The ethics of cooking shows - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-15-2015, 05:57 AM
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The ethics of cooking shows

Personally I've always been a big fan of cooking shows like Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off.

But since I've gone Vegan I've come to realise that these programs condone animal suffering; they use a lot of animal products and there is never a word about their resources except kitchen buzzwords as ''authentic, regional, fresh produce''. Not a word about the way animals are treated for all the meat on the show. Not to mention the waste of half eaten dishes that are discarded with the meat still on them.

As a vegan; this makes me both sad and angry. Sad for the animals; angry at the waste of life. I'm starting to wonder if watching such programs can be considered ethical.

Any other perspectives?

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#2 Old 11-15-2015, 06:51 AM
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I'm in America, and the last time I watched Masterchef was because they had a vegetarian participating. She had to compete against another and I think it was an animal head they gave her to use.
No these shows are not ethical!

I have found Italian cooking shows on PBS, and the french guy-Jacques Pepin, have good respect for vegetarian cooking while not being their focus

There is a vegan show that had been on PBS called Vegan Mashup. Look it up online, I'd forgotten about it! Oh, if you get Jazzy Vegetarian -Vegan actually- I like her very much. It's. Very. Jazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy!
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#3 Old 11-16-2015, 04:49 PM
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They were going to roast a piglet on one Christmas show....how christmassy.....I switched over.

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#4 Old 11-17-2015, 05:44 AM
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Ha! I wondered if it was just me worrying about the waste ... I do wonder what they do with all the leftover cake (Great British Bakeoff).

I do like the GBB but I would like it even more if there was some nod to what happens with all that food. I'd really love it if they had a vegan baking challenge as one of the challenges. This year they did do a 'baking without' challenge but it was without gluten or without eggs ... I've made a few (not successful) forays into vegan baking and it would be so fascinating to see it taken apart a bit. Explained and showcased. I think people would be generally interested and intrigued ...
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#5 Old 11-17-2015, 11:12 AM
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Jazzy Vegetarian is great. I watched an episode earlier today (Mediterranean Flavors). I find myself singing the theme song from time to time. Laura Theodore has a few short videos on her youtube channel but I can't find her episodes online, so I guess you have to be in the US to watch her show.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a few old episodes of the PPK show on her youtube channel - they're ~30 minutes long (watching episode 1 now!). Her more recent videos with Breville are ~5 minutes long, so you don't get as involved watching them, but the recipes look/sound good.

I haven't seen Vegan Mashup available anywhere for free - you either have to rent or buy the episodes/seasons.

I used to love competition style cooking shows (especially Chopped - the whole mystery ingredients thing is fun), but it's difficult/impossible to enjoy watching them now. Sometimes I will start watching Chopped when nothing else is on out of habit, but I end up changing the channel/shutting the TV off because I can't deal with watching the contestants cook parts of sentient beings and act like it's no big deal.

On shows with required ingredients (like the mystery basket on Chopped) that are likely to be animal products/parts I don't know how/why veg*n contestants compete in those shows. Even if you're raising awareness about veganism you're still using animal products/parts in recipes and you're participating in a show that treats animals like commodities.

I don't know a lot about how TV shows make money but I'm assuming having more viewers is good for them financially? So by watching them you are enabling them to make more money (through advertisers paying them I guess?). I really need to stop watching Chopped... I want to get rid of cable and just stick a little antenna on the wall to get a few channels (including PBS so I can still watch Jazzy Vegetarian!)
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#6 Old 11-17-2015, 01:19 PM
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I've never really watched cooking shows (maybe saw one once or twice in high school at a friends or something). Hell, I haven't even owned a TV in going on 9 years, so I never stumbled across one channel surfing and there'd be no reason for me to watch one online. I do like the vegan/raw vegans who do their own small time 'shows' on youtube though! I's rather watch something of value/I'll learn something from even if it's a 'home made' production than watch a show about dismembering and cooking sentient beings because it's a 'popular' show any day.
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#7 Old 11-17-2015, 01:53 PM
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A lot of mainstream cooking shows are not only condoning animal suffering, but wealthy first world exploitation on all levels. I watched a documentary about the decline of Western civilization, and apparently the "worship" of chefs is one of the signs of the end of an empire, because it puts pretense and gluttony over waste and exploitation, and it's happened repeatedly in other civilizations during other time periods.

