Cooking with Jack #10: “TheBestSauces.com video 2”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 11 September 2008

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Jeez, is it just me or is there more grey in his beard and his face is more haggard since the last one? Anyway, we have the crucifix necklace back in this one. Maybe it will stick around this time! I don’t know why I was feeling so generous in the last one, but perhaps the mugging has really started to grate one me as this one just felt plain condescending. I suppose there’s a fine line between endearing earnest and false, and this was deep into the latter. It is by no means a thing that Jack alone is guilty of: after all everything he does is mimicked from other sources. But, the trend of attempting to disguise capitalist enterprise through attempting to fabricate a personal relationship with the consumer is something I struggle to contain my vitriol for. Which isn’t to say businesses shouldn’t advertise, shouldn’t promote their products and services, or even that the trend started recently. Just that the idea of personally connecting with a #brand is getting comically out of hand. This doesn’t have much to do with Jack I suppose other than that in this, as in many things, he unconsciously reflects wider trends in the culture at large. The sauce continues to remain unappetising.

Cooking with Jack #757: “Mayonnaise Cake… Yum!”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 26 February 2016

Comments : Enabled

If you’ll permit me a short digression, I find the word “clickbait” is overused to the point of being drained of meaning these days. Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not pervasive, but I find it gets applied to any headline that poses a question, doesn’t précis itself in the title, or a video with a leading title or thumbnail. So I’m loathe to call Jack’s new phase “clickbait” even if it’s a move into a decidedly more mercantile, profit-focused aesthetic. I can’t particularly blame him for this with the current state of youtube monetisation, but there’s no denying it’s… crass.

If you’ve been around the “block” enough times (and by “block” I of course mean “regularly pursue cooking as a hobby”) you eventually become desensitised to the litany of supposedly shocking secret ingredients and techniques. I think cake is particularly susceptible to this as the number of variables that go into getting a cake to meet all the desirable qualities of the cake. Like I said, I’ve heard a lot of different ones and even have my own (for chocolate cake: shredded fresh beetroot). And mayonnaise makes a lot of sense, honestly. It’s just eggs and olive oil, very traditional ingredients for delivering richness, as well as a little salt for seasoning (and, I suppose, the numerous industrial additives). It’s not as bizarre as Jack makes it out to be, or that he’s hoping for, but that’s nothing new.

The prodigal son also features prominently in all of his non-choked(?) glory. I waver on Junior, but here his teenage angst and the discord between him and his father is so thick you could cut it with a knife. I imagine any minor rebellion in the Scalfani household is treated with the utmost severity, and I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be a self-conscious teenager with a good chunk of your upbringing on camera for people to see. It must also be difficult growing up in the shadow of Garrett Scalfani, being the “good” son, the one smothered with attention, determined to set him on the straight and narrow, no fingers around his throat. Junior treating his father with the contempt he so richly deserves might be a short-lived teenage phase, but whilst it lasts it’s glorious. Besides, it is that which is ephemeral which makes it beautiful.

いい天気ですね

 

 

Cooking with Jack #9: “TheBestSauces.com video”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally Uploaded: 13 August 2008

Comments: Enabled

Goodbye, sauces website fade-in. You’ll be missed.

I’ve mentioned that the lo-fi nature of youtube shows can be endearing; taken to its most extreme, the panto-style mugging for the camera begins to feel like an episode of Play School. To be charitable, I imagine Jack does what he does to better ingratiate the viewer, tear down the barrier between the audience and himself,which makes sense with Jack basing his branding around being just a regular bloke. Panto mugging and all it’s a half-decent branding decision and a horrible, horrible UI decision for his important sauce website, really. Jack’s overly earnest local television enunciation is something I, personally, find grating but I suppose it hides what would otherwise be a nakedly transactional interaction. Not much else to say about this one.

Cooking with Jack #8: “Fasta Pasta – As Seen On TV”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 7 July 2008

Comments: Enabled

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had access to broadcast television for well over a decade but the appeal of “as seen on TV” products eludes me. Sure, I can understand the John Waters-style genuine love for camp and kitsch, or at the opposite end the catharsis of making of fun something that’s really fucking stupid. Either way, you’re attempting to have a laugh at a world that’s often just a sick joke. And who knows what true genius we as a culture might miss out on simply because it comes to us wrapped in the grating, infantile trappings of an infomercial?

With that said, here is a wholly useless piece of crap I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind would give the time of day to. This is the side of “as seen on TV” products that I don’t get, genuine attraction to novelty and having the proverbial monocle pop when it does or doesn’t work. Maybe it’s just because I can barely bring myself to be excited about anything.

And in the long, dark annals of sad Jack meals this one has to be up there, right? Spaghetti microwaved in unsalted water with a dollop of jarred (I guess) pasta sauce not even stirred through? It really does go to show that the real title should just be “With Jack”. 

Jack also uses the word “macaroni” to refer to all types of pasta, which I’ve always known as a uniquely Russian expression, but with Jack’s past intentionally shrouded in mystery who knows. It’s possible he’s some kind of Soviet sleeper agent cast adrift at the end of the Cold War, but if that were the case I’m sure his training would have included organic-sounding English that doesn’t arouse suspicion.

Time to soldier on then, comrades.

