This is the question The Wall Street Journal is attempting to answer today: What is it that makes food and television go so well together? In a piece that focuses largely on the U.K.'s glut of food-related programming, it becomes clear that networks love these shows because they're cheap to produce; chefs love these shows because they're great advertising for the chefs'
egos restaurants; and viewers love these shows because ... well, why do viewers love these shows?
The executive producer of the U.K. version of MasterChef, which sounds as though it's infinitely more popular than the American spinoff, says it's because viewers could relate to the contestants, "ordinary people" who "went on to be exceptional chefs and then do something different with their lives." We're of the opinion that the food-porn aspect plays a big part, too.
More interesting is this: "[W]ith all this attention and excitement about cooking shows, the puzzling thing is that it doesn't seem to have translated into higher quality standards for food consumption as a whole," according to the story. We actually don't think it's that puzzling, since food television tends to focus almost exclusively on unhealthy food — so much so that we wondered a few weeks ago if Food Network was at least partly responsible for the rise of gout in this country.