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From Brahmin Julia to Working-Class Emeril: The Evolution of Television Cooking

Miller, T. (2002) From Brahmin Julia to Working-Class Emeril: The Evolution of Television Cooking. In: Collins, J., (ed.) High-Pop: Making Culture into Popular Entertainment. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 75-89.

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In the early 1960s, National Educational Telei1ision (NET) initially rejected a Boston-based culinary program hosted by a woman named Julia Child. The rationale was that the cooking show was an outdated format from the 195Os. Child was picked up by a regional outfit called the Eastern Educational Network, which was her eventual plaiform for international fame and fortune. (Ledbetter, 1998: 89)

In her voice - "to-mah-toe," "herbs" with a hard "h" - you hear the patrician New England ancestry, the Smith education, the dozen years spent living abroad. In her manner, you see at heart a California girl, raised in Pasadena, supremely unselfconcious. Drop a fish in your kitchen, and "VVhoooo is going to know?" (Cyr, 2000: 40)

People lined up at 6 a.m. to get seats - on a Saturday morning, no less. Inside, the 2, 000-person crowd jumped to its feet, cheering and clapping in unison as the music keyed up and an announcer shouted, Let's get ready to rumble .... [W]hooping Jans were assembled for the taping of a show by Emeril Legasse, a gourmet master chef with blue-collar appeal who has turned the Food Network into Must See TV Once a 24-hour outlet for Julia Child reruns, the cable channel has become eye-candy for food voyeurs who watch more for entertainment than cooking advice. (Brown, 1999: n.p.)

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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