Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way

Watching cooking shows on TV is one of my favorite pastimes. It's entertainment, sure, but I also learn a lot. My all-time favorite television chef is Jacques Pepin. I have many of his cookbooks and watch his television series religiously (let's just say I don't think it's any coincidence that his programs often run on Sundays).

The latest 26 part series which debuted today is Jacques Pepin: Fast Food My Way. Right off the bat the title has to catch your attention; after all, Slow Food is all the rage right now. And fast food is practically a dirty word. But in truth we live in a fast-paced world. Who doesn't want to be able to quickly prepare a satisfying meal at home? No one I know.

Some of the things I appreciate most about Jacques Pepin are in evidence in this new show. For one thing, his mastery of technique is incredible and watching him I am able to improve my own abilities and pick up all sorts of tips. Another element is his way of combining simple and modest ingredients to great effect. Reading his autobiography The Apprentice I gained an understanding of how his early childhood influenced his cooking style and tastes, especially in regard to frugality. Finally I am always pleased to see his creativity in the kitchen. Not bound by strict French rules, he adapts and incorporates so many elements from different cuisines while at the same time using ingredients that are widely available.

The series web site is a great place to get a taste of this new show, see some recipes, find out about the companion book and access the national broadcast schedule. I have only seen the first episode so far, but I can already tell this show is a real tasty dish.