Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cool down with some cooking shows this overheated summer

There's a lot of heated talk on TV these days, especially now that the first of our two big political conventions has begun this week.

While it's good to stay informed, it's also vitally important to give yourself a break from the contentious action and thank goodness, we have cooking shows to help you simmer down from the stress.

A great place to start is The Great British Baking Show, which is airing weekly on PBS(prime time in some places, Sunday afternoons in others). This is the third season for the US audience and such a lovely treat to watch people compete in such a polite way to become the best baker. You also learn a thing or two about baking, with many of the assigned recipes being from other countries as well as a few of the bakers adding a special twist or two to their food.

This past week, bread was the theme and part of the suspense for the technical challenge was to see if the bakers knew the right way to crisp up their French baguettes(steam is needed). Not everyone met the challenge but all of them did manage to make a good impression on the judges and us viewers to boot:

If you're looking for something fresh on Food Network, Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian is hosting a new season of Cooks Vs.Cons (con standing for "con artist" in this case).

A set of four chefs do battle, with two of them being non professional cooks. No one knows who is who until the end and if a "con" wins, that person can get fifteen grand(the pros win ten grand) as their prize.

Of course, the contestants have food challenges given to them like surprise ingredients such as maple syrup and ginger snaps. While Zakarian can be a little stiff in his host duties, it's hard not to get caught up with him and the other judges in trying to guess who the "true" cooks are:

For those who like a slice of luxury, Cooking Channel has Cake Hunters and yes, they do cover more than weddings. Folks looking for a special cake for a special occasion meet with three bakers to taste and chose the flavors and design that will work for them.

Not only do we see the sample cakes that are made by each baker, you also get a behind the scenes look at the chosen cake being prepared(usually with a last minute change in plans).

Some of these designs are truly amazing and fun to imagine having for your own party time fun. At the very least, Cake Hunters is a nice way to find some edible inspiration:

One constant source of wicked foodie fun is Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown who allows his evil edible genius to run wild. If you haven't seen the show before, the premise is that four chefs are given money to bid on challenges to hand out to their competition and the winning chef only leaves with whatever amount of cash he or she has left.

The challenges are truly in the "you have to see it to believe it" category like cooking with non traditional sources of heat(hair dryer,egg cooker and once, a tiki torch to name a few) and having to prep food in unlikely places(ball pit, tub of water). Funny enough, it's usually the chef who winds up with no challenges who makes the most culinary mistakes.

Later this summer, Alton is bringing back "Camp Cutthroat", taking this twisted game to the not so great outdoors. In the meanwhile, there's plenty of fierce food fun to enjoy in this treacherous cooking game:

There are many more but I think this savory sample should whet your appetite for tuning into some cooking shows this hectic season. Some times, the only fights you want to see are the ones for culinary control and those beefy battles are certainly tastier than what else is on right now:

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