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The Food Network a favorite for foodies everywhere

Michelle Fordice | Thursday, November 15, 2007

It is every foodie’s favorite. It is instructional, entertaining, and eternally perky. It is what reminds you that to-die-for dishes really exist, even if you are stuck in the middle of the semester despairing over the dining hall. It is the Food Network. And you really begin to understand its brilliance when you’re hungry.After capturing your attention with skilled chefs preparing mouth-watering dishes, the Food Network offers thousands of delicious recipes to try yourself. Supplemented by its Web site, which allows the curious to search by ingredient, the channel inspires new and old cooks to try something different. By bringing professional chefs out of their kitchens and into viewers’ homes, the Food Network offers a glance into how good food really can be. It is astounding how some of those chefs have achieved star status. Emeril Lagasse, one of the first Food Network stars whose catch phrase “BAM!” quickly integrated itself into popular culture, has 10 award-winning restaurants across the country. Bobby Flay’s “Mesa Grill” concept has developed into restaurants, products and cookbooks. In addition to her Food Network cooking shows, Rachael Ray has an Emmy-award wining talk show on CBS. Nearly all of the chefs have their own cookbooks, and many developed their own lines of kitchen supplies. Nevertheless, the real star is the food itself. Of course, sometimes what looks easy on TV isn’t always so. Rachael Ray has some excellent recipes, but very few that are actually “30 minute meals,” unless you too have a staff to do all of your cutting and chopping. And some of the ingredients these chefs can access are not readily found in my grocery store, or within the capabilities of my wallet. Ever picked up saffron? Be wary of spices sold in grams, college student, and put it back right now. But who says you need to always bother with that whole actually cooking thing anyway? One afternoon my mother and I developed a severe craving for fish and chips after flipping past the Food Network. Did we mess around with all that hot oil? Of course not! We just let our other good friend Google save the day and locate us a restaurant in the area that served the dish we longed for and discovered one of our favorite restaurants as a result. Not into the instructional shows? The Food Network splits its programming into two sections, “The Food Network in the Kitchen” and “Food Network Nighttime.” Ranging from cooking competitions to behind-the-scenes looks and reality shows, the evening programming includes favorites such as “Iron Chef,” “Dinner: Impossible,” “Unwrapped,” “$40 a Day,” and “Ace of Cakes.” The most famous is likely the original “Iron Chef,” a Japanese show dubbed over in English. The show, which features chefs battling to create the best meal out of a surprise ingredient, is not only intriguing for the resulting dishes but also hilarious for the campy and eccentric feel. The Food Network does not look like it intends to stop expanding any time soon, either. In 2000, it launched Food Network Canada, with its own set of hosts and programs. In addition to marketing some of the products of its personalities, department stores have begun to carry Food Network labeled kitchen supplies. But really, don’t you want to watch just so that you can imagine eating it all? And now it even comes in HD. So, grab your E.V.O.O (extra-virgin olive oil, of course), and kick it up a notch with the Food Network.