• Breakfast: Steel cut oats with dried cranberries and walnuts and brown sugar
  • Lunch: More vegan pizza
  • Dinner: Black bean burger (vegan this time), a salad and a few tater tots
  • Snacks: Cauliflower and hummus, and one cookie (yeah, it had eggs and chocolate in it)
  • Drink: Water, coffee

So, here’s something I’ve noticed since becoming a vegan/vegetarian/whatever I am. Celine and I both have an affinity for cooking shows. We have a handful of favorites (Julia and Jacques on PBS, Cook’s Country and America’s Test Kitchen on PBS, and for me, Good Eats on Food Network – Alton will always have a place in my heart, no matter how pretentious he gets), and the Food Network is on our TV whenever we can’t decide what to watch. Everything on the Food Network has gotten to be a little too much like a kindergarten class for our tastes lately, but the PBS shows are still fantastic, and we DVR them so we can spend our weekend mornings watching Julia Child deglaze a pan or Christopher Kimball in his bow tie speak patronizingly to his cooks in the test kitchen. It’s a nice way to spend a morning.

But the insulting attitude of the Food Network hosts is not what I’ve noticed, nor the weirdness of Kimball’s attire. What I’ve noticed is that there are absolutely no shows that focus on vegetarian cooking, and certainly none that focus on vegan cooking. What’s more, there are very few that ever focus on vegetables at all, even for one show. Every cooking show I’ve seen since I started eating this way has focused on a meat dish, so much so that it’s become obvious that this is the standard format of the show. They do usually make a side dish of some sort of vegetable, but even that dish often contains meat, or it’s something equally unhealthy, like macaroni and cheese or some sort of creamy potato dish.

With so much emphasis on healthful eating these days, it’s amazing to me that there aren’t more cooking shows that talk about cooking healthful meals. Indeed, many of the Food Network shows talk about this regularly, but the food they are actually preparing is hardly health food. Is it better for you than a fast food burger? Sure, but that’s a pretty low bar. In many cases, I think the Food Network especially is guilty of promoting the idea of a healthy meal, when in reality the meal isn’t all that good for you.

There are some notable exceptions, of course. None of these folks cook vegetarian, but they at least promote cooking in a more healthful way. Our favorite is Jamie Oliver, who had a fantastic show on Food Network called Jamie at Home. The show was filmed at his home (thus the title), and he had a huge garden from which he picked most of the foods he cooked. He did cook meat as well, but it was always local and ethically raised meat, and he talked about this aspect quite a lot. We bought the cookbook related to the show, and it’s a great find. I’d highly recommend any of his books, actually.

When did this awesome show air on the Food Network? Once a week, at 8AM on Friday. That is, until they stopped showing it entirely. Apparently, in England they make cooking shows about a cookbook (we sort of do the opposite here). So the show is there to promote the cookbook, which means the show itself has a limited number of episodes. I guess once Food Network had run through those a couple of times, they took it off the air.

Food Network also has Ellie Krieger and Aida Mollenkamp, and they both focus on healthy recipes. However, I can’t even find their shows in the lineup anymore, so maybe they aren’t on the network any longer.

Julia Child and the Test Kitchen folks make no bones about their cooking. They are going for delicious, not necessarily healthy, and they are completely honest about that, which I can respect. The Food Network is not so honest about it though, and that is starting to rub me the wrong way. And with such power at their command in the world of cooking shows, would it kill them to have just one cook that focused on healthful meals? I think part of the problem is that people don’t think they can eat something that’s delicious and healthy, and that’s just not true.

But you wouldn’t know it from watching cooking shows, that’s for sure.

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