Food Network

I sat down to watch a cake decorating show on Food Network, but it turned into a show about engineering. Could the bakers/designers duplicate (in cake) a favorite car?   On the next show, they built a replica of a DJ’s sound board.

I like the cooking process so much I’ll watch, enthralled, while someone makes a sandwich, but I don’t want to watch cooks building structures out of food.

Food Network was a comforting, homey background for me, one I could leave on in a room while I did other things. When a recipe caught my eye, I’d  stop and watch.  I record every show I don’t want to miss and notice there are fewer now from Food Network.  (However, I have in the process discovered Cooking Channel.)

Some of the Food Network’s changes are interesting, but shows that involve bizarre  foods or non-foods lose me immediately.

The last time I sat down with a cup of coffee to visit with Food Network in real time, there were competitions going on most of the day. I’m not a fan of shows where cooks work against the clock, get critiqued and then eliminated.  The shows where  Food Network chooses their own “new stars?”  I’d rather be left out of those decisions.  Cooking as a sport doesn’t grab me, but I may be in the minority here.

Food preparation is giving way to food-as-adventure.  I like shows where recipes are named and then prepared and then tasted and the host is personable, where a love of food and the cooking of same are stressed.

Dear Food Network, here’s what I like best:  Cooking.

Ó Anita Garner 2009

TV Shows That Feel Like Home

Ever take a walk at dusk and look into lighted windows?   From the outside looking in, things seem warm and cozy. That’s the feeling I look for in a favorite TV show.  Not a particular house, but that feeling.  My favorite shows all have that in common.  

Favorite shows from the past took place (present-tense on many of these because they’re available on dvd anytime we want to re-watch) within a set that became as familiar as my house. Those of us who watched The Waltons every week feel we know every nook and cranny of that two-story farmhouse  – and the outbuildings as well.

Little House had not only the iconic cabin, but an entire town built from the minutiae in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the imagination of Michael Landon and his co-creators.

A favorite Britcom, As Time Goes By, features a flat in London that feels like a place where I can stop by for tea and gossip. 

Food Network shows take us into some of our favorite kitchens.  True, many are sets built to simulate a home environment, but some actually take place in the homes of the cooks – Nigella Lawson in one of her London kitchens, Paula Deen in her home in Savannah, and Jamie Oliver from his country farm.

On Friends, the apartment is crucial to the show.   Ditto Sex And The City. Which fan of Frasier hasn’t memorized the placement of each and every furnishing and accessory?

But home isn’t only a place.  It’s also a feeling.  Mash  took place in wartime Korea in unfamiliar settings, yet because of the characters’ need to rely on each other, somehow it felt like an odd out-of-time-and-space home every week.

More than one show that generates warmth and a home-style feel took place in a bar.  Cheers comes to mind, but  there have been many others.

I’m looking for some new favorites, shows that feel like home because the characters seem to belong there – or belong to each other.  Any suggestions?

Ó Anita Garner 2008