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"Feasting on Asphalt" Season 2 Comes to the End of the Road
Thursday, September 13, 2007 | posted by Mike

Sorry for the slightly long-winded nature of this post, but I have some extra time on my hands, thanks to my commute home, riding the rails up the scenic Delaware River.

Compared to last year, I didn’t provide as much commentary on this season of Feasting on Asphalt. There were a couple of reasons for this.

The first was the questionable decision to show the first run episodes on Saturday nights. I’m sure the programming folks knew what they were doing, but I caught a grand total of zero episodes during their initial showing.

The second reason was that I think this season was much more…well, maybe “repetitive” isn’t the right word. It’s just that the path that Alton Brown took up the river basically kept him in the Mid-West, and it lacked the diversity of the first season’s ocean-to-ocean trek. If the first season was a cross-section of the food nation, this was more of an exploration of the depth and richness of a somewhat similar region. Both are compelling exercises, but the dynamism of Georgia-to-California just grabbed me more than the Louisiana-to-Minnesota run that was built around the consistent theme of the Mississippi. The first season showed the diversity of the cuisines, while the second reflected many of the commonalities, not surprising when the migration of people along the river played such a large role in the development of the Mid-West’s food and culture.

The differences between the seasons reminded me of the differences between Mrs. TVFF and me when we go to a museum, particularly an art museum. When we go together to places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and The Philadelphia Museum of Art (now just a healthy walk from the new TVFF Philadelphia branch office!), we have different strategies on how to enjoy these potentially overwhelming structures. I like to see as much as I can, experiencing it all and sacrificing the time it takes to deeply scrutinize the pieces, which is her preference. Maybe that comes from the fact that I come to art largely from a layman’s perspective (although I would humbly submit that I’m quite knowledgeable for a layman) and she comes to it from the point of view of an expert, considering I lured her out of a career in studying art history with the promise of a life of wealth and fame as the wife of a part-time blogger.

I would argue that neither method of taking in the information is better than the other, but rather that we each have our own way of appreciating and enjoying things. Both made for enjoyable, albeit different, seasons.

But there is one thing that both seasons of Feasting on Asphalt possess that anyone can enjoy. What’s the worst part of any great vacation? Having to go home, of course. Both seasons end on a high note, with the caravan soaking up their destination and reveling in the events that brought them to it. There are no images of them packing up and trudging home, unpacking dirty socks and dreading the return to work on Monday morning.

And who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure like that?



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