Book Review: Kathleen Collins, ‘Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Cooking Shows’

Book Review: Kathleen Collins, ‘Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Cooking Shows’

I am nothing if not obsessed by cooking shows. Not the ones that Anthony Bourdain describes as “food porn,” which are all about the money shots of food that make you salivate without actually teaching you anything. No, I like the educational ones. Good Eats hosted by Alton Brown is one of the best shows […]

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I am nothing if not obsessed by cooking shows. Not the ones that Anthony Bourdain describes as “food porn,” which are all about the money shots of food that make you salivate without actually teaching you anything. No, I like the educational ones. Good Eats hosted by Alton Brown is one of the best shows on the Food Network today. It mixes science with the entomology of food alongside a healthy dose of theatre and comedy.

In Watching What We Eat, Kathleen Collins meticulously breaks down the evolution of cooking shows and describes their entomology. Starting from the earliest days of radio broadcasts through Julia Child, the first true celebrity chef, Collins works her way right up to the modern era of the Food Network. The book is highly readable due to her excellent writing style but it is the informative aspects that make it worthwhile.

Collins has done an impressive amount of research on the evolution of TV cooking. Interviews conducted with the likes of Anthony Bourdain fill out the information video, published works and archival materials. The index is excellent as it allows the reader to track down all references to a favourite cooking personality, such as Alton Brown.

What makes this book a winner is it is not judgmental, either for or against the concept of cooking shows; nor is it a “tell all, behind-the-scenes exposé.” It is simply an interesting read that provides some excellent information on what has become a fixture of modern television programming.


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3 replies about Book Review: Kathleen Collins, ‘Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Cooking Shows’

  • Uh…I am pretty sure you mean etymology, not entomology, in the second paragraph.

    But I would totally watch an entomology cooking show.
    😀

  • Thanks for the terrific review which I have sent on to the author. I’m happy to send more boks to Ian but need an address to send catalogues. Thanks.

  • You are most certainly correct, bug_girl. And I now find myself also wondering about an “entomology cooking show”…

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