Guest post by Sweary Shmary
Man vs Food
I've recently been introduced to Man vs Food. The first series was shot in 2008 and I cannot quite believe that it has taken three whole years for it to come to my attention.
It is compelling viewing. It is a journey, no, more of a quest, through the United States in search of big, badass food. Every epsiode ends with a challenge where the host, Adam Richman, eats a dish that is inconceivable in either quantity or hotness.
Adam Richman is hugely likeable. I didn't quite get this on first viewing but when you watch it back-to-back, as is my want, he really does grow on you. You want to be in a diner with him, or maybe a bar but perhaps consuming slightly smaller portions.
Now, America has a reputation for supersized food and this show does nothing to dispute that conception. People associate the USA with obesity, I have heard the term 'fat Americans' on many an occasion. What this show demonstrates however, is that not only can you get massive portions but you can also add all varieties of cheese to your order, before having it deep-fried and dipped in gravy. I exaggerate. A little bit.
The thing is, the food may be very bad for you but it tastes great. Just watching 'Man v. Food' is a mouthwatering experience regardless of how long ago you last ate. There is an art form to how some of these open sandwiches are put together. There is a pride in just how delicious these burgers taste. These diners and restaurants get a reputation. People travel cross-State and they attempt to consume ridiculous amounts to get their fat faces on the wall, declaring themselves as one of life's winners.
My point is, that yes, America has an obesity problem, but they have a fuck-load of fun getting fat. Whereas, in Britain, we also have an obesity problem but we get bootylicious at Greggs.
Our version of the American diner is the greasy spoon. Now, I love a greasy spoon but the quality of the produce is generally shit. The bacon is always undercooked and the sausages taste synthetic, whereas in America (okay, I've only been once but I think I'm right on this) they care a bit more about their meat. To be fair, you will occasionally find a decent greasy spoon but you never go to one with the expectation of good quality food or much choice.
We are a nation getting fat on buy-one-get-one-free deals at Iceland. We don't ask for more and we don't get it. I am not saying great food does not exist here, it does and I've had plenty, but the food that isn't great for you and that gets mass-consumed tends to be the same food we decide is shit half-way through eating.
My weakness? Scotch Eggs from Sainsburys. Not even 'Taste the Difference'. I recently went to a wedding where there was a Scotch Egg tower, consisting of different varieties and all made fresh with locally sourced ingredients. You would have thought that would have put me off the poor relation but it didn't. What can I say? When it comes to food maybe I, and many of my countrymen, have inadequacy issues. We simply don't appreciate that our fat asses are worth so much more.
I have to finish this with a video of Man v. Food. This really is food porn but not in a lick-the-spoon kind of way. This is much filthier than that. If you like this as much as I do, you may be living in the wrong country.