21st CENTURY ANDY ROONEY: COOKING SHOWS

I like to think that our generation can remember life before certain luxaries became staples in our normal day to day. Personal Computers, High Speed Internet (the sound of a dial up modem will never escape me), Autotune, Tivo, etc. I remember TV not having as many channels and options as it does now. One channel that entered my life around the age of nine was the Food Network. The Food Network started as a humble and simple group of shows who’s content was exactly what the name said: Food. They cooked up a storm on the Food Network. Over time, the channel developed some Celebrity Chefs: Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali to name a few. Currently, the Food Network has a roster made up entirely of these celebrity chefs. These celebrities have even gone on to make spin off shows on other networks (Rachel Ray’s talk show for example).

These celebrity chefs are larger than life characters. I think the food they make looks pretty good but I find myself checking out the shows to see their egos at work. Shows like Iron Chef or the one where the disheveled man eats disturbing amounts of food just stroke their celebrity ego. I don’t even remember what they cooked. I used to learn something when this channel first started but now I just watch to simply be entertained. Aren’t I supposed to learn something from a cooking show?

This made me look toward the past. Who is the originator? Who can I really take something away from? After a few discussions with some culinary inclined friends, it came to me. My cooking show woes would only be solved by one woman: Julia Childs. Yes! This magnificent woman who was bigger than I am (she stands at a mighty 6’2) could teach me something. I typed her name in on Youtube and found a treasure trove of videos. The first video was her creating an omelette. I’ve always had a hard time with my omelette and it usually takes me about 5 minutes or so. Not Julia. She said I can make one in about 30 seconds and you know what? She was right. The next video was about Lobster. This made me realize that Julia had a sense of humor about her. It also made me wonder if she liked to have a few drinks while she filmed her videos. She taught me about chicken and how to cook other delicious things with her friend Jacques Pepin. My favorite part about it (besides the accent and the extremely generous servings of butter she used) is that she did this to educate. She knew what a talented chef ¬†she was but she spoke on a pedestrian’s level. Her show was designed for the novice chef sitting at home so they could create an extraordinary meal for themselves in the comfort of their own kitchen. There wasn’t a time limit to adhere to, there wasn’t a competition. It was simply cooking to educate.