Watching What We Eat by Kathleen Collins
The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows

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Synopsis

Since the first boxy black-and-white TV sets began to appear in American living rooms in the late 1940s, we have been watching people chop, sautee, fillet, whisk, flip, pour, arrange and serve food on the small screen. More than just a how-to or an amusement, cooking shows are also a unique social barometer. Their legacy corresponds to the transition from women at home to women at work, from eight-hour to 24/7 workdays, from cooking as domestic labor to enjoyable leisure, and from clearly defined to more fluid gender roles. As the role of food changed from mere necessity to a means of self-expression and a conspicuous lifestyle accessory, the aim of cooking shows shifted from didactic to entertainment, teaching viewers not simply how to cook but how to live.

While variety shows, Westerns, and live, scripted dramas have gone the way of rabbit ear antennae, cooking shows are still being watched, often on high definition plasma screens via Tivo. Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows illuminates how cooking shows have both reflected and shaped significant changes in American culture and will explore why it is that just about everybody still finds them irresistible.

 

About Kathleen Collins

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Kathleen Collins is an experienced author and researcher who has studied and written about television, media history, popular culture and food. Her work has appeared in the magazines Working Woman and Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture and in the anthology Secrets &Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women's Friendships (Seal Press: 2004). She has also written encyclopedia entries on a variety of media history topics. She has a Master's degree in journalism with a specialization in cultural reporting and criticism from New York University and a Master's degree in library science from Long Island University. For the past ten years, she has worked as an editorial researcher for a variety of publications including Glamour and Ladies' Home Journal. She is now a librarian and lives in Manhattan.
 
Published May 1, 2009 by Continuum Pub Group. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, History, Cooking. Non-fiction

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Through her blunt, droll delivery, Child intended to “take French cooking from high society to the suburbs, from Park Avenue and Champs Elysses to Elm Street.” After Child, the “British dandy” Graham Kerr’s The Galloping Gourmet became “the first cooking chow to aggressively capitalize on the ent...

Apr 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Watching What We Eat: The Evo...

The Wall Street Journal

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Collins provides a detailed and often entertaining ­chronicle of the rise of TV cooking programs, excelling at ­insightful thumbnail sketches of food stars such as Ms.

Jun 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Watching What We Eat: The Evo...

Bookmarks Magazine

Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows illuminates how cooking shows have both reflected and shaped significant changes in American culture and will explore why it is that just about everybody still finds them irresistible.

May 31 2009 | Read Full Review of Watching What We Eat: The Evo...

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