This weekend my local PBS affiliate was airing reruns of The French Chef with the late Julia Child. The shows I saw were in black and white. They had low production values. She didn’t talk down to her audience. Some of the recipes had she not swapped them out would have taken hours. It didn’t come out perfect every time. But man, the show was all about the food.
In the past couple of years, the Food Network which had already ticked me off for cancelling programs with people who knew what they were doing, has gone rapidly downhill. They’re self-admittedly about personality now. They don’t want trained chefs or cooks. They want to aim for the 15-30 male demographic. The good news is that Giada is probably safe. Even though she can cook, they’ll keep her around for the sake of her plunging cleavage.
I flip betwen PBS and the Food Network on Saturdays. Aside from a few people like Giada and Sara Moulton (and who was cancelled) who know what they’re doing, the FN has their new stars, the over-exposed Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee (or SLoP as she is often referred to) and their newest find, Robin Miller. The last was busy making pasta ahead of time (stored in a ziploc baggie) which is a crime and stuffed porkchops. She stuffed them, barely seared them, and then put them (warm) into another ziploc baggie and into the fridge. Trichinosis anyone?
PBS in contrast has a number of shows like Lidia’s Family Table and Daisy Cooks!. I know that if I try to make these recipes, they will work and they will be good. Moreover, I know they won’t involve a la Sandra Lee packets of taco seasoning and cool whip. The sets aren’t great; the programs aren’t slick, but it’s all about the food.
So I think I need to start upping the ratio of time I spend watching PBS. I will still tune into FN for the snark factor, but I love to cook. I don’t feel a need to make all my meals at the speed of light and I love really good food. PBS seems like the place to be.