Food shows are not only about amateurs preparing a dish with an utmost determination to impress the judges and cracking up under pressure with a time limit. It is also not about teaching the viewers about meticulous tactics of getting a dish perfect to impress your mother-in-law. Sometimes it is nice to take a backseat and just enjoy the food. Perfect or imperfect, as long as it is made with love and dedication, it’s going to get some taste buds satisfied. I give you some of television’s most feel-good, comforting and humorous food shows that are a sure shot to crack you with joy up after a long stressful day.
Man vs. Food (TLC)
Ever seen a boxer in a boxing ring beating the hell out of a chicken leg piece? Well, you will definitely get a warm welcome with this animated visual at the start of the program. It's hilarious!
Enter Adam Richman, the kind of person you would love to feed fat. With no training in food, this self learnt and passionate foodie has taken the world by storm with his rendezvous with junk food.
His adorably cute looks and friendly nature draws you in to a terribly unhealthy diet. Man vs. Food is not a watch for the faint hearted or should I say clogged-hearted. If you are the type of a person on a strict diet plan and exercise regime, trust me this show might make you wanna stray.
Richman travels across America to explore a variety of cultures and junk food, along with taking on a food challenge. Some of them involving extremely spicy foods (such as habanero pepper sauce laden meatballs) and large quantities of food (such as a burger with a girth of a car-tire).
It’s a delight watching Richman stuff his face with mouthwatering, heart-attack-giving ingredients which mostly consists of flour, meat, cheese, sugar and a variety of sauces. You have to give it to the thrill-seeking young man who would have had a waist-line as a size of a buffalo by now but he is still rocking it due to his religious twice a day treadmill routine.
After every food challenge, there is a mock "press conference" where the people who cheered him through the challenge ask him questions as he sits behind the conference table like an accomplished athlete or a sour loser.
Watch out for a pretty woman who is almost always besides him during a challenge, wiping his sweat off and cheering him on. I guess that the secret to Richmen’s battle with America’s most greasy and intimidating food.
Nigella Feasts (TLC)
She almost seduces you with her flawless skin, voluptuous figure, deep dark eyes and her rich British accent. Nigella Lawson provides her viewers with such elegance, warmth and comfort that she makes you leave whatever you are doing and lures you in.
Nigella works from home and does her grocery shopping from the nearby markets and lets the camera follow her. Mostly dressed in cardigans and vintage clothes she eludes charm at the same time giving a homely feel to her easy recipes, tips and fuss-free dishes. In spite of not being a trained chef she gets her inspiration from her royal family background and believes food is meant for celebration and bonding with family and friends.
Her intimate and amazingly simple approach to cooking sets her apart from other meticulous and rigid chefs and food critics. One can feel the love as she whips up a delight, whether it is the easy-to-make French Toast Donut or The Breakfast Bruschetta. It almost looks as if she is flirting with food during the presentation of recipes; she tries, tastes, and kneads everything she can get her hands on.
At the end of the show, Nigella is seen sneaking in her kitchen, relishing on leftovers from the fridge with such passion it make you want to do the same, giving a message loud and clear to all the waist conscious women around the world that you can be curvy and sexy and the same time.
Highway on My Plate (NDTV Goodtimes)
Two tall, dark, handsome and terribly hungry men with ponytails wandering around on random highways of India struggling to hitchhike a ride to get them to a destination that will fill the empty void in their stomach. That’s HOMP for you!
On the hunt for exotic delicacies, they merge with alien cultures to get a feel of food. Find them at dingy restaurants and ‘dhabas’ and you won’t be surprised. Seeing them don orange "loongis" in Bangalore and ‘pagadis’ in Patiyala was a laughing riot.
Rocky is a hardcore non-vegetarian whereas Mayur is the exact opposite (who mostly sticks to ‘paneer’ as Rocky takes full advantage of tempting him with meaty dishes). They have been to the pockets of India and pulled out some exotic as well as affordable dishes for the viewers to visit in future.
Almost always hungry, it is amusing to watch Rocky and Mayur, two huge men playfully dancing around making no sweat about cracking up on their own mistakes and lame jokes. They tactfully explain about the background every dish even though their mouth is salivating to dig in.
Rocky and Mayur form a great pair and their friendship eludes the humorous story-line of the show. At the end of a relishing session, they rate the place on the basis of taste, ambiance, service and value for money out of ten with the help of a Report Card. However childish this may sound, it makes it easier for us to judge.
In the end, watch out for the “food quote”. It is ridiculously silly but never low on pun and entertainment.