Trip Down Food TV Lane

It may not feel like it, but today is an important day in culinary history.

Twenty years ago a small fledging network started airing food-related shows with Emeril Lagasse and news programs (Food Views & News) with Sara Moulton and David Rosengarten.

Yes, with less flash and glamour, the Food Network started airing super simple shows 20 years *today. In other words, it was the greatest day of my mother’s life! Charter aired it on Channel 54. And she never stopped watching. Although if I remember it aired infomercials overnight since they were wasn’t enough programming to cover all 24 hours.

Aw, how times have changed.

Today viewers can rattle off chef’s names like they’re rock stars, and by first name also. Guy, Ina, Duff, Bobby and Rachael come to mind.

But in 1993, it seemed like the network couldn’t even afford color! I can’t tell you how many set backdrops were white, pure white, or white with props! That 3-storied wire rack you have in your pantry? Yeah, it was used for that news program, and for Rosengarten’s show Taste.

My mother fell hook line and sinker for it.

She’d watch day and night – or at least until paid programming kicked in for the night.

She loved Moulton’s Cooking Live show, and took copious notes. I do remember in the beginning a few bad calls, or dropped calls, but for the most part people were asking valid cooking question, and Moulton was happy oblige. She taught *me you could really cook a whole meal within 30 minutes pre-Rachael (!).

As time wore on, more programming was added, like ‘The Essence of Emeril’ which conveniently aired nightly at 6pm – the same time as dinner! Eating while learning about food – that’s what dreams are made of. It was also another show she got me sucked into!

Then the internet came to house. After a quick tutorial on how to print, I’d come home from college many days to find dozens of recipes littering the kitchen and living room tables. In fact, Food TV was the only reason why we got internet in the first place!

After she died early last year, I couldn’t watch anything on this channel without wildly bursting into tears. I tried many times too during my leave so I could learn something new, and maybe distract myself from the dreadful truth I was facing, but I couldn’t get past the first minutes of any program. I had to give up. It reminded me too much of her.

And then something amazing happened. I started to realize that I still could connect with her – through food. Oftentimes I now find myself carefully sifting through thousands of cookbook pages casually researching my next meal.

I continue to get Food Network magazine in the mail – she gifted me a subscription a few years back.