Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food Shows on Television

I have to confess that I’ve become a TV cooking program junkie. I love Jacques Pépin and watch him when I can on PBS. More Fast Food My Way, which has just started, seems to continue where his fine Fast Food My Way left off. Also on PBS, I watch Lidia’s Italy, enjoying not only the cooking but also the information presented on the different regions of Italy. I have the companion books to all these series and all are full of practical, easily executed delicious recipes.

Most of my watching is on the Food Network, though. The important thing is to have a recording device (I have a DVR) so you can skip over the commercials (which cuts a 30-minute show down to 18 minutes) and the things you really have no interest in cooking. Watch them all and then choose those whose recipes seem consistent with your own cooking and life style, and whose shtick doesn’t bother you too much.

Recipes that you like are available on, which has an annoyingly complex web site.

That being said, I like

Good Eats, with Alton Brown. Pretty annoying shtick but really a treasure trove of information on specific foods and ingredients (for example, salt, pepper, bananas, eggs, chocolate, etc.) and good recipes, too.

Molto Mario, with Mario Batali. Lots of information about Italian regional specialties, and lots of fun to watch. The only problem is that I have had hit or miss results with the recipes. Editing, editing, editing.

Easy Entertaining, with Michael Chiarello. Very interesting takes on traditional dishes, and recipes that always seem to get delicious and impressive results.

Everyday Italian, with Giada de Laurentis. I always want to dislike this show, but many interesting, well-presented and clear recipes, which work in practice.

Boy Meets Grill, with Bobby Flay, one of the most brilliant and creative chefs around. I don’t have a grill and the recipes are a bit complex, but that’s because he’s creating multiple layers of flavors and textures in his brilliant recipes. Usually capable of being done on a stovetop grill pan or broiler.

Tyler’s Ultimate, with Tyler Florence. Enthusiastic chef with interesting whole menus and careful research; he really does create wonderful recipes by taking the best of the classics and simplifying for home use.

Jamie at Home, with Jamie Oliver. Great stuff, with his infectious personality and bold, bold use of herbs and spices. I’m only sorry I didn’t see his earlier series. By the way, the companion cookbook is excellent.

Healthy Appetite, with Ellie Krieger. Healthy dishes that are simple and delicious. A balanced approach to healthy eating.

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, with Anne Burrell. A new series that looks promising. It seems to be what it purports to be: insights as to how the pros do it that you can use at home.

And I have to admit to liking Iron Chef, the Japanese prototype of which I used to watch in Japan in the late 1990's, and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. They are just fun to watch.

Bobby Jay

1 comment:

Ordinary Servant said...

I love Jacques Pépin. I also love all the chefs you mentioned on Food Network. But I also appreciate Nigella... I find her recipes to be sensually delicious!