Jack on the Go #396: “Rosepepper Cantina & Mexican Grill – East Nashville, TN”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally Uploaded: 24 February 2016

Comments: Enabled

It’s weird seeing Jack have relatively normal human interactions. I’m not talking about him choking his son, or demanding his fellow man be covered in napalm, but having a calm, normal lunch with normal people. For all my misgivings the two deep South men (“Robert”, the newcomer and “Jon”, the regular) in the video seem rather well-adjusted as compared to the clique Jack normally rolls with. The icy evangelical with the Hitler Youth haircut, though… we’ve seen him before, and he’s exactly the kind of passive-aggressive, holier-than-thou fucker it makes perfect sense for Jack to be around. Just the way his lifeless eyes stare straight into the camera whilst he intones “I was praying for you” tells me exactly what kind of a person he is, his deeply manipulative nature and exactly how he uses his “faith”.

Jack’s mountainous ego rears it’s ugly head again, as apparently his living in California conveyed upon him a taste for spicy food (ha!) as well as an appreciation of “authentic” Mexican cuisine (HA!). If watching Jack tool around in strip meals eating mostly adequate (if unimpressive) food has taught me anything, it’s that Jack is both rather easy to please and disturbingly easy to throw into a childlike rage at the same time. “Jack on the Go” as it exists is far more just a vlog of Jack’s humdrum existence than any kind of theoeretical review or informative programme, so I guess it’s only natural that it records just how insufferable is in day-to-day life.

If pressed to say something positive, I guess it’s that Jack doesn’t make any racist jokes in this one? That’s a depressingly low bar, though, even if it’s one Jack can’t actually clear.

Cooking with Jack #7: How To Cook BBQ Ribs (READ DESCRIPTION BOX)

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally Uploaded: 03 July 2008

Comments: Enabled

Yay! Sauce flogging! Fuck-ups! Dim understanding of basic culinary technique! Backlash! Bafflingly poor management of his own brand! Jack’s infrequently mentioned father(-in-law?)! An embarrassment of riches. As the all-caps parenthetical admonishment led me to, apparently this video got corrupted by YouTube and was re-uploaded. I honestly can’t see what’s wrong with it myself, I mean the audio and video are dodgy except the “improved” version doesn’t seem much different. But what do I know.

Right off the bat, this video is suspect. Sure, the idea what people email him all the time asking for his advice is (at least at this early stage) obvious puffery, but going from basic, menial food prep tasks to showing off his rib expertise is rather absurd. I suppose it’s not a particularly illogical leap from hawking crappy barbecue sauce to then how to use that sauce, but I imagine people would more ask for a recipe than for some kind of bizarre evaluation. Also, “How to Cook” is misleading, as it begins the tradition of Jack videos not being particularly enlightening about the subject at hand. Really, it’s an excuse for saucery, the purest expression of everything we’ve seen up until this point finally crystallising. It’s more of a mission statement than a video, a “go hard or go home” approach culminating with the very first sauce advertisement politely waiting its turn at the end of the video where “3R1 Productions” has been unceremoniously dumped. Jack’s sauce has always, always looked terribly unappetising, at least to me, but he tries his hardest to sell the viewer on its merits of being sickly sweet and packed with spices not identified by name, slathered over poorly cooked meat, not bothering to let it bake onto the ribs. Not really understanding why things might be cooked different ways probably inspired the later, painfully uninteresting “Difference between Grilling &BBQing” video as a stab at redemption.

Really, what we’re here for is the advertisement. Jack’s home-grown advertising copy has always, always hurt my faculties because the phrase “It’s called the best barbecue sauce you’ll ever taste, and it’s so good [that]” bears no relationship to the information “we made a hot one” creating a bizarre non-sequitur presented as a coherent fact. As much as I understand that it’s meant to be puffery it still hurts me.

The tinny royalty-free stock music continues unabated but boy do I prefer it to the achingly generic rock that’s in our future. Part of the appeal of YouTube is the lo-fi aesthetic of people doing the best with what they have, and sanding the rough edges off can often bring how devoid of substance it is into sharp focus. Jack wasn’t particularly substantial to begin with but as the delusions of grandeur grow greater the banal nature of what he does gets more and more incongruous. But for now he’s just a guy in a sauce apron.

Cooking with Jack #6: “BARBEQUE WITH PLANK”

This blog is dedicated to spreading the truth about Jack Scalfani, a child abuser and racist who has run up modest celebrity on the internet through his “Cooking with Jack” youtube channel. For a long but by no means exhaustive list of what Jack has done, please see this post.

Originally uploaded: 03 June 2008

Comments: Enabled

Just a quick note that I’m getting my internet changed over this week so apologies if updates are spotty.

Anyway, a barbecue video with no mention of his sauces seems unthinkable in 2015, and being “scared” of cooking fish would be a running theme in later years. Yet here we are! Back in TATER MITTS TEST the camera was pretty shaky, and I’m going to assume Tammy was begrudgingly shanghaied into being a camerawoman much like here. I won’t bother you with why cooking your food on a plank of fucking wood is a terrible idea, or why soaking wood before you smoke with it is also a bad idea, there are a million resources for that,. But hey, Jack seems content with the results. I’m curious as to when his presentation went from forcibly upbeat like a Hi 5 presenter to barely concealed contempt.

Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say about this one, aside from the fact that it’s larval phase before he started going through the motions of doing a proper “product review”. It’s a little bloated at 3:54 but that’s basically a breezy walk through the park in autumn compared to the laborious watching-paint-dry pace of later videos. The plastic grapes in his kitchen are cute in an old-school Italian restaurant kind of way, I guess, but that’s a terribly uninteresting observation. Then again, this is a terribly uninteresting video. Ba-dum, tish!