Getting familiar with the f-word


Food Network’s plug for Gordon Ramsey’s latest show totally suckered me. I actually asked the question, what does the f-word stand for? Could he be that audacious…that transparent to name his show after his favourite expletive?

“In case you’re wondering what the f-word stands for,” he says later in the promo, “it’s food, of course!”

Gaaaah! Of course. You got me Gordon Ramsey.

The show hinges on the premise that Ramsey is going to re-introduce Brits to good food, cooked from scratch. His approach…getting women back in the kitchen.

I’ll ignore the obvious diatribe on how incredibly sexist that sounds. But a crusade to bring wholesome food to the people? Can you say school dinners knock off?

But that’s where any similarity ends.

The show takes place in one of Ramsey’s restaurants (a cavernous, super-chic yet sterile bi-level with garish red/pink accents).

In each episode, he gathers a number of guests (celebs mostly), who he engages gorilla doc fashion to talk about their views on food. Occasionally he’ll sequester someone into the kitchen for a quick lesson or cook-off (he hasn’t actually won a lot of these).

Ramsey’s always a treat to watch and there were a couple of standout moments for me. The first was a segment where he raises Christmas turkeys in his back yard so he can teach his kids where their food comes from. He doesn’t pass up the opportunity to throw a few barbs though. He names the birds for fellow food celebs, giving them names like Nigela and Jamie (a la Nigella Lawson and Jamie Olive r). A turkey diary of sorts, it’s an ongoing segment and we’re treated to regular updates throughout the first season.

New as the show is, I’d heard about this experiment ages ago. It was an isolated story, a blurb really, in my wife’s Entertainment Weekly. But it raised the question, how come it took so long to get this show to air? BTW-the f-word is already in season 4 back in the U.K.

Anyway, I digress. (Don’t you hate people who say anyway I digress. Sorry, won’t happen again).

Ramsey also has regular conversations with the well-known and vociferous food critic Giles Coren. Coren often takes us on video field trips. The first, as I recall, was about the freegan movement, free-gan being a play on vegan. It’s a very real phenomenon. Neo-hippies who go dumpster diving for choice meals whilst satisfying their hunger for sushi and the anti-establishment lifestyle.

Another of Coren’s segments takes us to Sweeden where horse milk is gaining such popularity that there are now equine dairies.

Again, something smacked at the edge of familiarity here and I couldn’t quite put my thumb on it. With a little research, it hit me. Back in the spring, I’d heard about some food writer who went ballistic on an editor who’d changed his copy and unwittingly altered his meaning. It was meaningful for me because in my other life I’m a copywriter who suffers these very same injustices on a daily basis.

It was, in fact, Giles Coren.

Coren really let his editors have it and his rant, like all good things, made it to the internet. I encourage you to take a gander:

Giles Coren, crusader for copy, intimately familiar with the f-word.

No comments yet.