Let me get this out of the way right up front. It’s sad that Paula Deen has diabetes, and I’m not trying to mock the very real emotional and physical issues she is dealing with. Diabetes being as prevalent as it is, is one of the reasons I am passionate about cooking and eating better. The culture that has developed around diabetes is very scary and very real.
To quote Michael Pollan:
According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Associationpredicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child’s chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today’s children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition–a billion–had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition–800 million.
Right, serious bits out of the way lets get to the funny bits.
By now everyone has certainly heard some joke about Paula Deen and her diabetes diagnoses (and subsequent deal to sell diabetes drugs), her approach to food is one that makes you think diabetes and a heart attack would be lurking around the corner, waiting to hit her like a frozen ham.
So I thought I would look at some other celebrity chefs to see if I can find a disease that might fit their own particular idiom.
Ah Guy Fieri, a person I like to mock so much that I decided to be him for Halloween. Sadly I was incapable of being enough of a giant twit to dissuade people from thinking I was honoring him rather than mocking him. It haunts me still that there are people who think I was “that Minute to Win it Guy,” and meant it in a good way. I don’t know that the man has enough of a cooking style to really find an affliction to match, so I will focus on his personality. If diarrhea of the mouth were a real thing that would be perfect, but alas, no such luck. All of that hair dye must do something to him right? Perhaps brain parasites? No no I have it. Lockjaw. What could possibly be better for the man who has a whole show seemingly dedicated to cramming the largest possible bite of food into his gaping maw.
Now that we have Guy all nice and quiet lets move on to everyone’s favorite multi media darling Rachael Ray. Full disclosure, once upon a time I watched 30 minute meals, in the early days of Food Network it was a pretty solid instructional food show. Sadly as she has become a larger and larger presence, that quality has gone by the wayside. Instead of the possibility of meal I might be happy to serve to my family and friends I am now inundated with and endless string of cute catchphrases and Rachael Ray branded product placement. It is the catch phrases that lead me to the disorder most befitting the queen of the choup. That’s right, you guessed it, Tourettes syndrome. Imagine if you will, Rachael endlessly spitting back her own catchphrases, choup, yum-o, EVOO, delish. ”Hi Rachael how was your day today?” Yum-O
I must give her some credit though. She at least knows she has become a parody of herself.
How about food curmudgeon, Anthony Bourdain? I love Bourdain, he makes me want to eat and prepare better food. Which is the job of a food show host in my book. He does, however, rub a lot of people the wrong way, and if you are a fan of Rachael or Guy or Paula, you likely think he is a miserable ass.
Lung cancer would be the easy choice for, Bourdain. Though he has quit smoking he certainly smoked long enough that his lungs have a long way to go to return to happy shade of pink. I think something a bit more exotic is in order for Tony, something like Kuru, though that may be better left to Andrew Zimmern.
Some rapid fire options:
- Sandra Lee, listeria from a dented can
- Tom Colicchio, aneurysm from dressing down a top chef loser.
- Mario Batali, head trauma after a slip and fall due to worn out Crocs.
- Bobby Flay, beaten like, well you know
The list is endless really, so many food related personalities have characteristics that simultaneously endear them to some and annoy the beejesus out of others.