I guess I'll settle for Okay Eats.
June 25, 2011 4:45 PM   Subscribe

What cooking shows other than the late Good Eats talk about why things are done the way they are? Any era or style of cooking.
posted by cmoj to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: America's Test Kitchen on PBS.
posted by belau at 4:56 PM on June 25, 2011 [12 favorites]

Here's an example you can watch online - not as explicitly science-y as Alton Brown's show, but plenty of thought involved: Sautéed Pork Cutlets with Mustard-Cider Sauce
posted by belau at 5:07 PM on June 25, 2011

Not a show, but The Food Lab at Serious Eats fits the bill.
posted by proj at 5:19 PM on June 25, 2011

Best answer: Mario Batali's first show, Molto Mario, had a lot of that embedded informally. It was one of the best cooking shows ever.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 5:43 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: America's Test Kitchen and its redneck cousin, Cook's Country, are the king of this. An older show that I enjoyed was Molto Mario. He talks (although in broader terms) about why he's doing things and what you can do in general to make your food taste more like restaurant food.
posted by ftm at 5:45 PM on June 25, 2011

Best answer: Believe it or not I glean a lot of this kind of information from "Chopped". This is the show where contestants prepare dinner courses from baskets of eccentric ingredients. They are forced by the crazy combinations of ingredients to go back to basic principles. How to build complex flavors to taste good, how to use variations in texture to enhance the dishes, presentation, etc. Plus, it's a competition...you love competition.
posted by txmon at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I learned a lot of the "whys" from Molto Mario, the original (dubbed) Iron Chef, and Good Eats a decade ago.
posted by WasabiFlux at 6:16 PM on June 25, 2011

Best answer: Julia Child's television shows and particularly her later collaborations with Jacques Pépin, Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home are often very good at showing practical things like knife technique, or how to lift awkward things like whole hams or big birds. Not so much chemistry and physics as Good Eats, but some practical chemistry, occasionally, from Jacques, such as emulsification in sauces, and the physics of sugar in making simple syrups and glazes.
posted by paulsc at 7:18 PM on June 25, 2011

Jacques Pépin's solo shows were good in that respect, too.
posted by gimonca at 7:24 PM on June 25, 2011

I realize this will not be a popular opinion, but the whole Cook's franchise drains all the passion out of cooking. They begin with the premise that the way people have always done something is wrong, then proceed to give you a convoluted 15-step process to achieve the exact same result.

I don't know of anyone doing food science on TV right now, but the new Emeril show is actually fairly decent, as is vintage Jamie Oliver. Otherwise, you'll probably have to turn to books. Recs there would include Shirley O. Corrier and Harold McGee.
posted by Gilbert at 8:00 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some of Jacques Pepin's more recent shows can be streamed from KQED's website. He's very good at explaining the WHY. Likewise, a selection of Julia's videos are available on PBS.org.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:08 PM on June 25, 2011

Best answer: Now that I think about it, Lidia Bastianich's show explain a lot, too. So did the Frugal Gourmet. He basically taught me how to cook as a teenager.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:10 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Heston Blumenthal's BBC series "In Search of Perfection" has a lot of that sort of thing.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:39 AM on June 26, 2011

It's not a TV show but a website, but you might find Cooking for Engineers interesting.
posted by like_neon at 5:19 AM on June 27, 2011

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