Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Stupid Things Food TV Teaches You


Chris Amirault
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've learned to add the word "up" to most cooking verbs. I now fry up bacon rather than fry it and I chop up onions, I no longer chop them. "Up" is also a helpful enhancement to slice, freeze, cook, stir, boil, and dice, at least according to Giada and others.

Not limited to food shows. It's a modern thing, apparently. You don't "change" things anymore, you "change them up". You don't "switch" something, you "switch it out." It's odd, isn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've learned to add the word "up" to most cooking verbs. I now fry up bacon rather than fry it and I chop up onions, I no longer chop them. "Up" is also a helpful enhancement to slice, freeze, cook, stir, boil, and dice, at least according to Giada and others.

Not limited to food shows. It's a modern thing, apparently. You don't "change" things anymore, you "change them up". You don't "switch" something, you "switch it out." It's odd, isn't it?

Finally! I'm ahead of the curve since I've been saying those things for ages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I write for an unread campus paper. If anyone I work with ever again repeats that all pork should be cooked to 170F to prevent (insert horrible doom here), I will personally hunt them down and make them eat a Kwanzaa Cake. I especially hate when they show a lovely medium-rare steak, and then tell you to cook it 'till it's indistinguishable from the charcoal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....do something that drives me to distraction: mispronounce Spätzle. I've heard spāt-zəl, spăt-zəl, and maybe even a half-gargled spatulas...but rarely the proper shpātz-ləh....

I dunno about that one. True, my visits to Germany have been very brief, but I lived and worked in Switzerland for many years, and have worked with many Germans, Austrians, and Swiss.

As the regions change, so does the pronunciation, shape,and to a certain extent, the ingredient list of the beloved spaetzle (sorry, no umlaut on my keyboard.

On a previous thread, I questioned the pronunciation of "Caramel" which I feel should be pronounced "Care-a mel", but was reminded that according to some new wiki, it is accepted to proniounce it "Car-muhl" with the "a" in the middle silent.

Meh, it's a moot point....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the whole thread. Sorry if this has been mentioned already.

I don't understand why so many of them use their bare hands to mix things.

Kneading dough, yes. Salad? No! What's under those finger nails!

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Not a TV show, but in a blog post on chicken curry, Michael Ruhlman says that his kids "are getting their veg from the chicken stock." When a reader points out that the chicken stock in a serving of curry contains virtually none of the nutrients of the vegetables used to make it, he steps in it even deeper with his reply: "really? then why does stock made with onion carrot and celery taste so much better?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a TV show, but in a blog post on chicken curry, Michael Ruhlman says that his kids "are getting their veg from the chicken stock." When a reader points out that the chicken stock in a serving of curry contains virtually none of the nutrients of the vegetables used to make it, he steps in it even deeper with his reply: "really? then why does stock made with onion carrot and celery taste so much better?"

So then ketchup does qualify as a vegetable source!

Ruhlman is kind of a numbnut at times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the whole thread. Sorry if this has been mentioned already.

I don't understand why so many of them use their bare hands to mix things.

Kneading dough, yes. Salad? No! What's under those finger nails!

dcarch

Ever read Beard On Food? He recommends using fingers as the primary mixing tools to "get the feel" of whatever you're mixing, be it a dressed salad or whisked egg mixture for an omlette!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a TV show, but in a blog post on chicken curry, Michael Ruhlman says that his kids "are getting their veg from the chicken stock." When a reader points out that the chicken stock in a serving of curry contains virtually none of the nutrients of the vegetables used to make it, he steps in it even deeper with his reply: "really? then why does stock made with onion carrot and celery taste so much better?"

Wait a minute! If we're to believe the host of the other show who taught us that vegetables boiled too long will lose their nutrients in the water, then Ruhlman is correct;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the whole thread. Sorry if this has been mentioned already.

I don't understand why so many of them use their bare hands to mix things.

Kneading dough, yes. Salad? No! What's under those finger nails!

dcarch

Ever read Beard On Food? He recommends using fingers as the primary mixing tools to "get the feel" of whatever you're mixing, be it a dressed salad or whisked egg mixture for an omlette!

What really bugs me is that whenever I see images of TV chefs, their nails are almost invariably too long.

If you work with food, it's the same as working in a health profession, you take the nails down to the finger tip, so you have a far better shot of getting your hands really clean.

It isn't even hard to do: I've more or less constantly kept my own nails in this state ever since I first became an LMT; you just file them a bit every night, which keeps them short without the risk of opening even the top layer of skin.

And long nails on people who prepare food? URGH.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

These are always fun. One can debate the need to be exact with baking and it probably depends on who you ask. I for one am an exactist.

Anyway, most TV chefs do a few things wrong. All of them. Things like:

Holding a knife - Watch how TV cook hold knives. They generally hold it with their index finger along the spine of the knife instead of holding the blade with the handle tucked under their wrist.

Oil & Water - Ever seen people try to keep pasta from sticking by pouring oil into a pot of boiling water? You don't need to be a chemist to know that oil floats on top of water and can't possibly affect the submerged pasta.

Cold Dough - If you see a TV recipe making food with cold dough, don't try it at home. Thinly cut pieces of dough need to be warm before they are pliable, and trying to use them cold will be very frustrating.

