Skip to main content

TV Chef Pioneers- Take 1 (Jeff Smith aka "The Frugal Gourmet"

Jeff Smith (1939-2004) began airing his tv cooking show "The Frugal Gourmet" in 1988. While not the earliest cooking show I watched, it made a huge impression on me. He did series of shows on different topics, and there was usually an accompanying cookbook.

I remember episodes with Elmo (who hasn't done a kids cooking segment with Elmo? By now he knows enough about cooking to have his own cooking show). And I also remember episodes about different cultures and foods. Mr. Smith was always very informative about the history and cultures that produced the ingredients. I probably learned as much about geography and history as I did about cooking. I don't remember a single recipe from the show, but I remember the lessons.

My mom never had much to say about this show. She probably didn't watch it. By this time I was in college and not around as much.

I found this video on youtube, and I included it because it just so happens that he is on David Letterman promoting the very cookbook I have on my shelf ("The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook").



Unfortunately, The Frugal Gourmet's career came to an abrupt end in the early 90's "when two of his male assistant chefs brought charges of sexual harassment against him." (quote from Wikipedia). The cases never went to court because they were settled outside of it. At the time it was happening, I knew none of this. I just knew that the show suddenly disappeared after almost 10 years. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know he had died until I looked him up on Wikipedia to write this post.

I will leave it up to the individual to decide if damnation of his lifestyle overrides appreciation of his talent. As for me, I think he was way ahead of his culinary time, and the information he gave is worthwhile, even if he had other personal flaws. I enjoyed the book immensely and will be cooking several recipes from it this week! Which means that The Frugal Gourmet will also be this week's featured cookbook.

Stay tuned....

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Carrot Cake!!!!!!

I made my very first ever from scratch homemade cake at 7,500 feet above sea level today. I have made many homemade cakes before, but that was back home in Savannah, which is practically 2 feet below sea level.

After many dismal failures (including box mixes) I have finally made a cake from scratch that turned out decent. No- better than decent. I think this is the best cake I've ever made. No joke.

It all started when my fried Emmy posted on her blog about receiving as a gift from her hubby, a copy of "The Joy of Cooking." By the way, you should go read her blog. She is nauseatingly multi-talented. She cooks and knits beautifully, as well as a bunch of other stuff I learn about every freakin' time I read her blog. So go over to her blog right now.

Anyhoo...she read the high altitude instructions and cranked out a beautiful red velvet cake that made me drool. After reading that, I decided it was time to stop being a wuss about baking at high altitude and try a…

The Best Pizza Dough for Mimi

This picture does not include a picture of my pizza dough.  But it was taken at my favorite pizza place in the world- Vinnie Van Go-Go's in Savannah, GA.

I have toiled in vain to make a homemade crust that is in any way similar to Vinnie's.

I'm not going to say I've done it, because I haven't.  But what I can say is I think this version is the closest I'll ever get.

For 10 years I have played around with basic pizza dough recipes, trying to find one that yields a thin, crispy crust, with bubbly edges.

I think there are two things that make this possible... very high heat (most home ovens can't get hot enough) and 00 Italian flour (it makes such a soft, pliable dough).  To manage the heat problem, I usually cook my pizzas on the grill, and let it heat to at least 600 degrees.  Hopefully one day my husband will build the wood fired pizza oven of my dreams.  And to manage the flour issue, I order my flour from Amazon.

Here's the basic recipe and process:

Cucumber Pico de Gallo

Normally, when I make pico de gallo, I use tomato, red onion, and jalapeño.  This week, the garden is spewing forth dozens of cucumbers, so I'm throwing those in as well.
There really isn't a recipe for pico... you just throw whatever you want in there.  I'll list what I used, but I also won't give amounts.  If you don't groove on onion, use less.  If you don't like cucumbers, don't use them.  Do whatever makes you happy!
Cucumber Pico de Gallo
6 lemon cucumbers, diced (I don't seed mine) 6 roma tomatoes, diced (I squish out the jelly stuff so the mixture doesn't get too soupy) 1 small red onion, minced 1 small jalapeño, minced Fresh lime juice Red wine vinegar Olive oil Salt
Mix everything up and let it sit at least 30 minutes before you attack it.  If you have the willpower... I never do!