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Old 03-24-11, 03:58 AM   #1
Rowan
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Food as entertainment

No, this is not a discussion about overindulgence... but rather the fascination with preparing and eating food and how adventurour you may or may not be.

I don't know what it's like in the US, but here in Australia, there are probably 20 shows on mainstream, free-to-air television at the moment that are based on food.

There are My Kitchen Rules, Master Chef, Junior Master Chef (milking the concept with children), Iron Chef (the original Japanese version and the inevitable spin-offs), the various Pom shows from pottymouth Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, the tastefully sexy Nigella Lawson, and the really, really offbeat Heston's Feasts, plus a host of locally produced ones. The list just goes on and on.

There have been recipes shown for just about everything you could imagine (Heston's Feasts certainly takes them all to the edge).

Maybe the shows are intended to broaden our palates and vary our diet. Frankly, none has influenced me that way. Mainly, I suppose, because I don't watch very many of them.

What about you? Would a plethora of TV cooking shows rivet your interest? Do you have fun in the kitchen, experimenting with new taste sensations? Just how adventurous are you? Or, after 50+ years, are you happy with what you've got on your daily menus?
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Old 03-24-11, 05:53 AM   #2
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Food should not be entertainment, which might be gluttony. However, eating a healthy and interesting diet is essential for good health. You are what you eat.

My wife and I are Foodies. When you marry an Italian native, you marry a foodie. Food is culture. We cook from scratch or eat out, but mostly we cook from scratch. We are able to enjoy a diet that is both satisfying and healthy.

I've been fortunate to travel and enjoy fine dining throughout North America, Europe and China.

We also watch food shows. Lydia’s Italy and Americas Test Kitchen on PBS are excellent.

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Old 03-24-11, 06:03 AM   #3
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I basically eat for sustenance. When left to my own devices, my diet gets simple and straighfoward and there isn't much in the fridge or larder. My wife, on the other hand....
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Old 03-24-11, 06:39 AM   #4
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My maternal grandmother was a world class chef. I grew up in her kitchen. Food can be art. It can also be slop. The difference between the two is less than most people realize. If my grandmother was alive today, I expect she'd be watching most of the cooking shows on TV. She was a chef that always shared her knowledge with others, and was always appreciative of the work of others with talent. Of her four grandchildren, I was the only one allowed to work in her kitchen with her. This was primarily because I could understand and live with three of her favorite sayings: 1. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. 2. Never cook for what you like. Always cook to please those you are serving. 3. If you don't like it, it probably isn't very good. As I type this I'm smiling at remembering these sayings. Especially number three. This one meant that you always tasted, tasted and tasted again! She was, however, a stickler for technique and highly appreciated regional differences in technique and product. As an example, I remember her dicing a tomato in her hand instead of a cutting board. When I asked about this she responded, "Well, we're making a dish that is popular in southern Italy. You'll most often seen cooks there hold things in their hands to do this. It allows them to feel the food in ways you can't on a cutting board. Now if we doing a French influenced dish, I'd be using the cutting board to be more efficient. Right now I want to feel this tomato; to know if the flesh is firm enough, sweet enough, acidic enough for the dish." As you might imagine all of this was a wonderful experience that has stayed with me over the years. The down side is that my palate is pretty developed and I tend to be very adventurous in search of taste, texture, color and smell. If not carefully watched, such a palate can lead to extra pounds!
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Old 03-24-11, 08:07 AM   #5
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I am not at liberty to post photos of it from this computer, but BobThib was looking at photos from my PigFest 2011 this past weekend on Facebook, and joking that I need to do a "ride" report on BF 50+

The pig and 40 gallons of homebrewed beer, along with a live band, and about 200 friends led to a great 30th Anniversary bash for my wife and I.

It's like a chicken and egg thing though as to which came first, the pig or the beer.

So this is taking food as tv entertainment into real world entertainment. I like some of the cooking shows, but rarely watch them, my kids have watched them more. What I find bizarre is the guy who goes around accepting local food challenges.

Here's a recipe I came up with yesterday since I was REALLY dissatisfied with the Lime Cilantro Shrimp at Chili's the other day (I know, hardly a gourmand paradise).

