Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaBloPoMo Day X: Now we're cookin'

I just finished watching two DVR'd episodes of Iron Chef America and it got me thinking about food shows. Food shows are every where these days. Rachel Ray has enough shows to have her own network and is now on daytime network tv. Leno has celebrity chefs on to poke fun at food. PBS has been long time home to Saturday cooking shows among the home and garden fare. The travel channel has five food shows that I counted. Even Julia Childs was recently featured in a movie starring Meryl Streep.  And last but not least, Food Network: all food, all day. 

Lots of entertainment and inspiration available in all this, but the two shows I turn to most when I want to actually cook something edible are America's Test Kitchen and Good Eats

Before dish tv, all I had was network tv and America's Test Kitchen.  From their website:

"Each episode features recipes we've carefully developed to make sure they work every time. Christopher Kimball and the test cooks solve everyday cooking problems, test equipment so you never have to waste money on things that don't work, and taste supermarket ingredients to save you time in the store. It's a common-sense, practical approach you won't find on other cooking shows."

I liked the premise and started subscribing to the magazine behind the show, Cook's Illustrated. I enjoyed the magazines but have now switched to a web subscription, which gives me access to all of the articles, recipes, reviews, tastings, etc. They are my #1 go-to site for recipes, even if I know I have it in a magazine somewhere. My most-used "cookbook" is mostly their recipes printed out and in sheet protectors in a binder. Christmas dinner the past two years has turned out great the past two years, and I'm depending on them for Thanksgiving this year, too. Many of our wedding registry items and my Christmas present lists have been based on their recommendations.

Also on the cerebral side of cooking shows is Alton Brown's Good Eats. Alton (he pronounces AL-ton, not All-ton like the nearby town) is a wonderfully geeky guy that likes to explain how things work, and why foods behave as they do. I find this gives me a better understanding of the chemistry at work in food, which makes me a better improv cook instead of just having to follow a recipe. I've used his recipes and techniques, and like that the FN website has recipe ratings and reviews.

His rants about the evil of "unitaskers", and does not allow any in his kitchen except the fire extinguisher. I certainly take that into account when I kitchen shop!

Alton brings his obscure food trivia and dry wit to Kitchen Stadium as Iron Chef America's host/commentator. That brings up back to the beginning of this post and where I find my food inspiration. Where do you find yours?

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