The Food Network undeniably is a source of entertainment for the whole family; from grilling with Bobby Flay to the whimsical cakes of Duff Goldman. Whether you are a beginning cook or a seasoned professional, you can find a show on the Food Network that is, both, appealing and informative. But, the best of the best in my book leave me either simply entertained or give me a sense of ‘I can do that.’ Therefore, my picks for best Food Network Television Shows of 2008 are as follows:
Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee – Sandra Lee let’s the viewers know that it’s alright to open a can and create a few shortcuts. But, not only that, she shows how to make the meals flavorful and visually appealing with daily changes in tablescapes. I was particularly inspired by Lee’s form of semi-homemade cooking this Thanksgiving when I took a pound cake, a can of pineapple and a can of white vanilla frosting and created a delicious dessert that cost just over $4.00. I simply boiled the pineapple with about a half cup of sugar (or to taste) until it was reduced and the pineapple was translucent. I leveled the cake, turned it upside down, then, cut the pound cake in half; creating two layers. I placed a generous amount of the pineapple filling on the first layer, then, placed the second layer on top. I frosted the cake, on all sides, with the canned frosting and topped with more pineapple filling. I have to admit that if I had never seen Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, I would never have thought to do that. And to top it all off, I still have half a can of pineapple and frosting. I can hardly wait until Christmas.
Cooking for Real and How’d That Get On My Plate with Sunny Anderson – I love to watch Sunny. She lives up to her name, with her bubbly, wide-eyed personality. Her show Cooking for Real is a down to earth approach to cooking that is particularly appealing to the new to average cook. Her recipes are simple and easy to try in everyday cooking. And because of her show – How’d That Get on My Plate?, I, now, have a new appreciation for strawberries, milk and chocolate, because she explores the process used to bring these and many other products to our table.
Good Eats and Iron Chef America with Alton Brown – Good Eats qualifies as one of the best shows on the Food Network because it is both entertaining and educational. Alton Brown is hilarious when presenting valuable information about how to cook and prepare various dishes. What makes the show so special is that, Brown gives the science behind what makes the food what it is. By understanding why a particular food responds to heat, cold, or whatever cooking process you are using, leads to better results in the kitchen. Iron Chef America is one of the best shows because it generates excitement about creating delicious and beautiful dishes. One of the American Iron Chefs, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Symon or Cat Cora, is challenged by another chef each week to create five dishes within an hour, then, these chefs are put on the hot seat by a panel of three judges. This show will have you glued to the television, because so much is going on at one time, that you won’t want to miss anything.