Thursday, 7 December 2017

My Favourite Things . . .


These are a few of my favourite things, maybe some of them are yours also.  Lets share!  

I have always been a huge fan of cooking shows on the telly.  (No surprise there I know!)  Today's post is a delicious salivating compilation of my favourites through the years! 


Madame Jehane Benoit

I cut my culinary teeth on Madame Benoit!  Of all the cooks in all the world, in all time, she is my most favourite one of all. Madame Benoit was a household name during my childhood and my early married years. She was born in March of 1904, and she contributed, in my opinion, to our sense of Canadian culture. She stood for family values, proper nutrition, and good agriculture. She delighted in preparing, tasting, and sharing food.

Born and raised in Montreal, she was educated at home and in Paris, eventually opening restaurants and a cooking school in Canada. In 1973, she was made an officer of the Order of Canada. I remember her as a regular guest on CBC-TV’s Take Thirty. At the end of each show, she enjoyed sampling food with such hosts as Paul Soles, Ed Reed, and Adrienne Clarkson. Magazines featured her seasonal recipes, and she was often interviewed on radio. Eventually, she promoted Panasonic microwave ovens, enthusiastically teaching an entire generation how to cook with this appliance. She had over 30 books published, including the Encyclopedia of Canadian Cuisine. I am the proud owner of one of her books (I wish I had more) Madame Benoit Cooks at Home.  It is tattered, worn and much beloved.  She put the "love" in cooking for me!

She had a daughter named Monique!


One of the first classic cooking shows, "The Galloping Gourmet" featured charismatic, ribald cook Graham Kerr doing obscenely rich and decadent recipes.  I loved watching the Galloping Gourmet.  He was fun and entertaining.  He cooked good food that someone from the audiance would get to taste with him at the end of the show. I used to wish I could be in the audiance!  He's still alive and kicking and hopefully cooking, age 83.  I think he lives in London, but I'm not sure.  He put the "fun" in cooking for me.

Julia Child and the French Chef, on PBS.  (Most cooking shows were on PBS back in the day)  I used to love watching Julia also. She was much more than just a bestselling cookbook author and chef. Over the course of her life, she was also a breast cancer survivor, a TV trailblazer, and a government spy.  She put the "cuisine" in cooking  for me.

Sometimes they even got together.  Graham Kerr and Julia Child, Cooking in Concert  

Wok with Yan.  I can remember watching this show diligently back in the late 1970's in Calgary Alberta. He was funny and fun to listen to.    He used to wear a different apron each episode with a pun using the word "Wok" on it. It would be different each time. I learned how to make an apple swan from him! Martin Yan put the "Exotic" in cooking for me.  

Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet. He was the author of several best-selling cookbooks and of course, the host of The Frugal Gourmet, a popular American cooking show which began in Tacoma, Washington, in 1973 and later moved to WTTW-TV in Chicago, where it aired nationally on PBS from 1983 to 1997.  I used to watch him on PBS.  He had a dishy side kick.  I also have one of his Cookbooks, called "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American."  (My oldest son cheekily added an "S" after the "n" in American on the cover.  Ever the comedian.)   The Frugal Gourmet often cooked historical recipes and talking about the backgrounds of them. I think he put the "History" in cooking for me.

I also remember watching a television show on PBS called Gourmet Ireland, starring Chef Paul Rankin and his then wife Jeanne.  I enjoyed their accents and their fresh take on food, and that they were a married couple that cooked together.  This was back in Canada before I moved over here.  Little did I know that I would one day be on a cooking show with Paul Rankin and that he would declare my soup as being delicious.  Life is amazingly intricate sometimes, don't you think?  They put the "International" in cooking for me! 


Martha Stewart.  Of course I learned a lot more than cooking from Martha.  Everything from how to properly make a bed to how to sort your cutlery drawer!  I have always loved everything she has done. Her television shows, her books, her magazine, you name it.  I love that she took it on the chin and went to prison when she had to, even if it might not have been as uncomfortable for her as it is for many others.  IMO her only crime was in getting caught.  So many others have done the same and gotten away with it.  I don't care if she is a pain in the arse to work with or for . . . the lady does it well.  She set the bar for me in how to do everything right. 

The Victorian Kitchen with Ruth Mott.  Ruth Mott was an English domestic servant who became a television cook and personality. Mott spent most of her life working in country houses with her television work not beginning until the age of 70 when her knowledge of a working Victorian kitchen was utilized for this television show.  I watched it on PBS while I was still living in Canada and now have it on DVD.  I find the intricacies involved in cooking in a Victorian Kitchen totally fascinating.  This is the Downton Abby of cookery shows.

Gary Rhodes.  I discovered Gary Rhodes after I moved to the UK.  H Gary Rhodes OBE, is an English restaurateur and television chef, known for his love of British cuisine and the distinctive spiked hair style that he once wore.He is also well known as an ambassador for British cuisine, having achieved what no other chef had previously managed to do . . .  he reintroduced Britain to its rich gastronomic heritage and uncovered a culinary culture to rival that of any other country in the world.  One of the first Christmas Presents I asked Todd for when I moved over here was his book, "Great British Classics."  It remains my bible of British Cuisine to this day.