Lime in the Coconut Cilantro Shrimp
Peel 3 lbs shrimp (31-35 per pound)
In a 6 quart pot, melt some coconut oil
Take a bunch of fresh cilantro and start pulling and smushing leaves with your fingers and put into the oil.
Add about 1/2 C Rose's Lime Juice
Add 12 oz. beer
Add some Prudhomme's Magic Salmon Seasoning
Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat and slow boil until sauce is reduced by half its volume
Add shrimp, stir through sauce, cover pot
When all shrimp is cooked, stir, and simmer until sauce is a thick consistency.

I served it surf and turf style with some beef tenderloin and a spinach salad. It would have gone great over some rice or pasta, but I was carb reducing, so left that out.
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Old 03-24-11, 09:22 AM   #6
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Watching TV food shows is not my thing. However, I love to try new dishes and new foods. I rely on the wife and restaurants for that.

Eating as recreation or habit is one of the major causes over weight/obesity IMO. I always note that at the several picnic areas we park to get access to mountain bike trails, the majority of the people drive up, park, eat at a picnic table and leave. Eating was the objective and not a nice day at the park.

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Old 03-24-11, 09:25 AM   #7
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I like watching some of the food competition shows where chefs are challenged to make dishes from certain ingredients. Some of the stuff they come up with is very clever.
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Old 03-24-11, 10:13 AM   #8
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In reply to Rowan's questions - yes, I like to experiment, yes I enjoy cooking shows.

I'm a bit conflicted on the food issue - love to make it, 50:50 on eating it. Will treat a lazy weekend as kitchen time, making a load, some for the freezer and some for a get together with friends. Don't much like eating it, though (not because I don't trust myself! I suspect because I was diagnosed Diabetic in 1968 when the medical advice was 'don't eat, it'll kill ya'. Things have, happily, moved on). I'll get myself a saucer serving!
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Old 03-24-11, 01:10 PM   #9
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I love food and am very entertained by it. I like to watch cooking shows. They have helped me learn that quality and variety are more important to the value of food than massive quantities. My love of good food has helped me change my lifestyle to eating smaller, healthier portions. Last night, I cooked lemon basil chicken breasts with asparagus for myself and my wife. The asparagus was cold from the can with a tiny dash of balsamic vinagrette. The chicken breasts were sauteed in olive oil with lemon juice, sweet basil, a teaspoon of honey, salt and lemon pepper.
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Old 03-24-11, 01:57 PM   #10
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Still my favourite TV cook.


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Old 03-24-11, 03:52 PM   #11
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I love cooking shows, including Ramsey screaming at those who can't scream back. Sick, I know, but I enjoy it. Love the competitions. Love "Throw Down". Love to cook, but don't do it enough.
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Old 03-24-11, 04:48 PM   #12
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I don't watch much TV, but i did take up cooking as a hobby since I retired in '08. I'm not an aspiring gourmet chef, I just have a collection of cookbooks and i follow the recipes, mainly Italian, Thai, Indian and Chinese. A wonderful way to spend time. Shopping for fresh ingredients, chopping, slicing, etc., cooking the stuff up. My wife and i hardly ever go out to eat because we eat better at home. Lots of fun and healthy besides.
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Old 03-25-11, 12:25 AM   #13
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I think some posters may have confused "entertainment" with "overindulgence", which I tried to clarify in my opening post was not the case.

The entertainment comes from the knowledge that these shows can provide on the history, as well as the technique involved in preparing and eating food.

I keep referring to Heston's Feasts not because I am a keen fan of what he does, but he sure makes the show interesting with how he goes about preparing dishes. And the servings are small. It's like... good things come in small packages, and it's the taste sensations that he is trying to educe in people's mouths, rather than the quantity that is the point of what he does.

That "saucer servng" wobblyoldgeezer refers to.

There have been a couple of series from the UK on beverages -- about wine, with Oz Clark and James May doing a motorhome tour across the US, and another on beer and cider in the UK itself. Both have been entertaining for the banter, but also for the history and reasons behind the varieties of wine, beer or cider.

I think credit also is due to the immigrants to our countries for broadening our food options. Forty or 50 years ago, Thai and Indian food probably didn't register on most people's menus. And in Australia, Italian and middle-European dishes didn't come into vogue until the post-World War Two migration.
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Old 03-25-11, 12:39 AM   #14
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Our family if firmly ensconced in the Whatever is Appropriate camp. We enjoy good food and from our travels have incorporated a wide variety into our diet. But, as the OP says this isn't "entertainment" per se. It is appreciation for the blessing of having affordable choices. On the other hand there are times when food is fuel, nothing more and nothing less. The goal is to get enough calories into the body with a minumum of diversion from the activity at hand.

