Food Job: TV Star

Today, one hundred million households can tune into the Food Network. There are stations in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Knoxville. There are viewers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Monaco, Polynesia, and Great Britain. More people watch the Food Network than CNN. It no longer aims to teach cooking techniques or kitchen skills. Instead, it has lurched into the production of cooking shows featuring the assembly of store-bought components, and of cooking-competition shows that choose winners and losers. It also has an unfathomable addiction to cup cakes.

What is turning this huge audience on to all of it’s culinary idols, as featured on the Food Network though my impression is that Guy Fieri takes up 23 of the 24 hours a day. (Maybe many people like him?) Vast swaths of people appear to have the time to watch others cook and eat, and exclaim how good it all smells—but to have no time to cook for themselves.

Everything smells fabulous on the television screen. This phenomenon is frequently noted by Ina Garten, the “Barefoot Contessa,” who cooks for her well-heeled pals and punctuates every divine, “how easy is that?” moment with mirthless laughter. “Smells great” and the words “quick” and “easy” are well-known to the perpetually smiling and cleavage-revealing Giada and the lovely folk who come and go promising dinners that cost mere pennies and are quick and easy…and Oh Yes! Smells Great!!!

 

Breaking into the Food Media

The Emmy-nominated food-show producer and director Irene Wong offers some sound advice:

“If you want to be in front of the camera, my advice is to watch a lot of food programs. Get an idea of why each show works. Why is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives among the most popular shows on the Food Network? Why is Rachael Ray so appealing? They’re giving the audience something they want. Figure out how you are going to deliver what you want to say about food, but also what the audience wants to hear. Find out what your food identity is, what your food voice is. Your brand. Make it stand out from everyone else. If you’re the only person who can deliver your brand, that will make you more attractive to television executives, because you will be irreplaceable.”

It also helps a lot to take a media training course.  Performing in front of a camera is a lot harder than it looks.

 

More Timeline Food Facts

Thursdays are always a good day for looking back. And, I most enjoy looking back at iconic milestones in food history:

1959

  • Gaston Lenôtre, 44  opens a petit pâtisserie  in Paris.
  • The James Beard Cookbook is published
  • Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream factory opened in the Bronx by Polish-born Reuben Mattus
  • The Four Seasons restaurant opens for all.

1960 Domino’s Pizza opens in Detroit.

1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking is published by Julia Child.

1961 Lutèce opened by André Surmain with chef André Soltner, at age 28. Continue reading

All Wrapped Up to Go

Almost every culture does the same thing, but each does it differently. They all enclose portions of food in edible wrappings in order to make the contents go further, but the choice of wrap makes each variation distinctive.

Some people eat burgers between the two halves of a bun or pastrami between two slices of rye. Others wrap their food in lettuce leaves, cabbage leaves, grape leaves, banana leaves, palm fronds, or corn husks.

Morsels of food are enclosed in plain pastry, puff pastry, wet noodles, or various papers–rice paper, parchment paper, even newspaper.

A bewildering variety of meats, fish, cheese, vegetables, nuts and fruit turn up inside blintzes and buns, burritos, cannelloni, chimichangas, crêpes, dumplings, egg rolls, empanadas, fajitas, knishes, kreplach, quesadillas, ravioli, spring rolls, strudels, tortellini, turnovers, and won tons.

And an entire fortune can be contained inside a single cookie.

Excerpt from Great Food Jobs 2: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Job Hunt.

Diabetis One Mentor

street video cameraVideo cameras on every street corner. Astonishing advances in forensics and astounding powers of detection can lead to the arrest of ‘persons of interest’.

It doesn’t take great powers of deduction to realize that every one of us is a person of interest. We all have a unique story to tell. The goal is to maximize that singularity and — as Martha Stewart would do — monetize it.

Here’s a baking and pastry student. A charming young woman. She’s missed several of my classes. (Am I being boring? Does she hate me?)

I worry about me. I should be worried about her.

She pulls up her pants leg to reveal a large, angry-looking bluish bruise on the front of her leg. “I’ve got Type One diabetes,” she explains. “It’s uncontrolled. I don’t know what to do. I won’t be able to get a job when I graduate. I can’t stand up for very long. No restaurant is going to hire me.”

