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What are some ways to cook food so it tastes good?
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Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL! My problem is I can't handle the premises of the show on the FN. There are almost none that I can stand watching. The only chef on the network that I can stand at the moment is Ina Garten, who is still marketed like a real human being. However, she only comes on at weird times. I only find her by chance when I am eating alone and feel like background noise (I know, that is a TERRIBLE idea but I do it sometimes) or I am really tired and turn on the TV because I am too exhausted even to read. Her recipes, however are too high fat and high sugar for me, as I am watching my weight (stay stable when it should be going down for legitimate health reasons.) I basically avoid the FN across the board, unless I find something by pure chancewhile channel surfing that is less disgusting than the rest.

Somehow it flew under the radar that you have a cooking series. I need to check it out. Sadly I think you are right. The people who most need to learn to cook are unlikely to do it. That is why TV networks like the Food Network have such horrible programming. People don't really want to learn anything. They just want to watch stupid and unreasonable contests where the judges are nasty and participants end up in tears. Actually I think the format of the contests itself probably discourages people from cooking. The idea is that only a small group of people should actually be cooking, and the price of failure is high. The 15 year old boys that TV is geared to don't want to watch someone making pot roast or pasta for dinner. However, websites like this one show that there is some interest out there-- just not necessarily among TV's limited range of target audiences.


P.S. I always love "talking" to you.
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Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow it flew under the radar that you have a cooking series.

One of the things I hate most about the web are people who join a group or mail list for no other reason than to tout their own products or services. So, unless it's something germane to a conversation, I dislike tooting my own horn. That's why you haven't heard about my cooking classes.

If you're interested, please contact me privately.

The people who most need to learn to cook are unlikely to do it.

I think this overstates the case. There are numerous people who don't know how to cook but who want to learn to. I meet them all the time. There are all sorts of influences behind this return to cooking. Among those I see are:

1. People are tired of the convenience product/take-out scene. They want to prepare real food, using good ingredients. Many of those types not only want to prepare wholesome meals, they want to serve them to a family gathered together at the table.

OMG! What a concept! The end of life as we currently know it. Rolling Eyes

2. Among a certain social strata, cooking is now percieved as the "in" thing. And they want to jump on the fad. Related to this, many foodies are no longer content just to enjoy food other people have prepared; they want to be able to do it themselves.

Not a bad thing, really, because anytime there's a popular fad, many of the participants continue after the craze passes.

3. Various health-related issues. There's a growing awareness that there is a quality difference among foods that are seemingly the same. More and more folks are learning the differences, and are willing to pay for food that is nutritious, good tasting, and grown/raised properly. And they're beginning to understand government standards, and that they don't necessarily mean what they seem to.

"Vine ripened tomatoes," for instance.

Not everyone will accept this idea, of course. I have a friend who refuses to believe that if one place is selling beef tenderloin for $7.95 while another has it for $16.59 that it reflects a difference in the meat, itself. But he's an exception, I believe. Most people know there's a difference. In the past, however, they let cost and convenience be the determining factors. Now they're more concerned with the quality of the food, and how it was raised, and where it comes from.

4. Tied in with all the above, the various better food movements; locovore, and seasonal, and organic, and antibiotic free, etc.

The problem, from a marketing viewpoint, is reaching these people. There is no identifyable demographic called "new to cooking." So, while you meet these people causually, it's hard to target them with a cooking class geared to their needs.

It works the other way, too. I don't have a website for my classes. But let's say I did. If you were looking to learn cooking basics, what would be the search parameters for finding that site?

And, as I indicated earlier, the folks who are most looking for culinary education are often the least able to invest the time or money (or both) to attend.

My problem is I can't handle the premises of the show on the FN......They just want to watch stupid and unreasonable contests where the judges are nasty and participants end up in tears.

It's a chicken and egg situation. Certainly, many of the people watching FN fit that mold. But it's because that's who the shows appeal to. Those who want to learn don't bother, because there's nothing there for them.

If you really want to understand FN's programming philosophy, just think back to when Sonny Anderson's show was first being promoted. They glowingingly identified her by saying:

"She's a real Air Force vet. She's a real DJ. She's a real food lover. "

Sold creditionals for doing a cooking show, right? Gimme a break.
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Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they pick their new show hosts using the same horrible contest format. That is why they get totally unqualified people hosting their shows. Of course with cooking, formal qualifications are not necessarily the best way to determine quality. Look at Clotilde. I really really enjoy her blog, but she is not, to my knowledge, a culinary school grad. I feel that I could teach people a lot about cooking, but my main qualification is that my mom is a terrible cook and hate cooking, so I began preparing family meals as self-defense as what they now call a tween. I got tired of my mom's style of throwing together convenience foods an a not very thoughtful way, and calling it "dinner." (Her signature dish was "chop suey" made by combining Chun King brand brown chop suey base with fresh meat cut up in very irregular sizes, with a can of mung bean sprouts taped to the top of the can of unidentifiable brown stuff. Another typical meal was fish sticks with Tater Tots-- for those of you not from the U.S. they are disgusting little fried potato nuggets made to heat in the oven.) I began preparing things that I would like to eat, and sharing it with the family-- essentially teaching myself to cook out of self-defense. I think this might be the way the cookbook writer Mollie Katzen learned to cook. Although I lack some basic skills due to the way I learned, for example having poor knife skills except for peeling fruit which I am better at than anyone I have seen on TV, I have great survival cooking skills, Not that I aspire to be on TV, and ESPECIALLY not on the Food Network, but I also know they wouldn't hire me because I am in my 50s and not very photogenic. However, I would rather that beginners learn home cooking from someone similar to me, who actually prepares tasty food in a realistic way, than from Rachael Ray, who apparently fits some media profile of "cute" but whose frenetic pace and often disgusting-seeming time-saving measures absolutely do not inspire me to "try this at home." Actually I wish a lot of beginners would read Clotilde's book, or have access to a TV series with her on it, as she doesn't get fancy, and makes things I definitely WOULD (and do) try at home, but has creative and doable ideas. However, I doubt the Food Network would hire someone like her-- even though she IS photogenic, because she is not gimmicky enough.

I do like food-oriented TV, and sometimes watch PBS shows-- even Cooks Country, which tends to annoy me because of the fake use of "scientific" methods to develop "one perfect way" to create the "ideal" dish, forgetting that each family has its own tastes. At least the people are relatively genuine, and make food that actually looks edible. Actually I should have recommended that to the original poster, as they have a huge series available online, and are also beginner friendly.

Does anyone know of a good source of cooking shows-- perhaps outside of the U.S. that are not as weird and superficial as those on the F.N. Luckily it is becoming easier and easier to get access to international programming through the internet. I might be especially interested in cooking shows in French. I was just in France for 2 1/2 days, (I know-- crazy, but that is as much time as I had on a work trip to Europe) and realized that I was hearing conversations around me, as well as things like radio shows in the background (i.e. in taxis) almost as if people were speaking English, but I was not ready to talk to people until the day I left. ( I did have a nice conversation with a Delta Airlines employee at the airport about their non-functional check-in machines). I think international cooking shows, if we can access them, and if they are "palatable" would be a good way for many of us to maintain and improve our language skills. I wonder if I should make a separate post about this.

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