Hot Baked Goods - My personal favorite: TV chefs eating from a pie that just came out of the oven. Definitely don't try this at home as most fruit filling is hot, runny, molten lava out of the oven.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, I have never seen a TV "cook/chef/teacher" hold their knives with their index finger along the spine. EVER. In fact, most of them, if not all of them, specifically instruct you to curl your dominant hand around the handle/bolster to give you more power and control, and less chance of loping off the stray finger. And I have (and do) watch a lot of TV cooking shows, good and bad. Now, I'm not sure what a hack like Guy Fieri uses for a grip on his knives, I don't consider him a cook, and can't say I've ever watched one of his shows from start to finish, but even Rachael Ray grips her knife properly.

Same for the oil in the pasta water. Even Ray-Ray says don't do it (ok, she likely says it more cutesy like.....it's a "no-no go-go on the EVOO", or something equally as hurl-inducing), but I can't remember anyone in the last 30 years telling me to dump oil in the pasta water. Don't know where you are, and what shows you're watching, but around here, the knife thing and the oil thing don't happen and don't get promoted.

Eating the screamin' hot food, that's an occupational hazard of cooking on TV, I'm afraid. But of course, 99% of those "piping hot" dishes have been chilling in the back kitchen for an hour or so as back-up for the money shot before the host chomps into it, anyway. :cool:

Edited by Pierogi (log)

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same for the oil in the pasta water. Even Ray-Ray says don't do it (ok, she likely says it more cutesy like.....it's a "no-no go-go on the EVOO", or something equally as hurl-inducing), but I can't remember anyone in the last 30 years telling me to dump oil in the pasta water. Don't know where you are, and what shows you're watching, but around here, the knife thing and the oil thing don't happen and don't get promoted.

A couple of years ago, I saw Ina Garten pour oil into water for macaroni and cheese, saying that it would keep the macaroni from sticking. So it does still happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm also not saying that it happens frequently, as I'm probably not the first person to point out these little quirks. Just saying that I have seen it, and i'm sure someone somewhere will see it in the near future.

in all honesty I'm glad you don't have to see people making fools of themselves because the less facepalm moments in our daily lives, the more stress free we will be. I should hope people are catching on to the proper way to cook, but I'm pretty sure these aren't dead habits.

Suppose I am kind of out of date though. As much as I love cooking, TV chefs made me stop watching and almost want to stop cooking altogether. They're just silly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

JAZ "Two incredibly stupid comments from TV peeps (on the same day, no less):

From Christopher Kimball (talking about brining): "Salt is made of two molecules, so it's faster at osmosis than sugar, which only has one molecule." I don't even know what this could possibly mean.

From Rick Bayliss: Having visited mussel and oyster farms in Baja Mexico and coming back to shore with a bin of each, he said they were coming back with a "big load of crustaceans." C'mon Rick! At least edit that out -- it was a voiceover. "

That is literal jargon. Also, a basic brine generally has both salt and sugar in it soooo...?

And the thing about the crustaceans is pathetic, more so because I'm sure 90% (but maybe as many as 99%) of TV viewers don't even know that he was wrong.

On the "holding the knife" bit:

I actually had a chef instructor tell me that there were several correct ways to hold a knife (the only incorrect one being to hold it on the handle and have no interaction with the blade). For awhile, I was holding my knife with my index finger on the spine. Then after being in a kitchen where I was cutting for a few hours without stopping, I was pretty sure my finger was going to fall off so I uh... stopped doing that. Not debating the correctness of holding a knife like that (the pain will let you know it is wrong), just saying it absolutely still happens.

I also had a chef instructor who insisted that if you were steaming/boiling a potato (taking it all the way, or partial cook-age) that it should ALWAYS be cooked whole with the skin on regardless of size, or variation is size among the potatoes. I know some people are die-hard about the idea that this retains flavor but IMO even cooking takes precedence.

Also, the nails. Nothing grosses me out more than that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I am just seeing this thread for the first time even though it was started over 2 years ago. My response is to the original post. My first beef is with the Today Show never giving cooks enough time to present the recipe they were invited to show. The hosts want to chat and would talk away all the time the cook needs. So don't be surprised when cooks spill stuff or uses approximations in measurements when they don't have time to be more accurate or mix the batch thoroughly. The Today Show is going to start playing music and cut to commercial before they get finished anyway. I am quite sure Martha didn't say those things or imply that that was how it should be done, just because it happened while she was trying to get done before they went to commercial. It seems everyone loves to pick on Martha these days. And sure, lots of times someone on her staff will make a mistake in typing out a recipe of hers. I am not defending her but that circumstance is too extreme to think was SOP for her or any other cook one is watching while their child gets her teeth checked.

By the way, baking is not a science. Exact measurement is not as important as most people think. Especially flour. Baking works on chemical principals but there is a lot of room for playing around. An good baker knows full well that any home recipe for flour is an estimate and experience is what is needed for good results, not a set of scales.

Now someone who has their own show and has control over editing and does stupid things is on their own. I agree with many of the other comments I saw as I was scrolling to the end of the thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...