Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cooking Shows

I love cooking shows. I didn't learn how to cook from my mother or grandmother. I learned by watching TV. Justin Wilson, Jeff Smith, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Graham Kerr, Burt Wolf – they were my teachers. Goofy at times, but overall they came across as knowledgeable, talented, thoughtful people with whom you would enjoy sitting down to dinner.

What the hell happened?

Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Rachael Ray… Rachael effing Ray? I doubt one of them could heat up a can of soup without their sous chef, and they certainly aren't teachers. Can you imagine having dinner with any one of these pretentious twits? When was it decided that the number one quality for a successful TV cook was a ridiculously annoying persona? And when did they stop teaching?

A glaring exception to the current state of affairs is Alton Brown. Good Eats is a very entertaining program with a nod to old school, PBS-style cooking shows. Brown really teaches. And if you didn't catch Feasting on Asphalt, his recent documentary on road food, you should.

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