If you missed something you were hoping to see on the Food Network, or you're desperate to see old clips from one of Julia Child's shows, there is a virtual feast of online cooking videos available for your streaming pleasure. You don't even need to download. Keep your computer near your kitchen and be prepared to work wonders of the literal kind.
Au Courant Online Cooking Video
Looking for some fresh cooking tips? You're guaranteed to find something tempting on The Food Network. If you're looking for something specific, you can do a search, but the videos that will come up for immediate consumption will be seasonally specific. So that in summer, there are a cornucopia of videos on grilling, summer salads, outdoor fare for parties and the like. The videos run to about five minutes and are optimized for Internet Explorer 6 and above on Windows operating systems. They support Windows Media 9 and above and Flash Player 7 and above and provide links to download upgrades, should you have viewing troubles. The videos are small, but easy to watch and follow, and of course you can pause and make notes. Likewise, there is a link to the recipe below the video, making this a handy way to learn and get ideas.
Prime Online Cooking Video
When looking for useful cooking shows online, you may as well start with the classics. Cooking is like painting; if you master the style of the Old Masters, you can use it as a springboard to then develop your own cutting edge style. When it come to cooking classics, you must start with Julia Child. Famous from the time her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was published in 1961, audiences were primed to eat up her television show, The French Chef, when it debuted on public television in 1963. It ran for ten years and there were numerous other cooking shows that starred or featured her through the 80s. Our Lady of the Ladle, as she was dubbed, was a national phenomenon, even famously parodied by Dan Aykroyd in a Saturday Night Live sketch. She taught the nation to not only appreciate food that was appreciably different from the sort of simple, bland fare that graced most American dinner tables in the early 60s, but to be unafraid of kitchen adventures. Sometimes a recipe will go wrong, but more often than not, if you have quality ingredients, patience and determination, palates will be pleased.
This attitude began a food revolution whose influence carries over to contemporary television and online cooking experts. But what still makes Julia Child special is her accessibility and earthiness. Unfortunately, you can't see whole episodes of her shows, but if you go to Julia Child, you'll find clips, as well as clips from 65 other master chefs, all of whom were influenced by Mrs. Child.
You can also look for Julia Child clips on YouTube, but most of these are parodies or interviews. If you really want to learn from this master, you'll have to invest in the DVDs.
The Cornucopia Continues
One of the best recipe Web sites is Epicurious, and it features a few nice online cooking videos from famous chefs such as Jacques Torres, Thomas Keller, Charles Phan, Shea Gallante, Alice Waters and Jasper White. Epicurious also offers a wonderful selection of how-to videos, which are excellent for learning basic techniques. With sections on fish, meat, pasta, fruit, sauces, baking, pastry and entertaining, there's virtually no cooking question left unanswered.
While the Food Network, Epicurious and PBS come with built-in quality assurance, there are plenty of other cooking videos streaming out there. A number of them are online cooking classes for which you have to pay. If you want to stick to free videos, try sites like Cuisine, which has compiled videos from a variety of sources. You can even submit one of your own if you have a recipe you think deserves wider consumption.
Obviously, there are many sites that need to be approached with a grain of salt, but there is plenty to learn from out there, so surf up, and bon appetit.