One thing that is constant though is that we do our absolute best to not waste. It took a lot of resources to get that food to our table. Good stewardship demands that we respect that and, if it is an animal dish, the life that was given for our nutrition and enjoyment.

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Old 03-25-11, 04:31 AM   #15
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Well, I did enjoy several episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, till they started to seem repetitive. I loathe cooking competiton shows. But then I don't tend to watch competiton shows of any sort except Junkyard Wars which I enjoy the creativite answers to the problems rather than the competiton.

I disagree with the poster who said that food shouldn't be entertainment though. I don't see why it shouldn't.
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Old 03-25-11, 08:45 AM   #16
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The whole ethnic food experience is a wonderful way to widen your horizons. I never ate pho until I went with my favorite riding group on our monthly pho ride. I've got to remember not to miss it next wednesday.
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Old 03-25-11, 09:14 AM   #17
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I think some posters may have confused "entertainment" with "overindulgence", which I tried to clarify in my opening post was not the case.

The entertainment comes from the knowledge that these shows can provide on the history, as well as the technique involved in preparing and eating food.
I agree that cooking shows provide constructive entertainment. My qualifier concerning "Food as entertainment" was based on the title, more than the text. The text is more narrowly focused on Food programming as entertainment.

Food is a great source of nourishment and joy. However, food also a source of health related issues for millions of Americans.
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Old 03-25-11, 11:45 AM   #18
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"Man Versus Food" is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine, but I really don't watch actual cooking shows very much. Now home improvement/repair or house hunting... that is very popular in our house.
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Old 03-25-11, 10:29 PM   #19
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1. I will watch "Hell's Kitchen" (Ramsay), and occasionally "Kitchen Nightmares". PBS around here is LOUSY with cooking shows, most a good remedy for insomnia. Don't see Martha on-air anymore, but Rachael Ray still stirs it up (be fun to see her cooking in the buff..........)

2. Man V. Food is one of my favorites; I try not to watch it, though, when the food $$ are low, as it's like watching porn alone in a full-body cast.

3. Last year, I conceived the dream of a nationwide bike tour of Man V. Food destinations -- I'd never lose a pound, no matter how many miles I rode! LOL!
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Old 03-26-11, 07:56 PM   #20
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"Man Versus Food" is an occasional guilty pleasure of mine, but I really don't watch actual cooking shows very much. Now home improvement/repair or house hunting... that is very popular in our house.
I just watched Man Vs Food for the first time about 10 minutes after I last posted to this thread. If anything, watching that made me lose my appetite, although it was mildly entertaining.
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Old 03-29-11, 04:35 PM   #21
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Old 03-29-11, 04:45 PM   #22
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Huckabee watchers have noticed that he's packed on a few pounds since he wrote that book. Ooops.
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Old 03-29-11, 04:48 PM   #23
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My wife and I have enjoyed watching this show for years. We haven't tried any of the recipes. We just like to see the "strange" concoctions they come up with and the unusual venues are a plus.

These are old re-runs. Jennifer passed away in 1999 so that ended the show.
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Old 03-29-11, 05:39 PM   #24
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started long long time ago, saw the original Julia show where she cut herself and bled all over, on PBS...then JacquePepin ..Don't watch tv cooking any more cause, its kinda bland now...cooking is a big thing around here , do charcutrie, bake a lot,spend lots time on E Gullet.com,with the rest of the foodies(just got a batch of bread going for tomorrow AM, ( 8, loaves) . then a 20 mile ride..
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Old 03-29-11, 08:23 PM   #25
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I have watched cooking shows here and there over the years. I've always enjoyed them, but I became obsessed with them while I was undergoing and recovering from throat cancer treatments a little over two years ago. I would watch Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins or Man vs Food or just about anything that came on. I was having so much trouble eating any food at all and watching the shows would make me so hungry that I could manage to force down a bit of food before the pain would take away my appetite. Now I can't even watch Man vs Food as I feel so sorry for the way the star is making himself sick by constantly overindulging. I still enjoy some of the great places Guy finds on DDD.
But for my all time favorite cooking show, there is really no contest.

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