Approved by chowhounds

After a passel of cooking shows on the Food Network, a defense thereof:

[T]he reason I like these shows is probably the same reason a lot of people dislike or deride them: they are unrealistically ideal. The people in them seem to have fairly perfect lives — they must have a lot of money; their houses are always clean; they live near good places to buy food so they don’t have to fight the crowds at the Wal-mart and they don’t have to try to find the least-squashed-looking cauliflower in the produce section there. And you know what? I want that fantasy. I want to believe that someone out there doesn’t lead a life like mine, which feels like it’s about thirty percent making it up as I go along, twenty percent having no idea what I’m doing, and fifty percent fearful that I’m actually doing it all wrong. And I know (intellectually, again) that the people don’t have perfect lives — surely Ree Drummond and her husband argue sometimes, or their kids aren’t as sweet and cooperative as we see on the show, and Ina Garten probably gets angry at times or maybe has that one flakey friend who agrees to do something for her but never does — but emotionally, I want to believe there are people out there who don’t seem to have so many big messes in their lives.

I can’t imagine Ina Garten angry, at least not without the accompaniment of apocalyptic-looking storm clouds just above her brow.

On that Life Ratio, I figure there’s a 50-percent chance that I’m doing it all wrong, but I figure the rest of the species routinely faces basically the same unfavorable odds, which takes some (not all) of the sting out of it.



  1. jsallison »

    5 January 2017 · 7:38 pm

    Used to like Graham Kerr’s shows. He played against a live audience, the studio shows bored (as did Graham when he lost the audience). And to show consistency is the sign of a weak mind, I liked Good Eats. Did like Iron Chef, on both sides of the Pacific, and now, Chopped. All the ones that are basically ‘hey look at me showing off in my faux kitchen!’ just don’t do anything for me.

  2. McG »

    6 January 2017 · 8:09 am

    My mom was a fan of Martin Yan. He too had a live audience.

  3. JT »

    6 January 2017 · 9:19 am

    Graham Kerr was a lot of fun to watch, both as the Galloping Gourmet and later under his regular name. I also had a soft spot (or is that butter and duck fat :) ) for Julia Child. Most of the new shows are pure dreck.

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