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 V.20 No.1 | January 6 - 12, 2011 

Mina's Dish

Eating Up Cooking Shows

PBS travels far and wide for food

Christopher Kimball in “America’s Test Kitchen”
Courtesy of KNME/KNMD
Christopher Kimball in “America’s Test Kitchen”

A couple of years ago, I hooked myself up to the world of TiVo. I had a singular goal in mind—to record PBS’ Saturday lineup of cooking shows. I watch them all—Julia Child, Rick Bayless, Martin Yan, Lidia Bastianich, José Andrés, Steven Raichlen, Christopher Kimball and his “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Cook’s Country” crew, and the revolving cooks on Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food.” I play the ones I like several times, take notes, and absorb their recipes and techniques before I eventually delete the programs to make room for new ones

Ming Tsai shows his wok mastery.
Anthony Tieuli for WGBH
Ming Tsai shows his wok mastery.

I’ve watched Jacques Pépin’s episode on knife skills more times than I can count. Nancy Silverton of L.A.’s La Brea Bakery once created a dessert so fine that Julia Child—who routinely featured master chefs, bakers and artisans at the top of their game—nearly yanked it out of her hands and wept.

Martha Stewart’s cast demonstrates recipes for home cooks on the go. Lidia Bastianich combines the best of Italian regional cooking with a travelogue, and Steven Raichlen grills everything from leeks to lamb chops using recipes from the world over.

Not all of these series show up every season. Usually KNME runs five or six cooking programs in a row on Saturday afternoons. So I was happy to learn that the New Mexico PBS affiliate has added two new channels. First up, PBS World (cable channel 204) runs from midnight to 4 p.m. and features science, current affairs and history. Meanwhile, Create (cable channel 205) runs 24-hours and has a lineup of cooking, arts and crafts, gardening, home improvement, and travel.

Lidia Bastianich knows how to work a tomato.
Mario Novak
Lidia Bastianich knows how to work a tomato.

Some of you may already have figured this out. Depending on your home entertainment setup, there are a number of ways to access the new channels. You can find instructions at

The website also has a program guide for Create’s lineup with new cooking shows such as “Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth” (as in Reichl). The magazine may be gone, but Reichl continues to bring the world of food to gastronomes. Also roaming far afield is “New Scandinavian Cooking” with Tina Nordström, a new season of Jacques Pépin’s “Fast Food My Way” and Joan Weir’s “Cooking Class.”

Martin Yan’s “Hidden China” premieres on Friday, Jan. 7, at 9 and 9:30 p.m. cable channel 204. The series follows Yan as he travels throughout his homeland to harvest tea leaves, stalk wild mushrooms and reveal little-known culinary secrets.

You might wonder how to keep up with this new bounty of food for the eyes. I’ve already solved that one—with a TiVo box that records two channels at once. Bring it on, Julia!

I spend most of my TV time on KNME and highly recommend a basic annual membership—at $40 a year, it’s one of the best cultural bargains in town. For membership information, call 277-2922 or e-mail

Send your restaurant tips, food events and other delicious tidbits to

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