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OK, I know you all watch the Food Network... according to recent surveys, most of America does.

Although I do not own a television, I have become a huge fan of Food TV. I have a friend who has cable with DVR, so he records some shows that we can watch later (and fast forward through the commercials.)

My first favorite was Rachael Ray (30 Minute Meals) whose basic concept is that making dinner from scratch takes just as much time as calling up a nearby eatery and waiting for the food to be delivered. Though I quickly tired of her perkiness, I have to say that her concept is a very sound one. She also reintroduced me to the idea of "eyeballing it," that is, measuring without using a spoon or measuring cup. For some reason I had forgotten all about that-- in the late 1970's I cooked in restaurants where I used to do that all the time.

My current favorite is Sara Moulton (Sara's Secrets.). Everything about her show is pretty sound-- plus you can tell she actually is a professional chef without reading her bio. How? Her use of tongs for one thing-- if you have ever worked in a restaurant you would know that is typical of a line cook.
Indeed her creds are pretty major-- right from CIA (the Culinary Institute Of America, not the other one) to working for Julia Child and La Tulipe in the 1980's and on the Gourmet Magazine. She's good stuff!

I know many of you like Martha Stewart, but as far as cooking goes, she obviously hasn't picked up a kitchen utensil, except on the air, in years.

Ina Garten is OK, but could she tell us she lives in Bridgehampton one more time? Never mind that all her "friends" are florists and designers.

Some I seriously loathe...

Emeril Lagasse-- his Cajun roots are sound but all that "Bam!" drives me nuts. And now you would have to sign over all of your paycheck to buy the ingredients he uses in his dishes-- no way! Real Cajun cooking is for po' folk, thank you.

Sandra Lee-- Her show, "Semi-Homemade" is repulsive. It's as if she is on the payroll of Campell's Soup or the makers of Cool-Whip. If I wanted to eat preservatives, I wouldn't bother cooking for myself.

Bobby Flay--- just plain yuck!

I wonder, does anyone else on the M'Boards have anything to say about this phenomena?
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Food TV Addict

Hattie - I'm right there with you when it comes to Food TV - it's the main non-movie channel that I return to over and over again on my cable box. I agree with your reviews of Emeril and Bobby Flay - their recipes usually contain way too much testosterone for my tastes. I despise the cult of Emeril. It's strange to see older tapes of his show - he is much more subdued - and no live audience! Although I must say I did watch the Emeril Live episode with Pat Benetar!

My current fave is PAULA DEAN - a southern mom that makes recipes right out of Southern Living. Most of the dishes are ones I would never make myself, but it's fun to listen to her drawl on about her friends and family. One recipe on her show showed how to make fudge from a packet of Velveeta cheese! Truly entertaining.

I like Ina Garten but HATE the name of her show Barefoot Contessa. She's great because she's usually spilling ingredients onto her bosom from the mixing bowl. I will always have a soft spot for Martha even though she is the LAST person I'll use a recipe from. Have you been to It's a great resource for any recipe from any show. You can even view the recipes on 3" by 5" index card format for your printer!

My other current fave is Good Eats with Alton Brown. He takes some getting used to but his show explains the science behind whatever food he is covering that day. I've learned many things from Good Eats - including the fact that raw garlic residue on your cutting board can cause salmonilla just as easily as raw meat! Nerdy fun!

I have a love-hate relationship with the Unwrapped show with Marc Summers. Knowing he is ultra-obsessive compulsive (the ex-host of Double Dare on Nickelodeon had an in-depth interview on a network news show confessing his "illness") makes him more appealing. But nine tenths of the factory foods they show in production end up in some kind of cement tumbler! Surprise!

And of course there's old episodes of Iron Chef. I hate the fact that Bobby Flay has wormed his way onto the newer episodes, though. French Iron Chef Sakai is my all-time favorite. He illustrates the fact that you don't have to be a camera-loving hysterical screamer to be a popular TV Chef.

One thing that I have a problem with is the advertising on Food TV. A lot of the foods advertised are factory foods - geared towards convenience and containing horrible preservatives. I understand they have to pay the bills, though. It's just that the corporate hydrogenated-oil / nutrasweet industry seems to be contrary to what is being taught on the channel.

Happy cooking!
I love Paula Dean now too! She's like the Southern version of Two Fat Ladies, with every recipe containing butter, mayonnaise or lard-- or all three! Did you see her wedding, complete with her gay sons in drag? A hoot!
For another big hoot, check out Ciao Italia-- it's not on Food TV, but on WLIW, Channel 21, when they are not doing one of their endless fundraisers. The host, MaryAnn Esposito steamrolls over the cuisine of Italy, region by region, mangling the Italian tongue in the process... and she bears a striking resemblance to Hapi Phace!
I do like Alton Brown a lot-- the garlic episode with his unseen (except for a very white hand with huge ring) vampire guest brought tears to my eyes.
Iron Chef is just plain madness.
It was the food network that got my appitite back after my illness. I salivated at every dish I saw on tv. And now I'm healthy, fat and can turn out a hot dish when needed. And I love Paula Dean. She reminds me of all the great southern ladies who cooked for me as a child. I think Hattie Hathaway should have her own show on that network. I know she can cook it up with the best of them. Yum!

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