BOB GARFIELD: Welcome back to On the Media. I'm Bob Garfield. BROOKE GLADSTONE: And I'm Brooke Gladstone. James Morrow is an editor and food critic at the Internet magazine Ironminds.com [sic]. Recently he wrote a column criticizing his favorite cable channel, the TV Food Network, about a cross-promotion with the Olive Garden restaurant chain. Morrow regards this relationship as a betrayal of viewer trust. Garfield came across the column and decided to offer Mr. Morrow his hospitality. BOB GARFIELD:The word is hospitaliano. That's what the folks at the Olive Garden call it -- the ready availability of authentic Italian cooking and atmosphere in any-mall, USA. But if I read James Morrow correctly, it's the authentic part he takes issue with, especially when he heard this on his favorite channel. ANNOUNCER: Now -- Olive Garden, Food Network in Colavita invites you to experience a once in a lifetime 8 day trip to Italy in the Culinary Institute of Tuscany Sweepstakes. Chef Romana Niri will personally teach you her secrets for cooking authentic Italian cuisine, the same way she teaches Olive Garden chefs at their culinary school in Tuscany. BOB GARFIELD:Marketing makes strange bedfellows, but this particular culpae made Morrow's marinara boil. So, to calm him down, I took him to dinner in the middle of Times Square at the Olive Garden. We were soon escorted to our intimate little corner, table 610, where it was soon clear that the man's irritation didn't begin with the trip to Italy promotion. He was already disgusted with the Food Network for shifting focus from food itself to big personalities such as TV chef Emeril Lagasse. MAN: Got this huge studio audience of mouth-breathers who shrieks, whoops and cheers every time he goes [A LA EMERIL] well we're gonna put about 25 cloves of garlic in here -- or something like that. It's become as tasteless as this salad here! MAN: Morrow ordered the Chicken Marsala. I chose my favorite, Veal Scallopini. We both passed on the special -- Chicken Scampi -- which of course means Chicken Shrimp although the dish contains no shrimp. Such unhospitaliano corruption of Italian is no surprise when a company called Darden Industries, owner of the Red Lobster seafood chain, decides to get into ethnic cooking. But Morrow was unforgiving. MAN: What we're talking about here is Italian culture and Italian good, one of the great cultures of the world, being turned around and pimped by a great big corporation. If you go to an Italian restaurant and never hear -- in Italy -- and ever hear 'em use the word hospitaliano, I will eat my hat. MAN: Not necessary. He had a gigantic plateful of Chicken Marsala right in front of him. MAN: This is bland; there's something just weird -there's some flavor I can't pin down. This is not really Chicken Marsala. I'm in a rage! I'm just - I'm - I can't believe this! MAN: Then he sampled my Scallopini which was by any standard of cuisine or human decency an atrocity. I haven't passed on a meal for 40 years, but this one I must say exceeded my giddiest expectations of inedibility. And ironically, this is what finally touched James Morrow's tender soul. MAN: Oh! It, it's - I'm just sad now just thinking about it! I've gone from angry to just sad! This is like the 5 stages of grief here! They're saying we're going to sanitize this whole experience for you, have lots of vowels at the end of all the nouns, and you can go home and say oh gosh! Wasn't that just a lovely Italian meal! MAN: Despite repeated badgering neither the Food Network nor the Olive Garden cared to defend themselves against charges of epicurean prostitution, and I reluctantly concede in a media world that is a vast Italian buffet of unsavory synergies, this issue is like one skinny breadstick. But as the Italians always say, que sera sera. The waiter came by, and with gracious hospitalianity offered to wrap our 59 dollar leftovers to take home. We graciously declined.