Watching What We Eat: The Evolution of Television Cooking Shows


Product Details

Publish Date
5.0 X 8.1 X 0.9 inches | 0.77 pounds

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About the Author

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.


Collins, a college librarian with a lifelong love of cooking shows, gives a decade-by-decade breakdown of the evolution of TV cooking as a dead-accurate social barometer. From providing helpful hints for homemakers in the 1950's, catering to the lavish lifestyles and culinary excess of the 80's and satisfying the celeb-hungry, reality-crazed audience of the new millennium, Collins examines how far cooking programs have gone to adapt their content, style and character to both suit and define various moments in the 20th century. Her thorough research is spiced with anecdotes and personal testimonials from chefs, historians and foodies about the world of TV cooking and the eccentric personalities that populate it.
TIME Magazine
"Cooking is so huge on television today that it has made chefs as famous as movie stars. From the earliest days of flickering black-and-white sets, food shows have infused the tube with class and character that makes this one of the richest genres of programming. It is about time this fact was recognized and explored in depth, with insight and good humor, as it is in Kathleen Collins' Watching What We Eat. This is a book not only for foodies, but for anyone with an interest in this vital vein of American popular culture." --Â Jane and Michael Stern, authors of Jane and Michael Stern's Encyclopedia of Pop Culture (HarperCollins) and American Gourmet (HarperCollins)
Publishers Weekly
"In her lively and informative narrative of television food shows, Kathleen Collins captures the phenomenal growth of food as entertainment, what has evolved into a new form of spectator sport in America. The rise of TV celebrity chefs within the context of the nation's growing sophistication about food are stories that needed to be told, and Collins has told them well." --  Barbara Haber, food historian, author of From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals (Penguin)
Wall Street Journal