I like to watch the Food Network often and run across various shows that appeal to me for pure entertainment, folly, and in some cases I actually learn a few things. I also enjoy watching Hell’s Kitchen on Fox for the pure stupidity that the contestants seem to display in the kitchen. Food shows on television are more prevalent than ever, I can remember the days when I could count on one hand the number of food related shows and all of them were on the educational public channels. The French Chef with Julia Child, The Frugal Gourmet with Jeff Smith, The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr and a few others which I can’t seem to recall. Of course Julia was my favorite, she started me cooking at home when I was 13 years old, French omelets and eggs all over the floor teaching myself to do the flip and keep it in the pan.
The other night Monique and I were just surfing the channels and I ran across the show Good Eats with Alton Brown on the Food Network, and there were two shows back to back, the first one covered Puff Pastry Dough and the second installment was all about Pâte à choux. Both shows were very informative and refresher courses if you will, reminding me of the ole culinary arts pastry classes I had taken during my culinary apprenticeship back in 1984. Back then Master Pastry Chef Mark Fitch was the instructor and he employed a scientific approach to teaching us about pastries and baking basics. We learned about gluten, enzymes and chemical reactions with yeast, water, oxygen, and nitrogen. Bulk Fermentation Time (BFT), docking, proofing, knock back, and the typical procedures for each stage of the baking process.
Basic bread making procedure steps are: 1. Scale ingredients, 2. Mix ingredients, 3. Bulk fermentation time, 4. Knock back, 5. Scale into loaves or portions, 6. Proof dough, 7. Bake.
Like I said, the two shows brought me back in time 24 years past to what I had learned and not much has changed. Basic culinary procedures and practices have remained fairly constant for some time now, the change today comes from how creative chefs can be in deciding presentations and combinations of the final product.
This week I am preparing a birthday menu for Monique and will incorporate puff pastry dough into the appetizer utilizing a dish we did at the Columns Hotel, I will be making Crabmeat en Crute which is lump crabmeat artichoke bottoms, and supreme sauce in a puff pastry dough and baked to perfection.
Some of the other food shows that we like to watch are Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Emeril Live, The Essence of Emeril, Paula’s Home Cooking, Paula’s Party, Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, The Secret Life Of, and Unwrapped.
Do you have any cooking shows on television that you like to watch and are you inspired to get in the kitchen and prepare new things? Or are you encouraged to enjoy new dining experiences based on food shows?