Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This Is What Happens When You Watch Too Many Cooking Shows

I enjoy watching cooking shows.  I never really watched them until a few years ago.  Nick likes a few on PBS that I started watching with him.  He used to watch some cooking shows with his grandmother when he was younger, so it makes sense that he enjoys them.  My dad also started watching cooking shows.  I’m still not sure what’s up with my dad’s cooking show obsession.  He’s not particularly into cooking, and finds the whole idea of cooking for himself to be a major ordeal.  He did develop the habit of emailing me recipes from the shows.  They were usually sent in the guise of “I saw this and thought you might like it”, even though some of the recipes were for things I don’t like, but that my dad happens to love.  He’s into subtle hints like that. 

So between Nick and Dad I started to enjoy watching cooking shows.  Some of them get on my nerves for various reasons, but there are a few that are really, really good.  Some of my favorites are Pati’s Mexican Table (her food looks delicious, and I love how enthusiastic and creative she is) and Lidia’sKitchen (her food looks great, I like her no nonsense, no waste approach, and I love it when she talks about her grandmother teaching her to cook).  I also enjoy America’s Test Kitchen (Julia Collin Davison is my favorite chef; she always seems like she’s happy to be in the kitchen and is having a good time).  And I planned my Sunday evenings around The Great British Baking Show when it was on PBS.  I think I’m actually suffering withdrawal from that not being on! 
I had strep throat at the end of June, and spent almost a week at home.  I watched a lot of cooking shows during that week.  I had no idea how many cooking shows come on during my usual work day! 
It tasted much better than it looked!
Normally I don’t actually make anything from the cooking shows.  There are some things I plan to make and just never seem to get around to.  Most of the time, though, I just use what I see on the cooking shows as a place to start from, or I combine a few different ideas for recipes from a few different shows.  After hours and hours of cooking shows I decided it was time to actually try a recipe from one.

I chose this meringue cake from Pati’s Mexican Table.  Please click on the link to see what it’s supposed to look like.  Hers was beautiful.  Mine was described as “the leaning tower of goop”, and “it looks like you made a giant mud pie”.   It tasted great, but I clearly need to work on my assembly and presentation. 

The filling called for strawberries, but I used blackberries instead.  They’re in season for us right now, and absolutely delicious.  We bought them from a roadside stand, and they were perfect; ripe, sweet, and juicy.  They were delicious in the filling, but I think the substitution definitely added to my cake not looking anything like the one from the show.  I also realize it’s probably not the best idea to go making substitutions in a recipe you’ve never made before, but I’m not really a “follow the recipe exactly” kind of cook. 
I’ve also never made any kind of meringue before, and I don’t really have much experience working with egg whites.  However, I’ve never let a little thing like not knowing what I’m doing stand in my way when it comes to trying a new recipe. 
My "slice".  Clearly it needs some work.  Still delicious though!
I think my meringue needs some work.  I think it came out fairly good for the first try, but there’s definitely room for improvement.  I learned from my Mother-In-Law that meringue turns out a little better when the air isn’t so humid.  It was crazy humid the day I made it, so that may have caused some trouble. 
Over all, the cake tasted good.  We had some trouble cutting it (I think that goes back to my meringue needing some improvement), and it totally fell apart when we were cutting it.  It sort of looked more like a herd of wild animals had torn into it.  But it was really good.  I will definitely try making it again.  It didn’t keep well at all in the refrigerator, so I think the next time I make it I will make sure I have a larger group of willing tasters. 

So what about you?  Do you have a favorite cooking show?  Have you tried making a recipe from a cooking show?  How did it turn out? 


  1. I enjoy the cooking shows too. My favorite is Simply Ming.

  2. Yes, yours did look slightly different. This is obviously a kind of Pavlova cake and at least yours stood up when you had made it. I haven't watched a cooking show in a long time but I used to enjoy Bobby Flay before he went all barbecue and Giada de Laurentis amongst others. Also Jacques Pèpin was among my favourites.

  3. As long as it tastes good! Substituting blueberries for strawberries sounds great, definitely different!

  4. The only cooking show I really ever got into was Good Eats. I made several of his recipes. I especially love the premium ice cream (but it's a pain to make).

  5. It does look good for your first attempt :) Sorry about your strep throat though last month. Son would watch cooking shows and come up with ideas that he would experiment on us with. I like to watch them, I just am not much of a cook or baker :)


  6. Cooking shows are addictive. I think your attempt to make a meringue cake was admirable.I bet it was delicious.

  7. I really enjoy cooking shows when I'm hungry. We've been watching Masterchef just before dinner and I'm addicted to it. I'm a terrible cook and nothing ever looks the way it's supposed to. Your cake looks okay to me. In fact it looks delicious Danielle :)

  8. LOL I love dazzling disasters like that. Yay for it being tasty even if not perfect in looks. I've found that substitutions in baking are a huge no no for me. It's such a precise thing that if you don't know what you're doing it can really flub up. Now cooking. Cooking I love doing substitutions. It's so much more forgiving. :D


Thank you for taking the time to comment! Please leave your link so I can visit you as well.