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All on cooking shows

By Jessica Schneider Jun 2, 2009, 16:23 GMT

All on cooking shows

Since the first boxy black-and-white TV sets began to appear in American living rooms in the late 1940s, we have been watching people chop, sauté, fillet, whisk, flip, pour, arrange and serve food on the small screen. More than just a how-to or an amusement, cooking shows are also a unique social barometer. Their legacy corresponds to the transition from women at home to women at work, from eight-hour to ...more

“Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows” is a title that perhaps explains it best. Written by Kathleen Collins, we know of many of these television chefs, all of whom have been welcomed into many kitchens.

According to the NYT, the book: “stops short of resolving the “persistent paradox” it raises: Why are we transfixed by the sight of someone cooking on television when we might not love to do it ourselves — or might not do it at all? Collins’s failure to synthesize the information she has collected makes her book ultimately unsatisfying.”

PW states: “In this robust roundup, researcher and librarian Collins scours the archives to show how cooking programs throughout the decades reflect America's changing cultural mores. ...Collins skillfully marshals her research, starting with radio programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the mid-1920s, featuring a fictitious Aunt Sammy to administer recipes in order to 'lift the level of American cookery.”

Published by Continuum Pub Group, the NYT not only has a detailed review, but a chapter excerpt as well.


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