DIY Videos: Might there be a new life for TV French Chef Julia Child?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Do It Yourself Videos

A Note from Dr. Wayne Baker: This week, welcome back columnist Terry Gallagher.

TV French Chef Julia ChildOnce you start looking at the range of home-made how-to videos out there, there are definitely some surprises.

One friend told me he’s signed up to receive updates whenever a retired shop teacher named Mr. Pete posts new videos on YouTube, offering instruction in how to use such tools as “the ever- popular Craftsman Atlas 12-inch lathe and the ubiquitous Bridgeport j-head milling machine.”

“He’s great,” my friend reports, “especially if you have no idea how a machine shop works, that is, how to make a wheel, a screw, a nail or a bearing.”

While I’m pretty sure that most of us are never going to make our own nails, a lot of us enjoy watching other people cook on television. That’s true even among those of us who don’t know an escargot from escarole.

Julia Child, for example, has been a mainstay of popular entertainment since her 1963 television debut preparing her recipe for boeuf bourguignon, continuing in reruns even after her death a decade ago.

The rising popularity of cooking programs and online videos proves that an activity many people consider drudgery has become a popular spectator sport, best-selling author Michael Pollan writes in his most recent book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. Pollan points out that Americans now spend an average of 27 minutes per day preparing meals, less time than it takes to watch most cooking programs. “There are now millions of people who spend more time watching food being cooked on television than they spend actually cooking it themselves.”


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