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Review: Watching What We Eat

Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows by Kathleen Collins treats you to an insider’s look at cooking shows, from the very early days on radio to today’s food TV revolution.  Collins’ impressive body of research has uncovered vintage photos, interesting tidbits, and surprising anecdotes from the greatest shows of the day.

Cooking shows have maintained and even gained in popularity across North America by continuing to reflect society in general.  In the 40s and 50s we had home economists “teaching” cooking to their viewers while pushing new home appliances and other time saving devices to homemakers starved for modernity.  Then in the 70s and 80s, new friendlier, funnier, down-to-earth hosts gave cooking shows some entertainment value, while also introducing a wider variety of cuisines and techniques to the North American audience.  Now in the 90s and beyond, an entertainment-driven Food Network has developed the cooking show host as a personality, with star status among serious foodies and causal fans alike.

I particularly enjoyed Collins’ witty accounts of her personal interviews with cooking show hosts.  They opened up to her and revealed all kinds of hilarious circumstances that go on behind the scenes and off camera.  These stories are worth the price of the book alone.

If you were ever wondering how the cooking show phenomenon first caught on and then took hold of North American audiences, then Watching What We Eat is the current go-to book on the subject.

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One Response to “Review: Watching What We Eat”

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