Julia Child Started It All: My Cooking Show Obsession

julia cooking

My name is Jennifer Wolfe, and I love cooking shows.

It all started when I was a kid-it’s my mom’s fault, you see.  Along with Sesame Street and the Dinah Shore Show, I remember watching Julia Child at a very young age. I was fascinated with how she could entertain and create food right there on the screen, and my mom could copy whatever she made.  It was magic.

Once I moved out of the house and into my own apartment, my cooking wasn’t so much magic as it was a mess.  I tried to duplicate my mom’s recipes, but usually I either ended up crumpled in tears or fanning black smoke from the kitchen. I think one of the reasons I agreed to marry my husband was the way he handled my first attempt at making spaghetti sauce from scratch, and ate every charred chunk of meat without complaining.

My little black and white TV became my companion as I discovered Yan Can Cook and the Frugal Gourmet...every Saturday morning I would do my house cleaning, study a bit, and then fill my Berkeley apartment with the glorious images of their culinary creations.  I bought their cookbooks and began to actually be a decent cook myself.the-frugal-gourmet-cooks-italian-31087l1

When my kids were little, Martha Stewart was all the rage; somehow I thought that watching repeats of her show at 3 am when nursing my firstborn was a good idea.  When I realized that I could not work full time, parent my children and keep my house moderately clean, let alone come up with marshmallows from scratch and decorate for every season, I clicked her off.

Then, along came Food Network.  My dreams had been answered; whatever I wanted to cook, at any time of day or night, was there at the click of the remote.  Guy Fieri took me to affordable diners, Giada tempted me with her laid back California cuisine, Barefoot Contessa reminded me to minimize my butter intake, and The Next Food Network Star was perfect family reality TV entertainment. Cooking is cool again.

Over the years I’ve tried endless TV chef’s recipes, and created a binder system to store favorite recipes.  I keep a healthy Pinterest account with recipes to try, and have even checked out a Meal Planning Template that helps to plan and purchase food for a week’s worth of recipes.  Currently, I keep a white board on the kitchen wall with menu options for the week, and the kids help me choose what to eat each night. Not super high tech, but it works.

Right now, I’ve got to get downstairs and get cooking.  Watching Paula Deen today made us crave watermelon and angel food cake…and Pioneer Woman’s Fancy Mac n Cheese!

What’s your favorite cooking show? How did you learn to cook?

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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    1. Oh, Sara, how could I forget the Galloping Gourmet! I completely remember him…I wonder if our kids will look back as fondly on today’s cooking stars as we do…thank you so much for commenting today! -Jennifer

  1. Back in the day I enjoyed Emeril and Wolfgang Puck but never attempted anything beyond Rachel Ray!
    If I ignore her personality, I still like Martha.

    1. Yes, Leigh, I think it’s great she lost weight; I’ve never really cooked many of her recipes because they are just so heavy! Maybe now that her son is doing the ‘light’ versions I will try some. Thanks for commenting! ~Jennifer

  2. Ahh, Julia Child and Dinah Shore…love those shows too! I learned from my mom, but I don’t consider myself a cook. I don’t like to measure ingredients so much, but to just throw things in and experiment. My favorite shows right now are Chopped, Diners Drive Ins & Dives and Giada. I like Bobby Flay’s Food Throwdown, but I don’t know if it’s on anymore. The other one I loved, but isn’t on anymore is Nigella Bites.
    Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club recently posted…Mr. Darcy Moments: Things That Matter…Men & Women in Military CombatMy Profile

    1. Courtney, my kids and I loved to watch ‘Throwdown’ – I haven’t seen it in awhile. I have watched his new one, about the dinner competition…and of course, ‘The Worst Cooks In America’ makes me laugh! Thanks for stopping by mamawolfe today! ~Jennifer

  3. I learned how to cook with Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals.” Before that, I could follow a recipe, but I couldn’t go into the kitchen and whip something up on my own. My current favorite cooking show is “Chopped.”
    Marcy recently posted…Terror at Three FeetMy Profile

    1. I watch Rachael Ray all the time-her recipes are so easy and delicious! And “Chopped”…what fun! That’s my kind of reality show! Thanks for taking the time to comment today! -Jennifer

  4. So glad you clicked off Martha Stewart at 3 am…. And your cooking and baking has always amazed me. Such a gift to your family! Your love for them infuses all – a la “Like Water for Chocolate.” I love the idea of the whiteboard!

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