I have spent many hours watching cooking shows. I like them for the ideas they give me to vary my go to meals. I like them because I like food. My favorite cooking shows are those with a competition built in. Iron Chef is one of my favorites. I'm fascinated by the ways that these chefs take unique ingredients and build on average a 4 course meal around that ingredient. I like trying to guess which chef will win based off of the judges comments and my own perception of what their meals might taste like. I really enjoy chocolatier and cake making competitions. In these there is usually a theme. The contestants design and makes practice pieces and then the big day comes. The contestants have their space and you get to watch the edited process from the beginning. After many hours they transfer their chocolaty sculptures or elaborate cakes to the judging table.
This afternoon I stumbled onto an old black and white cooking show called The French Chef. The featured recipe was french onion soup. I only caught the last couple of minutes. The cook placed french bread slices on top of the soup and spread thinly grated cheese over the top and into the oven it went. In the way of cooking shows she pulled a nearly finished french onion soup from a second oven. In a measuring cup she measured loosely a variety of ingredients and mixed them with some of the broth from the soup. Her final instructions were "give it a shimmie." as she shimmied the soup to mix the added ingredients into the soup. At the table she pointed out a good meal to go with the soup and the appropriate way to serve it. Signing off she said, "Now you know the proper way to brown onions without burning them. This is Julia Child until next time..." I must say that Meryl Streep did an excellent job imitating Julia Child's voice in Julie and Julia.
On a different channel I found America's Test Kitchen. They demonstrated how to make Chinese style BBQ short ribs. The sauce involved hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, sugar, lots of fresh ginger, and garlic. This sauce was poured over the ribs and then the whole package was put into the oven for slow cook. Then the ribs with the basting sauce were placed on a hot grill with earl gray tea bags in tinfoil placed over the coals to add a nice smokey flavor. After removing the ribs from the grill and plating them, they ate them. Oohing and aahing they exclaim the quality of flavor and the tenderness of the meet. Finally they direct you to where you can find the recipe so you too can make delectable ribs.
As much as I enjoy cooking shows, the part I dislike is watching the cooks, audience, and judges eat all that fabulous looking food. I don't want to make these. I want to eat them the way the professionals make them. It is a problem watching people on TV eating delectable foods and exclaiming over them and all I can do is watch from the sterile medium of my television, no taste and no smell. If I knew how I would find a way to get myself onto those shows regularly so I could eat and even better if I could get paid to eat. The only way to make it better would be to be on a TV show that incorporates travel and food. But I digress. I like cooking shows. If you want to give your brain a break sit back and watch Paula Deen work her magic with butter and other fabulous ingredients.