The Skinny on Cooking Shows

IMG_0530One of my favorite weekend activities is watching cooking shows while I browse through my cooking magazines. I spend this time getting inspiration for meal planning. The lazy morning is usually followed by a trip to the grocery store. Then it’s home to prep food and make sure all my ingredients are ready for delicious meals throughout the week.

Cooking shows should be inspirational, but far too often I think they scare people off. I’ve heard people get intimidated by the perfect looking food and worse yet the sexy people cooking who never seem to break a sweat or have a dirty kitchen. In real life my kitchen is a disaster after I cook and my hair is back in a ponytail because the combo of stove top and oven blaring has made my kitchen about 95 degrees. I’m also usually drinking – how come no one on Food Network drinks while they cook? Isn’t that a requirement!?

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you enjoy cooking shows a bit more:

Food Prep

These cooking stars have people who have perfectly prepped every ingredient. They’ve hand selected the best produce and put sour cream into cute little mason jars instead of the unattractive Trader Joe’s plastic tub. With all that said, prepping your ingredients before you start cooking will make you feel like a star too. I lay all my items out on the counter and chop and slice prior to starting.

That Perfect Kitchen

More times than not, these stars are cooking on a set in a studio. They are not real kitchens in a house like ours. Of course their kitchen flow is perfect – the kitchen was built for TV. Of course they don’t have to awkwardly maneuver around the kitchen and try to find counter space in between your coffee maker, husband’s water bottles and last night’s dishes drying on the counter. When they are cooking in an actual house it’s often a rented house that has been staged for the show. Bottom line here – your house and kitchen are perfect because they are yours and shouldn’t hold you back from creating great meals, even if we can’t see dolphins jumping from your kitchen window.

Hair and Makeup

You don’t always cook in a dress, heels and full makeup?! These stars have a full team keeping them glammed up during their shoot. Just be comfy in the kitchen.

Fancy Gadgets & Ingredients

As famous chefs they have access to every gadget and amazing ingredient you could think of. While there are some items worth splurging on, it’s ok to substitute. If you don’t have an ingredient, improvise and make the dish your own. A simple Google search will help provide you with alternatives. I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets and have more than I probably need, however with a good knife you can usually make it work.

You Only See Success

Don’t you wish they’d show the chefs burning cookies or spilling on their counters sometimes? Keep in mind they can stop filming at anytime and redo a step in their cooking process. They make mistakes and have failed cooking attempts all the time – they just get edited out. There is no way they swirl water and drop a raw egg in for poached eggs and don’t have a total mess half the time. I still can’t get this right! Part of learning to cook is failing first. Don’t be afraid to pull out the trash can and dump a dish that sucks. You can only get better!

So enjoy the cooking shows with a cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning, but keep in mind you get to be the star of your kitchen. Giada isn’t coming to your house to slave over the perfect meal – so you get to take the credit and make an amazing meal for your family and friends. And always remember the cook doesn’t clean – this rule should be implemented in your house too!

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5 thoughts on “The Skinny on Cooking Shows

  1. Nice work, Caroline! I have lost interest in cooking, after years of trying to work around John’s evening meetings and Natalie and Ava’s sporting events and practices. Going to try to get back with the program this year!

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