Friday, February 28, 2014

The food tv addiction

Not everyone is into food tv. It's not a new thing. I grew up with my dad watching Julia Child, the Cookin' Cajun and The Galloping Gourmet on Iowa Public Televsion. Decades before Food Network would come along. Years before "celebrity chefs" became the norm. A whole collection of those awesome vintage tv chef cookbooks will pass down to me someday. 

Back in the mid 90s I found myself at home for a few weeks recovering from surgery and having satellite tv, somehow I stumbled across a new network called Food Network. I was instantly hooked. Cooking shows! Real cooking shows, techniques, recipe demos, the whole bit. "Cooking Live" with Sara Moulton, "East Meets West" with Ming Tsai and of course, "Molto Mario" became a daily part of my life. The shows were inspiring to an already pretty accomplished cook and further fueled my desire to write a cook book and own my own restaurant.

Fast forward a couple decades and Food Network is still going strong. Many of the chef/hosts have become celebrities in their own right. Many tour the nation appearing at conventions and expos and meeting with fans. I had the awesome experience a few years ago at the Iowa Food and Wine Expo of meeting Sandra Lee and Guy Fieri. Guy has always been a favorite of mine, even though he got his start on the network in the type of show I dread the most- the competition show. 

Guy rode a Harley into the auditorium for his demo blasting the Motley Crue.
I was transfixed instantly  and a little starstruck meeting him. He was very
down to earth and funny!

The programming has changed. The "cooking shows" are confined to day time hours and the evenings are filled with entertainment and competition shows. Some of them are interesting and some are overdone. Some are favorites and some I never watch. Some themes are overly repeated. Too many cake shows. Too many elimination shows.

Made famous by her "Semi Homemade" recipes and cookbooks,
Sandra Lee was very gracious and took the time to visit with all of us.

A couple years ago I discovered The Cooking Channel, Food Network's cousin network. I now have TWO networks to feed my obsession!! The first thing I loved about Cooking Channel was that they still had technique and cooking shows in the evening- not all travel and competition shows. Many of their shows have a different edge than FN's shows- like instead of competing for a food truck, they have people visit food trucks and tell us about the awesome offerings. Some of the food choices are amazing! 

"Unique Eats" is a favorite of mine. You can catch old seasons of Julia Child and Mario Batali there, "French Food at Home" with Laura Calder is one of my very favorite shows- French cooking is my passion and I love her homey style. But amazingly enough the CC show that really draws me in is Nadia G's "Bitchin Kitchen". I ADORE her crazy rock chick style and her SHOES !! I'm such a geek I have her autograph on her cookbook! Total groupie!

Unfortunately for me, Iowa is often passed over for the good expos these days. We haven't had such big draw names in a long time. It's hard for a chef groupie! I need to make some road trips- I have made some amazing friends in the foodie scene since starting my blogging adventure and I'd love to meet them in person, and fill my scrapbook with foodie fun!


  1. I agree, there are too many competition shows and too many cake shows. I love baking but I don't enjoy watching people bake on TV. However, we do love Chopped. I wish Food Network would focus less on choosing just personality people and pick more people who have both. Jeff Mauro drives me nuts.

    1. Is he the Sandwich King ? I thought it might be a cute idea but it's actually boring and he isn't all that interesting.