Everyone is in Italy this 12 months — together with Alison Roman, whose new cooking sequence will, like half the people my Instagram feed, take us on a tour of the Amalfi Coast. CNN introduced yesterday that Roman’s four-episode (More Than) A Cooking Show, which was initially slated for the now-defunct CNN+, will hit CNN this fall. The show will invite audiences into Roman’s New York kitchen and to hitch her on her travels overseas. Sure, that sounds enjoyable, if a bit acquainted.
Between Bobby and Giada in Italy; Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy; episodes of Chef’s Table, Somebody Feed Phil, Top Chef, and Salt Fat Acid Heat, I can’t assist but feel slightly Italy-ed out in recent times, like I’ve hit my capability for watching clips of cheesemaking or people consuming completely crisped Neapolitan pizza. (And that doesn’t even embody 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 own Eat Pray Love spaghetti scene, and the green-eyed monster and I had been in close firm this summer as I scrolled previous so many friends and influencers’ Lake Como weddings and rented villas.
Yet it’s all beginning to feel repetitive, especially when one considers how infrequently this in-depth treatment is given to different countries. Italy and France, for that matter, are international locations and cuisines whose regionality is given its due within the food landscape of the United States — while so many locations on the planet stay simplified within the culinary imagination: a go to in a food series episode right here and there, normally relying on the identical biggest-name cities and chefs.
It’s as if main networks, wanting a assured hit, see the success of all this Italy-centric TV and assume, nice, let’s do that once more — which is almost definitely what’s taking place (streaming overload led Time to assert last 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, featuring the Amalfi Coast, however so is the continuation of Tucci’s, which will discover Italy’s regions further after going to Tuscany, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Bologna, Milan, and Sicily last year.
It all feels somewhat secure: Showing potential vacationers from the U.S. meals that is already fairly acquainted, in a country that feels like a safe wager, thus reinforcing Western expectations about which cuisines are priceless and which international locations worth touring to. I’m pleased to think about Italian seaside moments a la The Talented Mr. Ripley, however what different daydreams could we’ve if food journey reveals dared to delve deeper into locations much less regularly depicted?