Pollan: We Love Cooking Shows, But Not Cooking

Americans would rather watch food shows than make food
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 12:10 PM CDT
This Nov. 24, 1970, file photo shows television cooking personality Julia Child preparing a French delicacy in her cooking studio.   (AP Photo/FILE)
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(Newser) – When Julia Child came on the scene, she changed the way America cooked. Child inspired women everywhere to try their hands at French cuisine. Today, we have loads more food shows, yet the average American spends just 27 minutes a day making food. “How is it,” asks food scribe Michael Pollan, “that we are so eager to watch other people browning beef cubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves?”

Maybe it’s because today’s food shows bear no resemblance to Childs' The French Chef. Half of the Food Network’s shows advocate shortcuts and convenience—no doubt to help advertisers sell their processed foods. Then at night we watch furious displays of competitive cooking, aimed not at people who like to cook, but those who like to eat. “The implicit message of today’s prime-time cooking shows is, Don’t try this at home.