"How-tos" you'd like to see on TV food shows
What's missing for me in just about all of the food shows on TV -- cable and PBS alike -- is content that really teaches you something. REAL "how-tos." I'd love to see a program that demonstrates and explains the skills, techniques, methods and insights that are glossed over, or taken for granted, on most other TV shows. I'd like the focus to be not only on preparation, but presentation as well.
Some examples of what I'd like to see demonstrated on TV include:
- sauce-making (including making Hollandaise, bechemel and how to fix them when they break)
- choosing dinnerware that complements the food (shape, size, pattern, color, etc.)
- choosing the right cookware for the task at hand
- knife skills (which knives for which tasks; choosing and maintaining knives; slicing, chopping, dicing, etc.)
These are all off the top of my head; I'm sure if I took a few more minutes, I'd come up with many more.
What's missing for you from the content of the myriad of food shows presently on TV?
I no longer have TV; however, I did watch cooking shows for many years. What was missing for me was demonstration in 'real time.' And show the demonstration instead of the 'talking heads' faces. I wanted to see more food and less face.
Over the years the camera work either blasted my neurons at 20x per second, or the part that I wanted to see was cut out.
I think a slower pace is better. That goes for travelogs or travel programs that blast faster and faster a scene that we'd like to look at. Or at least see it.
One reason I do like DVD's is that one can stop the flashing nonsense and at least look at what has been captured on film by pausing or slow forward/backward.
I've not missed any TV shows thus far.
A variation on this question - is there anything, cooking related, that is best shown in a half hour or hour show, as opposed to a 10 minute video clip? Isn't it the norm in a half hour show to prepare 3 times, regardless of whether it is supposed to be 30 minutes of real time, or a couple of hours compressed into 30 via the 'magic of television'? Even long complex preparations are best broken into shorter steps.
Why would a TV presentation be better than a book or magazine article on these topics?
Is choosing dinnerware that complements the food much of an option for home cooks? I can understand an ICA or Chopped contestant doing so, but not a home cook with 1 or 2 sets of dinnerware.
How about getting plating ideas from those competitions?
I couldn't pinpoint specific shows, but I've seen a lot of knife skills and pointers. For example things like the rocking motion with a chefs knife, keeping your fingertips tucked under, how to dice an onion, how to bone a chicken.
I think TV can provide better demonstrations than photos in a book or magazine. As for choosing dinnerware, I have my "everyday white" that's neutral enough to accommodate most foods, but I don't buy "sets" of dishes; mostly I buy open stock pieces to either use on their own or to complement the white. Most often I buy these pieces four or six at a time, and they let me change the look of my table settings in countless ways. There's an art to matching food with dinnerware, and it doesn't have to be expensive. I'd like to know more about how to look at the food/dinnerware pairing with a professional eye.
That "rocking motion" with a knife is a good example of something I'd like to learn. Although I've seen it done, I just can't figure out how to do it myself. Also, with regard to chicken -- I've watched TV chefs separate the drumstick from the thigh, and it looks so easy, but I always run into trouble when I attempt to do it myself.
The trick with the chicken leg is to identify the joint. If you cut at the right place, it takes very little effort. But I have to do that locating by feel, more so than sight. There's a slight indentation. Only when I've cut to the bone and can see the white of the joint do I work by sight.
Practice may be more useful than a video.
Gordon Ramsay on 'feel where the knuckle is'
Since I've switched to Japanese style blades (esp. nakiri), I don't worry to much about the rocking motion.