Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Iron Chef Taught Me about Home Cooking

I'm reading several books right now, all of them orbiting around the central question of WHAT'S FOR DINNER? At the top of my pile is Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle along with Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.

I'm also devouring other food blogs and found a noteworthy observation from Michael Pollan on the New York Times Well Blog (find the whole interview here):

...A lot of us are intimidated by cooking today. We watch cooking shows on TV but we cook very little…You’re going to have to put a little more time and effort into preparing your food. I’m trying to get across how pleasurable that can be. It needn’t be a chore. It can be incredibly rewarding to move food closer to the center of your life.

I don't watch food TV, in part because I've cooked professionally (I bet much of the success of cooking shows is based on the intrigue about the inner workings of a professional kitchen; there's less intrigue for professionals) and in other part because when TV moves closer to the center of my life I don't get anything done. More than hoovering productivity there's a danger in getting too wrapped up in food TV, celebrity chefs, and the restaurant scene in that it turns eating well into a complicated pursuit. Certainly it's fantastic that we have talented chefs who do amazing things with food, but the reality of cooking at home should be within reach of the home cook. Moreover, the gourmand's diet championed by such diversions is usually an unhealthy diet.

Of course there's the entertainment factor, and I can't argue with that.

What has Food TV done for you lately?


Unknown said...

Iron Chef was great entertainment when we discovered it going on 10 years ago. Though we watched it for the hilarious English dubbing, not for the food. Mike likes food TV because you can turn it on and off whenever you want without really missing anything, even if you only have 5 minutes, and occasionally learn something. I can't stand most of it, including all the kitchen intrigue shows, but I make exceptions for Everyday Food because I love the magazine and many of the recipes, sometimes for Lidia, because how can you not love her, and, I'm embarrassed to say, for Alton Brown's Good Eats. His manner is so strange, but I invariably learn something that seems useful at the time. Don't ask me to recall any of it though!

Katie Fairbank said...

i did not know everyday food was also a show. does it sync with the publication or present new material?

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