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  I got turned onto her when I was working for Americans.  I love her style.  I love the little glimpses into her life.  I have had real life experience in working for people that have lives like her, except they were not near as nice, or as nice as she seems to be on the television, and they did not cook for themselves, although they professed to be experts in the field, haha.  I like her recipes and her food.  I find her show compelling viewing, and I love Jeffrey, her husband.  He reminds me of my Todd.  I love that she is always laughing.  She's just fun. 

Nigel Slater. I think he is one of our country's best-loved food writers and I love watching his shows.  He cooks quite simply how I want to eat.  He loves food and it is patently obvious from the get-go.  I have a few series of his on DVD that I binge watch when Todd is not around.

How did a foodie end up with a man who doesn't
like watching food television???????
Its a mystery to me.
It must be

No list of favourite cooking shows would be complete without The Great British Bakeoff!  I came rather late to the GBBO party, only having started watching it with the last three series.  (Mostly because of Todd and his inability to sit and watch cooking shows)  I fell in love and am hook, lined and sinkered!  The competition of it all, the idea of real people competing under pressure to bake, the ideas the contestants come up with, etc.  I love it all.  I am not so bemused with the new cohost/presenters (Couldn't even tell you their names) but the stars of the show are not them anyways, its the bakers.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg!  MasterChef, Ready Steady Cook, You Gotta Eat Here, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, Pioneer Woman, etc.  I love them all.  I could sit and watch Cooking Television for hours.  I am so grateful to all of these cooking talents who have taught me a lot through the years, and to think I owe it all to Madame Benoit! 

Merci Beaucoup Madame Benoit!
Take Thirty (the television show)

A thought to carry with you  . . .  

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

Little girls with dreams
become women with vision.
~Unknown  •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading -  2 Nephi 9:15-30 
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? How does it help you to know that The Lord's words will be fulfilled?  
My thoughts - The world today is so full of uncertainty and shifting ideas and philosophies, there is nothing in the world to hold on to that is constant. I draw absolute peace and relief that God is constant. His love is constant and He keeps His word. I love finding formulas in the scriptures! I can live it and KNOW that, because of Jesus Christ, I can receive it! Today I loved v18. Here the formula or standard is put forth. Who are the righteous? It is those that BELIEVE in Jesus Christ. That speaks pure comfort to my perfectionist heart! I sometimes fall into the trap of trying to save myself, but I really need to just let go and let God. And that shows my faith! This confirms again to me that . . .  it is not what I do, but what I become that shows that I believe in Him. 
Verse 15 'I must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must I be judged according to the holy judgment of God.' I often hear people saying they fear this!! But I find it comforting to know I'll be judged by my Heavenly Father, with my Saviour standing at my side. The two beings whose love is perfect and unconditional. Who are just and merciful. Who know me and who see and know all things. Who aren't out to see me fail and send me away, but want nothing more than for me to live with them eternally and for my joy to be full forever. What greater knowledge could you have than this? 
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 49) - 2 Nephi 9:31-49
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? What does it mean to be spiritually minded?
In The English Kitchen today  . . . Burger Rarebits.  A hot cheesy mess of deliciousness!
Have a great Thursday!  Don't forget along the way of your day  . . . 
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And I do too!


  1. I love to watch the cooking shows on TV too Marie!
    I never heard of some of them though. One of my favorite shows was Jacque Torres. I don't know about the spelling. The French guy that did amazing things with chocolate.
    I never heard of Madame Benoit. I bet she was interesting to watch.
    Big hugs xo

  2. We,ve watched every GBBO we can..I think we will be onto the new team when we finally get it here..funny I just spoke of Jéhane on my blog yesterday..

    I'll never forget the allegations re Jeff Smith..what a shocker..signs of what we are witnessing openly today with svere repercussions..svere enough?

    Matt Lauer was a shocker too..
    Oy Marie..

    So I love may of yours here too:)

    Great great cooking shows ..I love:)

  3. I had to look up Jacques Torres Jan! What a dish, and chocolate too. Yum! Madame Benoit was a Canadian Institution! Love and hugs! xoxo

    I saw this afternoon Monique, when I visited your page. How funny that we were both thinking of Madame Benoit. She and Christmas go together like peas and carrots for me! I know what you mean about all these allegations. It is distressing and very disappointing. You wonder what will be next. I have tried to never believe about the Frugal Gourmet, but where there is smoke there is usually fire. Sadly. Love and hugs! xoxo

  4. Sadly I totally missed out on Madame Benoit. I did watch Graham Kerr and Julia Child in days past and more recently Martha Stewart and the Country Contessa and appreciate them all. It's so nice to be able to turn on the TV and get some new ideas. Of course here on your blog I get a new idea every day and I'm thankful for that too. I like to cook and love feeding others so food is always on my mind it seems.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!