I am sitting as I type watching the final of the UK Masterchef and am so disillusioned...
I am watching three would be chefs produce dishes which I honestly believe are more at home in a museum of modern art than on any restuarant menu. I wouldn't eat them (honestly!) never mind try to cook them - some of them include ingredient combinations that are so pretentious, you wouldn't believe it. Why spoil perfection?
I am not and never will be a Masterchef but one of the best tips I was ever given (within reason) was Keep It Simple, Stupid... How did this overly complex expectation worm its way in to cooking and essentially overwhelm so many wonderful ingredients that taste so magnificent with but the slightest tweaking?
Am I just old-fashioned? Are the days of simple home cooking, with fresh, basic ingredients cooked simply but well gone forever?
I would love to hear the views of other culinary minded Hubbers.
I'm watching Chopped on the Food Network as we speak. I love this show because they're given a basket of "mystery" ingredients which usually have nothing to do with each other, and they're expected to make a good dish from them. The ingredients are typically things that are available to everyone so you could come up with your own variation. That is what I love about cooking and cooking TV. You don't have to make the dish exactly the way you do. I knew nothing about cooking when I got married 16 years ago, between my mother in law and cooking TV, I think I'm pretty darn good.
My point is, yes some of the recipes on certain cooking shows are ridiculous, ingredients I've never even heard of or that cost $100 a dish to make. Forget about those dishes but just try to pick up on the tips and tricks they use. Pay attention to what flavors, textures, and colors they use together. I've learned so much from these shows even though I've probably never made something exactly the way they made it on television. Tweak it, use your ingredients, add things, subtract ingredients to suit your families tastes.
While I enjoy trying new recipes, I just giggle when I read recipes that call for some specialty or pretentious form of an otherwise common ingredient. Milk is milk, so your chowder is going to come out just fine without the organic cream from some rare and obscure breed of cow that can only be gotten by overnight mail order from a website called for in the recipe. Or sea salt - really? My cookies will fail if I don't use sea salt? Sure.
One of my favorite cook books came out of my late grandmother's kitchen - a large 1930's volume full of any dish you could imagine, all of it honest to goodness real food made from scratch.
I've been feeling the same way about all the culinary competition shows on TV. It seems that everyone wants to be a "chef." I am perfectly content being a "home cook" and cooking for family and friends because I just love cooking. It also bothers me when I see contestants on these shows being rediculed for trying to cook in a healthy manner.
I don't watch cooking TV but I'm thinking they're probably doing that for entertainment value rather than culinary value. Just a guess. It is a shame, though. I do agree with you.
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