The best ingredients

I’m a big fan of the History Channel. I get deeply geeked out about American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and a few other “reality” shows. I also have been a little, er, hasty in my willingness to gripe about some of my wife’s favorite shows. She loves to watch Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, both of which seem totally ridiculous to me. After all, if you love food, shouldn’t you be offended by these crazy games where the contestants are given great, expensive ingredients and then encouraged to destroy them with other ingredients like Froot Loops? I like Froot Loops (and Apple Jacks, to be honest), but I would never pair Froot Loops with a good cut of meat.

I just realized today, though, that one of my favorite History Channel shows, Forged in Fire, does the same damn thing. They make these poor folks, who are either burgeoning or established smiths jump through stupid hoops with poor materials. Honestly, what’s fun about that? Maybe it’s fun to watch if they manage to skirt the very predictable problems that will inevitably come up when using what they have to work with, but that won’t happen often. More often, there will be catastrophic failure. Hooray.

There’s something screwy about our societal taste for failure. I don’t get it — I’d so much more like to watch a show in which blacksmiths or chefs got to work with great materials and produce incredible meals or blades.