She will soon be receiving her Bachelor of Professional Studies degree and she knows more about what was previously known as juvenile diabetes than many food professionals. And she’s lovely.

She comes from a large family and likes being around little children.

She Googled ‘Type One Diabetes Medical Centers.’ Immediately up popped the Mayo Clinic and several other medical centers located throughout the country. She applied for a job. Got it!

Now she teaches children how to cook and how to manage their insulin-dependence.

She is superbly qualified for her work. Has access to the best medical care for herself. And her days are filled with laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

Share A Cookie Share A Poem

It is predicted to snow here in upstate New York where I live. Lots and lots of snow are forecast. I’ve just made some soup to keep away the cold, ready to watch and wait–relieved and grateful I do not have to travel home from the holidays today.

And I can happily respond to a reader, who sweetly asked for one of my recipes from my Edible Christmas book. I am always delighted when this happens. I do this, with pleasure. Here it is, followed by a fitting poem. I invite you to share a recipe and a poem as well.

Gingerbread cookies by cosmo cookie

Gingerbread cookies Courtesy of http://cosmocookie.blogspot.com/

Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 16 5-inch-tall cookies

This mildly spiced dough makes soft, puffy cookie folk. If you like your gingerbread cookies thin and crispy, just roll out  the dough to a 1/8″ thickness.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Piping Icing

2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons half & half, approximately
Optional: currants, raisins, candied fruit, candies, licorice strips and colored sugars for garnish

To make the gingerbread cookies: In a  large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and continue beating until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Gradually work the flour mixture into the creamed mixture to form a soft dough.  Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap completely. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter two baking sheets. On a well-floured surface, roll out half the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies. Gather up the scraps of dough and work into the remaining dough. Repeat the process until all the dough is used. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until just firm when pressed in the center with your finger, about 8 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

To make the piping icing: Stir the confectioners sugar and half & half together in a small bowl. You may have to add more half & half by the teaspoon until you get an icing of piping consistency.

Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip, such as Ateco Number 4. Pipe the icing onto the cooled cookies, decorating as desired with the currants, raisins, candied fruit, candies, licorice strips, and colored sugars.

And now, the promised poem…

The Runaway Cookies
By Anonymous

The cookie jar people
Hopped out one night
When the cookie jar lid
Was not on tight.

The gingerbread man
Opened raisin eyes
And looked about
In great surprise.

The frosted bunny
Twinkled his nose
And danced around
On his cookie toes.

The sugary duck
Began to quack
And shake the sugar
Off his back.

The cinnamon bear
Could only grunt
For he was too fat
To do a stunt.

The coconut lamb
Jumped up so high
That his little white tail
Flew toward the sky.

They were all so happy
To be at play
That they danced and danced
And danced away.

They danced away
So very far
That they never came back
To the cookie jar.

 

 


			

A Bread Baker’s Food Gift

Bread in a Flower Pot courtesy of BBC Good Food magazine

If you are a baker, consider giving a gift of bread in a flower pot for the holidays. Use a regular red clay garden flowerpot, wash it in hot soapy water and let it dry.

Butter the interior generously, covering the hole with a small piece of buttered foil. Coat the sides of the pot with toasted breadcrumbs.

Make basic yeast bread dough, and put it in the pot three-quarters full. Oil the top of the dough and set it in a warm place to double in size. (One rising will be enough.) Remember you can add rosemary and a touch of olive oil or cheese or raisins and holidays spices to tweak this basic recipe if you’re feeling in the festive spirit.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes if you are using a large pot, 15 minutes if in a small one.

The bread cooks quickly as a result of the additional heat from the clay pot. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped and its top is golden brown.

Leave the bread in the pot for 15 minutes to cool before removing it from the pot to cool completely.

While the bread is cooling, consider sprucing up the flower pot as well. To decorate the pot, tie or glue a pretty fabric ribbon around the lip or simply attach a bow to the front. Set the baked bread back in the pot and wrap it with cellophane.