Want to get in shape? Cook!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 6, 2009

Did you read the New York Times magazine last Sunday?  Michael Pollan wrote “Out of the Kitchen, on to the Couch”.  Pollan questions America’s obsession with watching cooking shows on TV rather then actually cooking at home!

It really is amazing isn’t it?  I remember when I was producing a TV talk show in San Francisco and we hired a focus group to watch some 2 minute segments of our show to get an idea of what the audience liked.  These were 2 minute segments, simply samples of the show, to give the group a flavor of what the show was about. Because most of the segments actually ran longer than 2 minutes on the air the focus group didn’t even get to see how they ended.

When the cooking segment started, something strange  happened.The people in the focus group grabbed pencils and paper and started writing down the recipe!  They knew the recipe would be incomplete, but they took notes anyway!  That day I found out something very important. No matter what the recipe is, people love watching a cooking segment!

We had lots of cooking segments on AM, it was just the beginning of the Celebrity Chef phenomenon!  Cookbooks were flying off the shelves and America fell in love with James Beard, Jacques Pepin, Wolfgang Puck and yes…our favorite, Julia Child.

We had Julia on many times, one time she even started a fire on the set.  I will never forget when she was preparing a pig for roasting, the host asked her if she cut off the tail and Julia said, “No dear, there is a convenient little place right under the tail and you just tuck it in there.”  Needless to say we were laughing hysterically in the control room!  That story was told many, many times at station parties, dinner parties, bars, bus stops, anywhere people would listen – with all of us doing our best Julia Child accent!

That’s why we loved Julia!  She was so unpredictable in a completely sincere way!  That’s why I loved Pollan’s article – if you haven’t read it check it out.

But what really struck me was Pollan’s thoughts about how cooking shows have changed.  How cooking shows now stress fast quick and easy cooking tips.

Julia loved to cook.  Michal Pollan talked about how Julia worked up a sweat whisking the cream, or how she tomahawked a fish skeleton or rolfed the butter into  the chicken.  He asked, “Have you ever seen Martha Stewart break a sweat?”

His point was that Julia was less interested in making cooking fast and easy with the goal being the meal at the end.  She was more interested in the idea of cooking as an art which not only engaged the tastebuds but the mind and yes, the muscles.

Cooking should be physical! (after all this is a health blog you know)

When I work out at the gym and go into the locker room, guess what the gals are watching?  Cooking!  There must be a wild sensual sensation that happens when Paula Dean is adding whipped cream to brownies drenched in chocolate sauce with just a tiny taste of cherries!  Oh sure we all go, “OMG!  That is so bad for you…but we watch it anyway.

So my friends, when you decide on your next meal…make it from scratch and sweat like Julia!  Cooking should be a journey in the kitchen, not a quick trip.  Your family, and your stomach, will thank you for the homecookin’!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Juana Guevara August 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Thank you Shirley and Kevin… I Love all the blogs….I read them all the time, they are awesome. I love Michael Pollen but I didn’t see read the article, (i will go pull it out of the recycling bin). My husband loves to watch cooking shows but never ever tries any of the recipes. As you said…cooking is an art and great therapy. Last weekend I made bruchetta from fresh tomatoes from my friend Melinda’s garden and purple basil from my garden. We also made zucchini from my brother’s garden and chicken prepared with fresh lemons, rosemary, tarragon and parsley from our garden. All the colors, smells, textures and tastes of cooking….while talking about life, politics and family….no TV…just music in the background and some good California wine….Julia was right…thank you for reminding us!


Davalos/McCormack August 11, 2009 at 11:41 am

Thanks Juana! Your meal sounds wonderful!


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