In the heat of the summer, you just sometimes want to kick back and watch some television. If, like us, you only have broadcast tv, you sometimes find yourself looking for interesting fare on the “channels between the channels” – those weird channels that have popped up since broadcast tv went to whatever the heck format it is in now. ION life is one of those channels. Despite the annoying and frequent commercials for products only available on tv and attorneys who will help you get money for various medical malpractices, this channel can be fun and instructional.
I have been sampling a couple of their cooking shows the past few weeks. These (and most of the other programming) seems to be Canadian-based, but that’s okay. I like Canada – it seems like a good place to consider retreating to in case He Who Cannot Be Named gets elected president, except in the winter maybe when somewhere in the Caribbean might be preferred.
First up, Chef at Large with Michael Smith. Before I read the description of the show on the ION Life web site, I thought it was called “at large” because this guy seems to be at least seven feet tall. He towers over all of the other people he encounters on the show by at least a foot or two. But, no, it is called “at large” because he goes on the road and features interesting cooking destinations like trains and rafting trips. Considering his size, this makes for some interesting logistics as well as interesting cooking contexts.
Next up, Loving Spoonfuls with David Gale. During each episode, this guy visits a different ethnic grandma in her kitchen and they cook some delightful dish packed with butter, deep fried, or otherwise totally bad for you just as authentic ethnic food usually is. First, they go grocery shopping. Then they start cooking. If the recipe calls for booze, Mr. Gale always needs to sample some of the rum or vodka liberally. Some singing and dancing usually occurs as well. The grandmas seem to love him, although I have to say I think he is slightly creepy. He does manage to sneak in a pretty good oral history interview during the cooking, though, which along with the recipes makes this a folklorist-approved show.
I cannot recommend other shows on this channel that I have not watched yet, but if you get ION Life, check out our neighbors to the north as they cook, kibitz, and pronounce things ending in “-out” as “-oat.”