Americans love cooking shows. According to a 2010 Harris Poll, as many as eight out of ten adults regularly watch them. But these shows are not created equal. Reality TV cooking shows like “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Top Chef” (even though we love them) are a far cry from the mainstay how-to programs.
And then there’s the startling trend that as more Americans watch shows about cooking, fewer of us than ever are cooking at home on a regular basis. It is a puzzling situation, but the blame lies, at least partially, with the cooking show itself.
But it quite possible that the cooking show could help us get back in the habit of making wholesome meals at home rather than drooling over complicated and contrived cooking show fodder.
Many shows past and present do offer up techniques and how-to useful info for everyday cooks to make up delicious meals at home. Some of these shows are relatively new, and others a blast from the past. Whether on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, enjoy this list of some favorite cooking shows to stream. It’s the best way to learn the difference between julienne and chiffonade (which are different techniques for cutting up vegetables for those not in the know), and a host of time-savers, flavor enhancers, and much more--including wildly entertaining personalities and conversations.
5 Classic Cooking Shows to Watch Right Now
1. “The French Chef” (1963-1973)
Julia Child brought French cuisine and technique to the United States and television , and voila!, she change the way we cook and eat forever. She was the original reality TV star and her recipe for potato leek soup is simply a thing of beauty.
2, “Good Eats” (1999-2012)
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Alton Brown combined cookery and science in this one-of-a-kind show. It was a cross between the “Science Guy” meets Jacque Pepin, and it was great fun while it lasted. This show is great for not only technique but the why behind the technique. It’s a must-watch for any home cook or chef.
3. “Barefoot Contessa” (2002-present)
Ina Garten teaches home cooks that simple dishes can seem complicated while she makes complicated dishes seem simple. She is a mainstay in the cooking show world, and her shows are full of easy techniques that are meant to translate across dishes.
4. “Emeril Live” (1997-2007)
Emeril Lagasse was probably the first superstar cook. He combined entertainment and cooking and helped create the phenomenon of the celebrity chef. His show was not only infectious to watch, but he also imparted a love of food and showcased cuisines and dishes that were outside the typical American fare.
5. "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" (1999-2000)
Jacque Pepin, a French chef who shared his love and technique of French cuisine, joined Julia Child on this short-lived but beloved show. The two had a delightful chemistry that is a joy to behold, and they could cook a mean Steak Au Poivre. Don’t let the French cuisine deter you either. Much of the technique used in French cookery is universal across many different types of cuisines.
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