The Food Network Makes Food Science Fun

According to Wikipedia, food science is “a study concerned with all technical aspects of food, beginning with harvesting or slaughtering, and ending with its cooking and consumption. It is considered one of the life sciences, and is usually considered distinct from the field of nutrition.”
As the Food Network and its’ competitors grab their market share of foodies: Food Network appears to be ahead of its’ competition with tasty morsels-“Good Eats” and “Unwrapped.” Both programs provide unique insights into food chemistry, packaging, preservation, microbiology and even molecular gastronomy.

Alton Brown, a former video director, left the film business to train at the Culinary Institute in Montpelier in Vermont. After completing his culinary education, Alton created “Good Eats” ten years ago. Interestingly, Alton is a James Beard Foundation Award Winner in 2002. Ask any serious foodie about James Beard (it’s a huge a deal). Moreover, his cook books have been bestsellers.
What makes “Good Eats” so unique is Alton’s exceptional delivery and knowledge of food science. From providing examples on the dissection of the cow in relation to a short ribs recipe: To an explanation of the history of mutton.

Alton is fun to watch and I admit… I’m addicted to his show. As a scientist, it’s always to interesting to watch other colleagues in action. Especially, when it comes to exploring the etiology of his favorite fruit; the peach. There are those who accuse Alton’s delivery on “Good Eats” as quirky. However, this quirkiness is effective. According to Nielsen Ratings, “Good Eats” continues to add thousands of viewers weekly.

In contrast to “Good Eats”, Marc Summers “Unwrapped” explores the technology and manufacturing of large-scale food production. Marc has gone behind the scenes of America’s most unique test kitchens. From French fries, bubble gum and chocolate syrup…”Unwrapped” reveals the secrets of mass production. Past episodes have explored food technology, packaging and product development. Marc, an American television personality and former game show host, offers his own brand of alacrity and comedy to food production.

Food consumption has become extremely popular over the past ten years. Hence, the popularity of shows “Good Eats” and “Unwrapped.” The undercurrent of legislation driven by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the flurry of food recalls during the past ten years, may also offer some insight into America’s curiosity in food science.

Food Network. [Online]. Alton Brown. Retrieved from http://www.foodnetwork.com/alton-brown/bio/index.htm on May 10, 2010.

Food Network. [Online]. Good Eats. Retrieved from http://www.foodnetwork .com/goodeats. On May 10, 2010.

Internet Movie Database. [Online]. Marc Summers. Retrieved from http://www.imbd.com/marcsummers. On May 10, 2010.

Wikipedia. [Online]. Food science. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_science. On May 10, 2010.

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