After spending several hours of my life that I will never get back immersing myself in it, I had to wonder: How did the Food Network become so popular?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who pondered the query.
According to a recent Pew Research Institute survey: “Water cooler talk once consisted of reality game shows, sports events, talk shows and sitcoms, with a side order of news and current events. Now, folks gather around the water cooler to discuss the new techniques for barbecuing steak, or creative chicken recipes, or how healthy Indian food can be.”
It seems it’s not only beef’s what’s for dinner — it’s also breakfast or lunch.
“These three questions that once forced us to confront the chore of preparing meals or at the very least, ordering takeout, now present us with the opportunity to prepare and feast upon exciting, delicious meals, imitating those mouth-watering, hunger-inducing treats shown on the Food Network.”
The Food Network has managed to capture the formula of what makes food so exciting, and created a channel that fulfills our passions for good food, tasty snacks and quality television. Watching shows like “Emeril Live” or “Iron Chef America” became weekly rituals, as viewers eagerly waited to see the outcomes of the fantastic dishes being prepared by top chefs “with simple ease and imaginative creativity.”
“Emeril Live” featured famous chef Emeril Lagasse preparing his signature dishes, and “always offering cooking tips and tricks, and mouth-watering fare for a live audience.”
His big personality, along with an in-studio band and musical guests, makes the show more than an average cooking show. A wish to be front row in the audience to smell the wonderful aromas and sample the food first-hand was on the minds of many viewers.
A more subdued Emeril show, “The Essence of Emeril,” also was offered by the Food Network in its early days.
It was sort of a makeshift version of “Late Night with David Letterman,” but instead of guests who are famous authors or singers or business owners, the lineup instead consisted of “regular” Joes and Josephines who just happen to be chefs for a living.
Apparently, we borrowed a little something-something from the Far East.
“Iron Chef America, the American counterpart to the cooking competition show originally begun in Japan, features four top chefs who pit their culinary skills against guest chefs, in an effort to create fantastic dishes centered around a secret ingredient, within an hour. Inspiring similar competitions between friends and families.”
Iron Chef fever spawned a crop of devoted fans.
Other shows, such as “30 Minute Meals,” “Calorie Commando,” “Low Carb and Lovin’ It,” “Quick Fix Meals” and “Paula’s Home Cooking” would teach viewers how to prepare a large variety of simple and healthy, yet flavorful and creative meals.
Countless cooking shows, featuring capable chefs and hosts with warming personalities and often humorous tendencies, or “often showcasing exciting locales beyond the kitchen,” breathed new life into the cooking process, causing many individuals to favor the Food Network over other popular shows on other channels.
And it seems we feel “full” upon conclusion of a particular cooking show.
“Watching the Food Network can leave you with a sense of television-viewing satisfaction that other shows cannot compete with. In addition to being entertained, you can also walk away with new knowledge about food and a sudden desire to pore through your refrigerator and pantry and see what culinary creativity you can foster in your own kitchen.”
And what do you think of them apples?
Speaking of healthy snacks: “A crop of programs dedicated to healthy eating has also risen in favor due to the increased awareness of health foods and organic foods that now integrated into millions of kitchens and the mindset of society, eager to find new ways to improve their general well-being through healthy eating habits.”
So, don’t turn off the set yet, because more food-stuff-centered programming is in the offing.
“With a crop of new shows premiering often, the Food Network continues to attain new heights of popularity, reaching wider audiences and causing millions more to salivate while staring at the television screen.”
And there you have it, friends.
Kimerer is a columnist who, by the way, loves to cook. Contact her via firstname.lastname@example.org for a menu.
Read More: Cooking shows make for delusional home chefs