Monday, November 2, 2009

Martha's Favs Mondays: Food/Cooking Shows Edition

We're moving onto Food Shows from Kitchen Tools & Equipment on Martha's Favs Mondays! I have lots of equipment I haven't busted out yet. While I would love to put them to work and write about them, I won't be able to do so because we haven't moved into our new house. I have no choice but to interrupt "Martha's Favs Mondays: Kitchen Tools & Equipment," a series I started 2 months ago. I will be sure to pick up on where I left off when I'm settled in our new home. For now, I will be moving onto "Martha's Favs Mondays: Food/Cooking Shows Edition," where I cover the irresistible food/cooking shows I watch. Iron Chef kicks off the first of this series.

There are tons of food/cooking shows on TV these days. Some of them have substance, while others are just made to look pretty to sell the cook's personality or image more than anything. I, of course, stick to those with substance. So, why do I love Iron Chef?

Image from Fine Living Network

My love for food/cooking shows started with this classic Japanese food competiti0n series. It was about 15 years ago that I woke up early each morning during my summer school breaks to watch this show air on public television. The show was like nothing I had ever seen before: local Japanese and foreign chefs pick a competitor from their choice of four Iron Chefs, and battle within an hour with a secret ingredient chosen by the chairman. It opened my eyes to cooking by real chefs and the fabulous range of vocabulary used by the judges in critiquing the dishes.

I stumbled onto this show at first because it looked odd and unrealistic - from
the over-dramatic feel of the show, the flamboyant outfits of the chairman, the orchestra that accompanied the introduction of Iron Chef Kobe (the "Prince of Pasta") and the "expert" panel of judges that included a fortune teller. The unrealistic elements were blended with the realistic, which included the exotic, fresh and surprising secret ingredients, the sweat and hard work put in by the chefs, the humorous Chen Kenichi, and the occasional grand battles in foreign countries. Somehow, the blend between fantasy and reality worked fabulously, and I was soon drawn in.

The new Iron Chef series, the one from America, is not as good as the classic Japanese version, but it will do for now. Thankfully, I can still watch the old episodes of the original Iron Chef on the Fine Living Network.

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