Pop Culture

Why Does Food Network Soothe My Soul?

Last week, I found myself laid up at home with a case of pink eye. I think the last time I had pink eye was when I was eight years old, and having it as an adult is just as gross. Here’s a quick public service announcement: if you have pink eye, stay home! Don’t go around town rubbing your eye and then touching doorknobs and handles! Be responsible, and stay home and watch TV so you don’t spread the horror. That’s what I did. Thank you.

I’ll admit, I didn’t have a super severe case, and thankfully it was just in my right eye. I was still able to do some work from home (which is where I work most of the time anyway), but when my eye throbbed too much to focus on my laptop screen, I took a break. A super long break that turned into a Food Network marathon.

There are certain channels that I am drawn to during specific events. Lazy Sundays are my WEtv days, watching Bridezillas and My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. Holidays are for Syfy, when they air The Twilight Zone all day and I know that whenever I have a chance to tune in, I’m going to like the episode. When I’m sick, it’s Food Network, most likely because I’m too tired to cook and just looking at food is enough to sustain me.

There’s also a soothing effect. When Paula Deen is cooing about butter, I don’t have to think. When Bobby Flay throws down, all I have to do is listen and dream about a time when I can be invited to one of those events and sample awesome food from Flay and his competitor. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule: If Rachael Ray comes on, the channel turns off. Same with Sandra Lee.

Because I was on a food kick, at one point I switched over to the Cooking Channel, which has been on the air for a little more than a year. I found my new favorite TV chef, Chuck Hughes, star of Chuck’s Day Off. The set up of his show is fun; he uses his one day off a week to cook for and eat with important people in his life, from his hockey team to the guy who brings him bread every day. Chuck’s cute, makes yummy looking food, and runs a successful restaurant in Montreal. Be still my heart.

I’m now intrigued by the Cooking Channel, which feels more real than Food Network. There’s a slightly controversial show on there called Bitchin’ Kitchen, which viewers either love or hate. It’s a comedy cooking show (random!) based on a web series, with over the top characters and and a slightly creepy set that includes doll heads mingling with pots and pans. It airs Wednesday nights at 10, and I’m going to give it a chance the next time it’s on. Maybe this show and Chuck’s Day Off will cure me of just watching food shows when I’m sick in bed!

Do you have a channel that you only watch during certain times? For Food Network junkies, who is your favorite personality? And if you’re an actual chef, will you please come to my house and make me dinner?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

7 replies on “Why Does Food Network Soothe My Soul?”

Chuck’s cute, makes yummy looking food, and runs a successful restaurant in Montreal. Be still my heart.

I think that’s the consensus on Chuck. Well, at least me and my friend agree. He’s so cute, but I wish he didn’t love sea food so much. I can’t deal with crustaceans.

I love Food Network/Cooking Channel. I got into the habit of watching Nigella Lawson everyday last summer and did again this year. Her voice is just so soothing and I love all her Britishisms. Plus some of her recipes actually seem do-able, especially on Nigella Express.

Sandra Lee is The Worst. I saw one episode of Hungry Girl once and she was like “We’re gonna make our little pizzas on tortillas!” I turned it off just before she could tell me how great it tasted and how it was 100 calories less than a pizza crust… I’m sorry, I just can’t.

I watch a lot of Food Network when I need downtime. If I’m depressed, anxious, sad, or just bored. I like it as background noise if I’m reading, working, or cleaning house, also. I find it really soothing and it makes good background noise. Plus you get the added benefit of occasionally seeing a recipe you want to try (I say occasionally since most of the time these days the shows don’t have anything all that new or difficult to try). I love Anne Burrell, Barefoot Contessa, Giada (even though she’s mildly annoying), Bobby Flay, and my most favorite, Missus Paula. I also like shows like Unwrapped, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I just love food and food themed shows. Anything with Alton Brown is a win. And I agree. Sandra and Rachel can STFU. I also avoid Guy Fieri’s show, Aarti Party, and Hungry Girl. They are all just bad, bad, bad.

Funnily enough, I find that I eat LESS and tend to cook more healthfully when I watch more Food Network. isn’t that strange?

Ha, that is strange!

Guy Fieri is pretty annoying, although I do like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. As much as he bugs me, I’ll take him ANY day over Aarti. She seems so fake and contrived and twee, like she wants to be the Zooey Deschanel of Food Network. I purposely didn’t mention her in the piece because I knew I’d go off on a tangent like this!

Food Network is great. I have slowly come around to Bobby Flay, although I prefer his grilling show to the smackdown thing. I could watch hours and hours and hours of Ace of Cakes, even though the idea of eating such a pretty cake (that’s covered with fondant, gag) is so strange to me. Giada is my favorite in terms of the actual food she makes.

Yeah, with Ace of Cakes, they make some amazing creations, but I can never imagine eating them. I’ve seen a lot of recipes from Giada that I would actually make…but then I promptly forget about them and make the same stuff I always do! I love to cook, and I’m pretty darn good at it, but I have had no time lately to really get down in the kitchen.

I love Bitchin’ Kitchen. I’m a vegan, so I can’t actually cook anything they make on the show, but it’s funny and, yeah, weirdly soothing.

Also, Sandra Lee! What the heck? I’ve seen a few episodes of her show and the recipes look so disgusting. Although the cocktail recipes she makes are often hilarious because the whole recipe is usually just one bottle of pre-made cocktail + ice. Thanks for the tip, Sandra Lee.

Sandra Lee’s “recipes” just look terrible. I totally understand not having time to whip up a seven course meal, especially if you have kids/a job/etc., but she just seems to go about cooking the wrong way. Plopping a bunch of canned items into a pot does not a meal make.

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