Friday, July 17, 2009

A Love Affair with Food!

In honor of two of our shows in development - From Farm to Market to Table and Chewing the Fat, I have decided to do a blog all about my favorite channel - The Food Network.

When I say this is my favorite channel, I'm not joking. My TV is set to turn on to The Food Network in HD whenever it boots up. The first thing I do when checking into a hotel is see whether they have The Food Network. I can't tell you how often it's off the list - all of Walt Disney World is without! The Brown Hotel in Louisville! The Peabody in Memphis! The Long Boat Key Club in Florida! All without! Devastating really.

I first discovered The Food Network back in 1998 when I had my wisdom teeth out. I had a lot of time on the couch, and watching programs about food was actually very satisfying. I understand that this isn't always the case for everyone, but for me - it was satiating. In the beginning my favorite shows were: The Essence of Emeril, Cooking Live, Two Hot Tamales, and Ready Set Cook! I would drive my parents crazy because I commandeered the TV whenever I was home. When they first started airing the Japense Iron Chef and The Two Fat Ladies, I thought...brilliant! I was even on board for shows like Taste and the first incarnation of Molto Mario - Mario without his audience was just plain awkward. Or what about Door Knock Dinners that introduced us to Paula Dean. So fun! Competition shows like Ready Set Cook, Iron Chef and Door Knock Dinners definitely helped pave the way for Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen.

Who remembers Dweezil and Lisa - hosted by Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loeb? I do...not their best choice.

I grew up watching all the food programming on PBS when I would visit my grandfather in Connecticut. Julia Child was a staple in my house growing up. I even created my own show called The Lee Cook Show where I would prepare food for my mother. She would suffer through it, until she realized that she no longer had to cook dinner for my family.

I have always loved watching people cook. I love Hibachi where they cook in front of you, or restaurants like Boston's Fire & Ice where you pick out your ingredients and they sauté it for you. And fondue! Forget it! I'm a huge fan! Even cooking demos at supermarkets have me transfixed for hours. There is something magical about cooking. The fact that it comes to life with a few stirs and a few dashes of ingredients never ceases to amaze me.

Currently my favorite programs on Food Network are - Anything with Jamie Oliver, Unwrapped, Challenge, and 5 Ingredient Fix. For a long time my favorite was Good Eats but since Alton Brown was mean to the contestants of The Next Food Network Star a number of years ago, I find him less hilarious.

If I could make requests to The Food Network, I would say that I wish they had a show for people with allergies, or a show for vegetarians - it's been a long time since Pick of the Day with Curtis Aikens has been on air. And since Ming Tsai left, there hasn't been an Asian show.

Even though the network has changed so much in the 10 plus years that I've been watching, I'm a devotee and will keep watching until they take it off the air.

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