Everywhere you turn on TV it’s a cooking show. There’s some magic formula that keeps people interested, and food entertainment has become a huge multi-million business. What’s crazy about it to me is that they’re not making anything for you to taste, and you’re “paying” (in the form of commercials, cable bill) to watch them cook. But what’s the end result for us? Does it inspire what we do?
When’s the last time you cooked something you saw on TV? If you don’t get inspiration from there, where do you get it from? To be sure, a lot of us are cooking food we never ate as kids. While there is some inspiration from childhood and mom/grandma, it’s rarely reproduced exactly. “It ain’t like mama made it.”
For those that do get inspired to do something different, where does it come from? Magazines, eating at a friend’s house, eating out locally, eating out while travelling, TV, internet/blogs, cooking classes, family, etc.? I would say for me the greatest inspirations are:
1. Food we eat when we travel. So many times I taste something, it’s great, and I’m thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Probably because it’s not my job.
2. Monotony/boredom. I just get tired of eating the same thing over and over again.
3. I get inspired stylistically by a few things on TV, but I rarely if ever take the exact recipe. What gets old is the canned new-wave music that they play in between parts while the cooks are working. Giada, any Bobby Flay show, Bittman, etc. The formula they use is intended to lull us into complacency. If you don’t believe it, watch “Next Food Network Star” to see it in action. Look at the programming, especially on Food Network. It’s almost all Guy Fieri with his spiked hair and bad-boy look. I haven’t figured out why those shows are popular except to show people the extremes of anything. Are we watching because gluttony is an acceptable deadly sin all of a sudden? Ever heard of the show “Bacon Nation?”
4. Books and magazines. It’s food porn, I know, and it’s almost impossible to reproduce exactly, but stuff like Food and Wine does a good job of spreading it out and finding stuff from all over to help keep us out of food ruts.
Where do you turn for inspiration?


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