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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Food TV Shows Are All Going to Italy


Everyone seems to be in Italy this yr — together with Alison Roman, whose new cooking sequence will, like half the folks my Instagram feed, take us on a tour of the Amalfi Coast. CNN introduced yesterday that Roman’s four-episode (Extra Than) A Cooking Present, which was initially slated for the now-defunct CNN+, will hit CNN this fall. The present will invite audiences into Roman’s New York kitchen and to affix her on her travels overseas. Certain, that sounds enjoyable, if a bit acquainted.

Between Bobby and Giada in Italy; Stanley Tucci: Trying to find Italy; episodes of Chef’s Desk, Any individual Feed Phil, Prime Chef, and Salt Fats Acid Warmth, I can’t assist however really feel a little bit Italy-ed out lately, like I’ve hit my capability for watching clips of cheesemaking or folks consuming completely crisped Neapolitan pizza. (And that doesn’t even embrace Italy’s dominance over fictional food-adjacent reveals like Netflix’s upcoming From Scratch and the second season of HBO’s hospitality-themed The White Lotus.) Now, I’m no stranger to dreaming up my very own Eat Pray Love spaghetti scene, and the green-eyed monster and I have been in shut firm this summer season as I scrolled previous so many mates and influencers’ Lake Como weddings and rented villas.

But it’s all beginning to really feel repetitive, particularly when one considers how sometimes this in-depth therapy is given to different international locations. Italy and France, for that matter, are international locations and cuisines whose regionality is given its due within the meals panorama of america — whereas so many locations on the planet stay simplified within the culinary creativeness: a go to in a meals sequence episode right here and there, often counting on the identical biggest-name cities and cooks.

It’s as if main networks, wanting a assured hit, see the success of all this Italy-centric TV and suppose, nice, let’s do this once more — which is nearly actually what’s occurring (streaming overload led Time to declare final yr, “Welcome to TV’s period of peak redundancy”). CNN is an ideal instance of that: Not solely is Roman’s Italy present dropping this fall, that includes the Amalfi Coast, however so is the continuation of Tucci’s, which can discover Italy’s areas additional after going to Tuscany, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Bologna, Milan, and Sicily final yr.

All of it feels a little bit secure: Displaying potential vacationers from the U.S. meals that’s already fairly acquainted, in a rustic that appears like a secure guess, thus reinforcing Western expectations about which cuisines are helpful and which international locations price touring to. I’m completely happy to think about Italian seashore moments a la The Proficient Mr. Ripley, however what different daydreams might we’ve if meals journey reveals dared to delve deeper into locations much less steadily depicted?

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