Television has long been accused of driving people apart. And to some extent, this is true. Conversations on sitcoms replace dinner table talk. Blue glow from the tv screen replaces reading lights. Multiple tvs encourage individual viewings in separate rooms rather a shared viewing in the living room.
Yet, television can be a way to connect with others. It’s a casual but meaningful way to talk with someone you don’t know well or who is intimidating, such as your boss. Television is a safe topic, one that doesn’t breach into personal and private details. You can talk about the characters, the plot, and what you think will happen without infringing on personal space. Your discussion gives a window in each other’s mind.
Food tv in particular can be a fun way to connect with others. You find out how others live in the world: their eating preferences, dining habits, food memories, and cooking knowledge. If you don’t watch cooking shows, watch a variety of shows, from cooking in the kitchen (Barefoot Contessa), cooking talk shows (The Kitchen), cooking competitions (Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay) and traveling for food (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives). Then bring up one of the shows in your next conversation with someone, and you will learn something new and interesting about them and yourself too.
There’s a cooking show for every type of person. Here are some suggestions:
Women (mother, sister, mother-in law, girlfriends)
- how-to cook shows (Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa, Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman; Valerie Bertinelli’s Valerie’s Home Cooking)
- lifestyle cooking (Giada De Laurentiis’ Giada in Italy)
- food and talk shows (Food Network’s The Kitchen, ABC’s The Chew)
- light competition cooking shows (Guy Fieri’s Guy’s Grocery Games; Cupcake Wars)
Men (father, brother, father-in law, boyfriend)
- competition cooking shows (Cutthroat Kitchen; Chopped; Iron Chef; Beat Bobby Flay; Top Chef)
- bizarre food and travel (Anthony Bourdain; Andrew Zimmern)
- regional food and travel (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives)
- science-based how-to cook (Alton Brown’s Good Eats)
- competition cooking shows featuring kids (Food Network Star Kids; Kids Baking Championship; Chopped Junior)
- seasonal shows (Holiday Bake-off)
- ultimate type (Best of; Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets and Unique Eats)
- competition shows (Worst Cooks in America; The Next Food Network Star; Bravo’s Top Chef)
- food and talk show (The Kitchen; The Chew)
- one-time shows- especially memorable are one-time events, like the final show of the Next Food Network Star or the Great Food Truck Race. Tension and anticipation build as contestants are eliminated. The announcement of the winner releases the bubble and people receive and process the information together.
Questions to ask each other after watching food tv
How did you eat growing up? Who cooked in your family?
Who cooks now in your household?
What destination would you travel for food?
Would you try bizarre foods like brains, liver, or ants? Why or why not?
What would you make with the four ingredients given to the cooks?
What did you think of the competitors’ attitudes?
Did you agree with the judges’ decisions?
How would you have described the dish?
Did you actually go and cook the meal or decorate your table the suggested way?
Have fun! Watch several food tv shows, bring it up in your next encounter with someone, and you’ll connect in ways that transcend space and social barriers.