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Anyone having fun watching old cooking shows?

Kim Shook

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Since getting a Firestick, I find that I hardly ever watch what it actually ON cable anymore.  I watch a lot of Antiques Roadshow, America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country (IMDB has the both the older ones and some newer ones), various Youtube things and some old Food Network shows.  I’ve recently been bingeing by going back and forth between Ina Garten and Sandra Lee.  Ina for good, dependable, elegant-but-not-fussy food.  And Sandra for hilariously horrible food and her mind-numbingly stupid pronunciations and statements. 


Sandra has not disappointed.  When she’s on the three of us are either howling with laughter or screaming at her in disbelief.  It is theatre of the absurd and truly entertaining. 


Ina was, up to a couple of recent viewings, equally reliable – in a completely different way, of course.  And then…on one episode she makes a sausage roll with merguez.  She specifies 1/2-inch sausage.  And proceeds to tell you to cook it at 400F for 20 minutes.  Then you turn it over and cook for another 10.  Then you cool it before rolling up in puff pastry and baking it for ANOTHER TWENTY TO TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES 😳.  In other words, she instructs you to cook 1/2-inch-wide sausage for a total of almost an HOUR!!!  I confess that I didn’t try this recipe.  I really don’t feel that I need to.  I firmly believe that sausage cooked that long, at that temperature, is going to be very, very dry and tough. 


And then I happened to watch an Ina episode and a Sandy episode on the same day where they made the same dish – crab cakes.  Imagine my shock when SANDY won the day.  Ina lived and worked in Washington DC for a time.  You can’t tell me that someone with her palate never went to Baltimore or any of the little Eastern Shore towns for crabcakes.  There is no excuse for the appalling crabcakes she made on this show – they included onion, celery, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, and capers.  Sandy’s: crabmeat, mayo, bread crumbs, Old Bay, egg, lemon juice, and saltines.  Except for the breadcrumbs (not necessary), I can’t argue with those ingredients at all.


I still love Ina and will continue to make many of her recipes and I will also continue to enjoy mocking Sandy, but this rocked my culinary world and put a dent in my assumptions. 😁


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  • 2 months later...

I can’t remember the last time we watched “broadcast” TV, decent broadband has fundamentally changed how we consume all kinds of media.  My favourite cooking shows are now a mix of the old, the very old and the very new found on YouTube; also French language cooking via streaming.  A favourite  (but not to replicate the recipes, just nostalgia because she was such a presence during my childhood) is Fanny Craddock, with or without henpecked husband Johnny who acted as commis.


Ina les recettes is an archive of French language cooking broadcasts going back to the 1960s, hours of fun.  

in the 1980s and newly married husband and I learn to cook thanks to a BBC series “The Roux Brothers”, all episodes are freely available on YT.  The brothers have both died now but their sons maintain cooking excellence, Michel Roux is perhaps the best known and also found in many cooking shows.


Current YT creators that we enjoy include “Pasta Grammar”, American male with his Italian wife who produce some beautiful food.  We learnt how to make our best ever Spaghetti Carbonara through one of their videos.  Max Miller has created an interesting food history series, a project that came out of the pandemic confinement that has gone from strength to strength.  A third is Australian Ann Reardon, a food scientist who presents recipes but also “debunks” other YT content that is, at times, extremely dangerous.  We both love watching Chef Jean Pierre, Florida based French guy now proud to consider himself American.

Current French favourites (VPN required to access) include Le Combat de Régions  - teams headed by a professional chef pitch recipes based on regional specialities in competition; Top Chef - very skilled young chefs compete for the title, this has become a highly regarded and, in some cases, life changing competition for the contestants.  There is also Objectif Top Chef, a competition that allows very young chefs to compete for a place on Top Chef.  For me Top Chef is all that UK cooking shows fail to deliver.  A matter of personal taste of course! 

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