Is Alton Brown ‘Ill’ and ‘Ugly Skinny’?
Alton Brown is a rare breed on The Food Network these days: A fully interesting and informative personality who opts for knowledge and technique over cutesy name hybrids and easy-but-terrible ingredients. So, while reading comments on a Serious Eats article regarding Alton’s recent diet (sardine and avocado sandwiches — to be addressed later) and weight loss, I have to say I got a bit defensive of my favorite FN host when readers equated his newfound skinniness to thinking he had cancer or some sort of body-diminishing illness. “Way too skinny and very unhealthy,” one commenter says. “It sounded a lot like what an anorexic or someone who had a recent health scare would say,” another says about a recent Alton interview. Another: “He has that look about him- as if he is recovering from something or had gone through radiation/chemo.” Can’t a dude lose some weight or make a lifestyle change anymore without people thinking they’re going through chemo or have some Hollywood diva eating disordefr? First, watch the video, and after the jump, we’ll discuss.
Serious Eats commenter bks2010 points out, “I think we are so used to seeing larger people in the United States that we often don’t think of overweight people as overweight … Props to AB for switching to a healthier lifestyle.” Skinny people aren’t extinct or such a minority that getting a gander at one of them is an isolated incident, so that argument doesn’t have a whole lot of weight (sorry) to me.
For Alton and many others, lending yourself to a television network puts you in the forefront of America, and any bodily changes that you go through will be noticed and objectified by millions. I see it constantly with my day job at PopEater.com. And yes, weight loss — especially some of the faster forms of it — can make a person look different. And yes, because he’s a celebrity, people will opine (“Gotta say, not liking the new Alton. TOOO skinny for ANYTHING!!!” commenter Donnie says.) Yet jumping the gun and thinking “Hmmm, I’ll bet he has cancer” seems, well, cancerous to our society.
I tried reaching out to Alton for his thoughts on this matter, but haven’t heard back yet. Hit me up, AB!
On a less serious, more food-based tangent, Brown says a key to his weight loss is a seriously regimented diet that involves avocado and sardine sandwiches. Many of these same commenters think that’s just straight-up heinous. It’s actually fairly similar to a sandwich on ‘WichCraft’s menu that pairs anchovies with a poached egg and caramelized onions. Tiny oily fish + something fatty. It’s a brilliant combo, and while it’s obviously not for everyone’s palate, I dig it. I got to chat with Tom Colicchio once and told him that was the best sandwich on the Wichcraft menu. His eyes lit up like I just told him I bought him a puppy. “Nobody has ever said that to me,” he said, adding that the sandwich hardly sells, but he refuses to take it off of the menu because it’s his favorite. It was one of my prouder food moments. That is all.