials for real foods and for actual products that are green and will help you maintain a healthy home? What would the result of such a thing be?
Because let’s be honest, a lot of people watch Food Network. And a lot of people are going to mimic what they see and hear. If Sunny Anderson is pimping Viva paper towels like they are the most awesome thing ever, you know people are going to buy them. So they can make cones out of them for their french fries just like she does!
What would happen if Food Network started focusing on real food and real people who make or grow those foods? Started local, maybe showing things from New York and California, then branching out. Commercials for Big John’s Apple Orchard where you can pick your own minimally pesticided apples or have them put together a bushel for you for pickup.
Commercials for Aunt Sophie’s hand crafted goat cheese from free range hormone-free California goats.
Organic cleaning supplies, methods, and tips. Organic beauty products. Commercials from real chocolatiers so we don’t have to see that damn M&M trying to out run the conveyor belt anymore.
Instead of tips from Sunny Anderson pimping paper towels, tips on how using a vinegar solution will clean up your sink and keep your faucets sparkly. How a baking soda solution can be used as a gentle scrub so that you don’t have to use that “all natural” bacteria laden scrubby sponge for cleaning up your stovetop.
Real stuff for real people.
In order to start change about food practices and habits in this country, it’s going to take a lot more than a documentary and books by Michael Pollan.
What if people started demanding for change more loudly? What if companies started supporting real food and real products? What if those companies stopped showing advertisements for fake processed foods and started showing commercials for real food?
What would the outcome be?