Witch & Popcorn
Somebody Feed Phil
Bright Blessings Viewers,
Or should I say foodies? I admit, there is one type of show or film I love just as much as I love horror, and that is food shows. This particular show I’m reviewing today was started in 2018, and was extended to a total of six seasons, which stopped being produced in 2022. It has been shot all over the world, and it earned two real TV awards, and two Emmy nominations. It is called Somebody Feed Phil, and here is a trailer you can watch:
Before I begin bragging on the show and revealing its magic, let me tell you a bit about the show’s creator. Phil Rosenthal is a writer, tv producer and travel/food series host. He is well known for creating Everybody Loves Raymond, and a show called I’ll Have What Phil’s Having which aired on PBS and earned a James Beard Award. He’s done some direction, being the one who directed President Bill Clinton in a White House Correspondents dinner. He’s done acting, and even authored a book called You’re Lucky You’re Funny: Life Becomes a Sitcom.
He is the son of German immigrants who met and married after immigrating to the US, and the family is Jewish. He serves as a creative counsel for RepresentUS, which is an organization focused on ending political corruption, and he and his family created a group called “Somebody Feed the People” which was organized to provide food for people in long lines to vote at the 2020 Presidential elections in the US. He also won a Peabody Award for cowriting America: A Tribute to Heroes.
Somebody Feed Phil was launched after the six episodes of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having on PBS was well liked, and both programs have been wildly successful. In Somebody Feed Phil, Rosenthal travelled to thirty two different food destinations ranging from Nashville, Tennessee to Bangkok , Thailand and sampled the foods of wherever he was. If you watch one episode, you will be struck by the fact his plates and tables are filled to the brim with a mindboggling plethora of foods, and he gulps them all back effortlessly. One must wonder how he stays thin, but the secret is, he did not clean his plate. He had a couple dozen crew members who ate the foods with him, and almost all of that happened off camera.
On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Rosenthal discusses a crab omelet that is one of the best foods he’s eaten and said he did not eat a lot before takes of him sampling foods. He also said the way they chose food destinations was by doing online searches, believe it or not, reading reviews other eaters have been good enough to leave. You can watch that whole interview here:
Those of you who have met me in person know I am a serious food addict, and a passionate eater and home cook. I’ve watched a ton of food competitions and food travel shows, and this is one of my personal favorites. What I love about it is how the host keeps his sense of humor and never shows the downside of travel. He walks in with a big smile on his face, really engages with whoever is feeding him, educates about the city he’s doing the program on, and even gives history of some of the foods. It’s a feast for the eyes, and he makes it all like a big social gathering where old friends meet over great food to make good memories.
Like any happily married man, he calls his wife often, and she and their kids join him on plenty of trips. He does video calls to his parents, and in each and every episode, a legendary comedy icon joins Rosenthal for a call- and they always tell a joke. Of course, Ray Romano joins, but such comedy giants as Gilbert Gottfried and Patricia Heaton join as well. One recurring theme of the show is the international comedy and food communities are big families where people come together to share their arts and make the world a happier, brighter place.
Just be careful you don’t watch this show on an empty stomach, or you will find yourself eating everything in the house or making a late-night run for whatever looks and smells good. The show isn’t promoting any airlines or travel services, but it will make you want to pack your bags and see the world and try all the food you can get your hands on. If foods of your childhood or foods somewhere you had an especially memorable trip to are showcased, you may find yourself in tears, wanting to make a trip there, like I did. The episode shot all over Nashville, Tennessee had me weeping, wishing to hop in the car and go there straightaway to visit The Grand Ole Opry where my dad worked as a security officer, and to see The Hermitage nearby, which was the home of the President Andrew Jackson once again.
What is it about food that elicits such an emotional response from us anyways? Foods we grew up eating bring back memories of loved relatives and foods served at special occasions like birthdays and holidays can make our days extra special now too. A taste or a smell of something you ate on your wedding day, or the favorite pizza you had every last chance you got will make your day brighter when it feels like the world is falling apart around you. Gatherings with loved ones would not be so festive without special foods, and foods that are a part of our culture make us who we are.
In Somebody Feed Phil, Rosenthal points out that everybody loves to share their culture, and feeding people is one way to do that. The foods we cook, serve, and eat not only build our bodies from the inside out, but it shows how we value food and feed the people we share life with. Watching each episode shows that while there are differences wherever you go, everybody shares some of the same things. We take pride in our accomplishments, and what we serve people to eat is a part of that. Think of what goes into producing food before it even gets to the table. Somebody has to grow and harvest fruits, herbs and vegetables or raise the animals and harvest the meat. Then somebody has to process, sell, and deliver the foods to groceries, butchers, or fish mongers. Somebody has to select the food and cook it, and finally somebody has to serve it. All this is before you can take even one bite. Countless hands have touched and blessed the food we will eat, and that will nourish our bodies and create us once again with every bite we take.
I don’t know about you, but I have always been adventurous with food, eager to try new things, and cook new recipes. Not everybody is that way, and I was one of the people who would go to the Japanese market and bring back sushi for lunch only to be told I ate “weird food” by people who never deviated from the same set meals day in and day out. The cure for both xenophobia racism is travel. Not everybody can do that to learn about other people and places, and Rosenthal shows us that everybody all around the world is more like the next person who is halfway across the world than they are different.
There is the magic of fellowship everywhere Rosenthal goes, and part of that is his good attitude. Instead of going to a new place, demanding to know why things are different than the last place he went, he asks questions to understand the differences. People opened up to him, and really enjoyed hosting to the foreigner who sought to learn about their foodways which made them who they were.
The lesson that we should be lifelong learners and not be afraid of new things, people, and experiences is taught in episode after episode of this show. How to join in life with people who you have never met and yet continue to keep regular communication with family and friends is another valuable lesson. How to be open to new foods and not worry about getting an upset stomach could be considered a lesson, but the show highlighted great places where that’s probably never going to be an issue.
The show teaches that life is to be lived and the world is too big a place to just stay put in one spot and do and eat all the same things everyday until you die. This is a very magical show filled with the excitement of travel, but most of all the beauty of all the good people who open their homes, businesses, and personal selves to hosting to strangers and nourishing them.
Don’t take my word for it. Go and watch this show. Just NOT on an empty stomach!
And Blessed Be!
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, Lord Shadow, and she became a Third Degree High priestess in 2022. She belongs to the Black Dragon Clan.