July 30, 2009. I recently finished reading a phenomenal book about the evolution of Television Cooking Shows called “Watching What We Eat” by Kathleen Collins. In the book she really broke down the history of cooking shows starting with the initial radio broadcasts that kicked it all off and the first television shows that followed. She discussed Julia Child (The French Chef) and Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) who were not the first television cooks but certainly the most influential and how they led us to where we are today with great shows on local PBS stations and The Food Network.
One thing that the book didn’t do was talk about where we are headed. We have the “How To” type shows, there are shows hosted by restaurateurs and celebrity Chefs. Reality cooking shows and food competitions, we have plethora of shows that focus on one culinary point of view or another except for one. Where are the shows that focus on Seasonal cooking, using local, organic ingredients about sustainable eating in general? I’ve noticed here and there some of the more popular hosts throwing out the word organic from time to time but there is no “Seasonal Chef” on television. Is Sustainable eating too political? I don’t get it. Would it be too difficult to for a production company to work on a show focusing on Seasonal and Sustainable eating? These are the questions that I have.
One thing that I have noticed is that we do seem to be going back to our roots of Food programming; there are a number of podcasts and radio broadcasts that focus on Sustainable Eating. One such podcast that comes to mind is Earth Eats by Indiana Chef Daniel Orr. Another is the Edible Communities Program on the Heritage Radio Network. If we could get similar content like that found on those two shows and find the right host then that would be the future of television Food Programming along with additional shows and specials that would do more of what we do here at CUpS, introducing you to the people that are really making a difference. Despite the great number of books and articles that have been written, the ever growing list of blogs and websites devoted to Sustainable Eating for better or for worse no other medium would be able to get the word out like television would. Listed below are some of the podcasts/radio shows, etc. that I have found in my limited research that focus on local, organic, and sustainable eating but I love hearing from the readers so tell me what out else is out there. What am I missing? Is there a television show in the works that I don’t know about?
Next week: I love to grill during the summer months but are my grilling techniques sustainable? Grilling Sustainably!
Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer, and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla. Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.