We’ve been quietly grumbling about Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips’ pilot concept Eat, Date, Love, on account of its limiting, borderline-sexist concept of boy learns to woo girl cooking Damaris’ Modern Southern dishes. Much to our delight, FNS judge Alton Brown invited her onto his podcast today for a lengthy interview, in which he, too, pointed out the concept’s limitations and offered his expertise, saying that he didn’t think the show had to be structured around a boy woos girl concept. Damaris wholeheartedly agreed, willing to make it girl woos boy, boy woos boy, girl appreciates mom, politician thanks babysitter — wait, not that one. But you get the point.
Of course, Damaris could just draw on her childhood experience of cooking for underprivileged, bereaved families at funerals and host a funeral cook-off competition show. Wait, what?
In a remarkably moving part of the interview, Damaris revealed that her father used to own a funeral home, which the Phillips family lived above, and he’d often enlist his culinarily-inclined daughter to whip up a quick plate of food for all the sad, hungry people downstairs:
Alton Brown: See, I don’t think people are actually hungry at funerals, I just think that eating is such an affirmation of being alive that you need to do it, because it proves we’re alive. We’re not dead. We’re alive.
Damaris Phillips: I think so, too. I think it grounds you again and makes you feel something other than —
DP: Yeah! And overwhelming grief.
AB: Although overwhelming grief, sometimes, it’s just what it is.
DP: And you have to feel it, but, sometimes, you can take a little break from that, and a ham sandwich will help for just a minute. And then you can go back to it.
AB: I just want you to do a funeral cooking show. I think that would be awesome.
DP: Cooking for a Funeral!
AB: Cooking for a Funeral. I love that idea. It’s so Southern Gothic, I can see you doing that. It’d be like some kind of twisted Faulknerian madness.
DP: You’d be like, ‘I have the best funeral food.’ ‘No, I have the best funeral food.’
AB: ‘Well, we’ll just wait for somebody to die and find out.’
Who doesn’t love a cool, sobering podcast on a Summer Friday. Check out this week’s Alton Browncast in its entity here.
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