My top 5 WTTW cooking programs

I’m pretty challenged in the cooking department, but I also don’t have cable, so that results in many hours of watching cooking programs on Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW-11. It’s not that I’m trying to learn how to cook, per se, I just love watching other people cook for some reason. That being said, here are my top picks when it comes to PBS cooking shows.

Jacques Pepin
Is there a more classic chef? I know he’s kind of a legend, but he also just looks like a friendly grandpa. And I mean that in a good way! Reminds me of my own grandfather cooking back in the day. But as my mom said, the dishes he prepares look so elegant and classy, but they’re actually quite simple.

America’s Test Kitchen
I would never have the discipline to prepare the carefully-measured meals this show specializes in. However, I really like watching it. Maybe it’s because the show is so different from the standard, one-person cooking demo, or maybe it’s because ATK is just so, American. Either way, it’s typically pretty entertaining.

Lidia’s Italy
I just love her. I like her accent and she always seems to be cooking up something yummy that I wouldn’t hesitate trying. (Trying to eat, that is.)

Simply Ming
Ming seems like such a nice guy. Very zen. And I love when his mom is on the show, she’s such a character! His simple approach to cooking is definitely right up my alley.

Various BBQ shows with Steven Raichlen
This grillmaster has a couple different shows, including BBQ University and Primal Grill. It seems to me that they’re both the exact same show with a different title. Regardless, grilling looks pretty easy, so I’m fairly confident I could do it (if I ever try). It even inspired me to almost buy a grill-like pan at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I was also able to bust out some BBQ basics during tailgating this year – you’re welcome Mr. & Mrs. Smith!

The best of the rest:

  • Chef John Besh’s New Orleans Cooking
  • New Scandinavian Cooking – the production on this show seems somewhat dated, but it definitely has a different perspective from a lot of the other shows
  • Mexico: One Plate at a Time – hosted by Chicago’s own, Rick Bayless
  • Pati’s Mexican Table – she is sometimes a bit too peppy for me, but she cooks a lot of yummy Mexican dishes

Thanks to WTTW’s ample cooking show offerings, you know where you can find me every weekend – on my couch, watching TV. And maybe, occasionally, in the kitchen trying to overcome my cooking illiteracy.

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