I do NOT like cooking shows.
They pretty much NEVER have "real" food, and there is this attitude that everyone OUGHT TO like the same things. Judges pontificate over the perfect doneness of pasta or rice, when peoples around the world like them done to different textures. They rave over the delightful spiciness or tanginess and how it is "just perfect", or "not quite right", when in fact no two people in the world have the same tastes in food. All winning on a cooking contest means, is that you happened to please the judge. It does not mean you are better than anyone else at producing edible food. Having your own cooking show doesn't mean you have any grasp on how to produce good food either.
My mother watches these shows, and I just roll my eyes. Martha Stewart is a great eye-rolling example (Sorry, Martha, I'm sure you are very nice in person.) - "There, a lovely cake that you can make for your next dinner party.".
Because I have dinner parties and I have the time to spend 7 hours fussing over a really weird cake with unidentifiable things sticking out on top of it. Thanks, but it is coming out of a box, or I am picking up a $5 special at the grocery store. If I HAVE a dinner party - which just means a couple of friends or family are doing potluck with us.
And then there's the lady who cooks fish bones. To eat. The head, and the spine, and the tail. And the cheeks are already gone from the head. She dredges it in flour, and deep fries it. And eats it. And laments why everyone throws out such good food. ?????!!
Another one features beets on her menu at her restaurant. She devises 3 or 4 recipes featuring them. A salad, a hot side dish, and a dessert. All very strange. And wonders why they are not flying out of the kitchen. The evening ends in discouragement, as the dishes are a failure. Nobody is enchanted with beets. So she tries turnips next. Or brussels sprouts. Episode after episode she just cannot understand why the local people do not like her New York take on "local cuisine". Why nobody wants a dessert made of turnips. Why rustic southerners will not PAY for her experimental chefery.
The smokin' and grillin' crowd always puts "just the right amount of heat" into their rubs and sauces. Tell me, please, what is "just the right amount of heat", according to the professional standard? I've yet to meet any two people who like the same amount of pepper in their food! And yet, they'd have you feel guilty and wimpy if you like less, and uncouth and unskilled if you put more than they personally use!
I wonder who it is that dictates the standards in the first place. Who is it that says what "al dente" really means? Who is it that determines the EXACT point at which broccoli must be pulled from the steamer and put upon the plate? Who is it that decided they'd rather be buried alive than place a morsel of "substandard" food between their lips? Who is it that decided that chocolate with bacon was trendy?
I really want to know! Why is THIS Philly Steak sandwich "too untraditional to be a REAL Philly Steak sandwich", and THAT Philly Steak sandwich is "too traditional to be creative"? What do you want? Do you want a Philly Steak sandwich, or do you want something that ISN'T a Philly Steak sandwich but reminds you of one JUST THIS MUCH???
And can you REALLY tell me that ANY discriminating food judge in the world would actually even TASTE food with leftover french fries or a half eaten dried out bagel in it? Seriously?
My mother insists that there is something to learn from the shows. I haven't the time to watch hours and hours of shows, to sift out the one little tidbit that I did not know, that is of marginal value, and that I could have done with out (or that I'd have learned on my own anyway eventually). Life is too precious to waste my time on non-essential drivel.
I don't have time to learn how to do things I will never need to do, using ingredients that are not even available in the stores here. We are working on developing a research farm, and part of that research is food research. I learn more from our own comparison studies and experiments than I do from an hour watching someone else puttering around with THEIR agenda (which has nothing to do with mine).
Ok, so the old Julia Child episode that shows which chicken is really a Roasting Chicken, and what the other age birds are, and how to tell how old the bird really is, was TRULY USEFUL to me! Because I RAISE CHICKENS! If I did not, I would not have been so thrilled to see it! Of course, her voice really is that annoying, but it isn't as annoying as the Food Nanny (who is also a very nice person, but has a really irritating show). I can put up with Julia's voice, because what she taught me was valuable. Some of her other lessons were totally irrelevant to me though.
This morning my mother has chosen to watch a puling children's show, with oversized stuffed animals that alternately sing meaningless inoffensive lyrics, and whine about problems nobody can fix because they are not real or not within the control of anyone (no solution, just whining). Food or cooking shows, whatever you want to call them, are just as irrelevant to me, and just as annoying.