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Justin Wilson and other lost cooking show classics...

Hi... I'm sure many here remember that fiesty cajun cook from the 1970s, Justin Wilson. I certainly enjoyed every moment of his (seemingly) unscripted cooking shows, what with his wine-sippin' and generous hand with the tabasco, his folksy philosophy on food and women, and mostly, how he seemed to truly enjoy eating (as opposed to merely tasting) the final product of his labors. I enjoyed watching his belly expand further and further over his belt with each season, and his 'blasphemous' approbation of ordinary canned products in the service of down home cooking. When he'd look the viewer square in the camera, you sensed that he genuinely understood why both he and you were sharing that moment. Anyway, I wish those shows were available from somewhere. And wouldn't it be cool to have a 'classics' cooking show station, the way classic cartoons and situation comedies from the 60s and 70s have found viable markets? I don't have cable/satellite/etc, due to latent luddite tendencies, so I don't know if such a station or series already exists. But I suspect not. I only see PBS cooking shows on the weekends. I tell ya, if the PBS pledge drives were willing to show those old-skool classics (along with very early Julia, Graham Kerr, and the now infamous jeff Smith & sidekick Craig!), I'd be much more inclined to make a pledge, instead of having Susie Ormond, Wayne Dyer, and that gangly piano tutor force-fed down one's throat every three months. I won't hold my breath, but it would be great to see those cooking show pioneers brought back to show the Food Network hacks how it's really done...

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  1. I was just thinking about this recently. During the early years of Food Network, the classic shows from Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and James Beard showed late night. I watched PBS throughout my childhood and always loved the cooking shows. I remember stories from Jeff Smith about how he could never bring in Proscuitto into the country because of Customs. I have cable and can't find these shows playing. But I agree with you that it would be great to watch again.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rumgum

      OMG, you just got me thinking again about Graham Kerr. I'll never forget "The Galloping Gourmet," his cooking show in the 1970's, when I was a kid. The wine was flowing freely, and he would wax poetic about whatever he was cooking. Then, at the end, he would go into the audience, take the hand of some random female audience member, and run back up to the stage with her. They would sit down together at a candlelit table and eat whatever he'd made. I still have a clear picture of him, chewing, moaning with pleasure about whatever he was eating, lips glistening with butter or some creamy sauce. It sounds repulsive, but was absolutely mesmerizing!

      1. re: Lisa M

        once he sobered up, his new cooking show was such a drag!

      2. re: rumgum

        Would love to see old Food Network episodes of Taste with David Rosengarten.
        I love Alton Brown, but David was the best.

        1. re: ritabwh

          I can only take Alton Brown in small doses. Maybe a half hour a week. Anymore and he gets way to annoying for me.

          1. re: HZ20

            He does have such an arrogant air about him - I sometimes just watch to look for mistakes!

      3. how about one of the real granddaddie's, earl peyroux. i'm pretty sure he still holds the record for most pbs cooking show episodes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: byrd

          Hi... I have not heard of this fellow. Will do a google search. Thanks...

          1. re: byrd

            I so loved Earl Peyroux's show as a kid! He was great...I even loved the theme music...a jazzy piano version of "these foolish things". Didn't he tape/broadcast out of the Fla Panhandle somewhere? Pensacola, maybe?

          2. They do show Justin Reruns in Georgia.

            2 Replies
              1. re: alias wade

                Right after Beverly Hillbillies.... (must be an inside joke).

                By the way, RFDTV, which is available on Dish Network, has Justin Wilson. Just ran in to it a couple of weeks ago.

                I was channel surfing, honest.

            1. I'd love to see the shows that Keith Floyd did back in the '80s (or maybe slightly before).

              9 Replies
              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                That would be a hoot. FYI Travel Channel just ran some of his newer series for a few months, then stopped (ran out of episodes?). Pray or solicit them for a return.
                The American Life TV channel runs Graham Kerr daily and another fascinating/inadvertently hilarious show called Embassy Chefs about twice a week.
                Unfortunately, with unimaginative MBAs running the networks the infomercials are bound to take the formerly useful late night slots.
                I just heard that the Neilsen rating service will start rating commercials; if this includes infomercial programming maybe some station and network management will come to their senses.............NAAAAHH!

                1. re: DiveFan

                  Keith Floyd was awesome, really enjoyed his shows.

                2. re: Jim Dorsch

                  Jim, "Floyd on Food" was hysterical! He was always drunk and rarely knew what the hell he was doing. I remember an episode where he made Casseoulet in France while a local French woman observed. When completed, she threw the whole thing in the garbage and screamed obsenities at him in French. I'd love to have that episode on tape.

                  1. re: Leper

                    Yes, I remember the 'Floyd on Food' and 'Floyd on Fish' series by Keith Floyd. He was like a culinary Michael Palin from Monty Python. Though drunk, he also seemed to genuinely enjoy the eating component of his segments, replete with real chewing, swallowing, and taking second and third bites with gusto. Too many of the current flock of cooking personalities seem hesitant to really chew and swallow their creations, either from food sitting under set lights too long or from smearing their make-up. As much as I cannot stomach that prettyboy Ming (from Simply Ming), at least he and his guest chefs actually sample the food they've cooked... Thanks for reminding me of Keith Floyd...

                    1. re: silence9

                      thanks for reminding me of the "floyd on" series

                      1. re: silence9

                        They show those during the day time on the Travel Channel. Daily.

                        1. re: Phaedrus

                          phaedrus, is this still true? i just checked wed, thu, fri listings, and no luck.... will try later to search on the other days...

                      2. re: Leper

                        loved Floyd.
                        loved Christina Ferrare.
                        can't remember others name, would need refreshing my memory

                      3. re: Jim Dorsch

                        OH, I loved Floyd on Food. I used to watch it on the Lifetime Channel back in the 80s.
                        Back in those days, he proudly stated that his show was real time cooking.
                        Even my husband enjoyed watching that show.

                      4. Fortunately, I videotaped several hours worth of Justin Wilson's show when it was on Iowa Public Television in the mid-80s. They're on Beta, and I still have a working Beta machine, but I really should transfer them to disc one of these days!

                        I cant say I ever got a handle on dipping the garlic bread in the wine, but he did do some great stuff on that show. And not a blackened thing in sight!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Fydeaux

                          I actually tried dipping the garlic bread n the wine (from his cookbook which I probably got in the late 80's) and it was actually delicious.