Just think about shows where the guy is eating huge portions of unsustainable food, or traveling to third world countries to recommend tourists try "exotic" animal products with questionable sources.

An old high school friend of mine noticed on Facebook that even Giada did something shocking one day, by putting chicken broth in a "vegetarian" dish.

There are so many talented vegan chefs out there though changing the way people eat and what is available. They are true pioneers.
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#8 Old 11-17-2015, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Blobbenstein View Post
They were going to roast a piglet on one Christmas show....how christmassy.....I switched over.
Nothing says Christ's peace like one of the world's most intelligent mammals roasting on an open fire.
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#9 Old 11-17-2015, 02:10 PM
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Jazzy Vegetarian is great. I watched an episode earlier today (Mediterranean Flavors). I find myself singing the theme song from time to time. Laura Theodore has a few short videos on her youtube channel but I can't find her episodes online, so I guess you have to be in the US to watch her show.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a few old episodes of the PPK show on her youtube channel - they're ~30 minutes long (watching episode 1 now!). Her more recent videos with Breville are ~5 minutes long, so you don't get as involved watching them, but the recipes look/sound good.

I haven't seen Vegan Mashup available anywhere for free - you either have to rent or buy the episodes/seasons.

I used to love competition style cooking shows (especially Chopped - the whole mystery ingredients thing is fun), but it's difficult/impossible to enjoy watching them now. Sometimes I will start watching Chopped when nothing else is on out of habit, but I end up changing the channel/shutting the TV off because I can't deal with watching the contestants cook parts of sentient beings and act like it's no big deal.

On shows with required ingredients (like the mystery basket on Chopped) that are likely to be animal products/parts I don't know how/why veg*n contestants compete in those shows. Even if you're raising awareness about veganism you're still using animal products/parts in recipes and you're participating in a show that treats animals like commodities.

I don't know a lot about how TV shows make money but I'm assuming having more viewers is good for them financially? So by watching them you are enabling them to make more money (through advertisers paying them I guess?). I really need to stop watching Chopped... I want to get rid of cable and just stick a little antenna on the wall to get a few channels (including PBS so I can still watch Jazzy Vegetarian!)

Sometimes chefs lose their ethics in cooking school. I came across one blog where a chef said she switched to omni from vegetarian during cooking school. I mean why is that what happened to her when some chefs just become vegetarian or vegan chefs.
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#10 Old 11-17-2015, 09:24 PM
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I never cared for the competition shows, or the ones glorifying junk food. Mostly I was interested in shows that provided insight into the process of cooking. But the constant butchering of animals was disturbing and I lost interest trying to wade through those segments to get to ones where they were talking about something relevant to vegan cooking.

I was getting a fix from Youtube for awhile. I created a queue with hours of vegan cooking channels that looked interesting, like Sexy Vegan, Spork Foods, Tasha Edwards, Colleen Patrick Goudreau, etc. Then I linked the account to my Roku so I could watch everything on the big screen tv. It was just like the old days of watching the food shows on cable, but much better because it was all vegan and things in which I was interested. And when you watch the commercials, some of that ad money makes it's way back to the vegans who created the videos, so that's good too.

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#11 Old 11-17-2015, 09:47 PM
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Do the viewers of these shows actually cook? I think it's just food porn, plus a fascination with knives and fire (heh heh, cool).
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#12 Old 11-18-2015, 01:09 AM
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to be entertained by corpses being cooked is depravity

goes to show the complete lack of ethics of popular culture
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#13 Old 11-18-2015, 02:14 AM
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I've never really watched cooking shows (maybe saw one once or twice in high school at a friends or something). Hell, I haven't even owned a TV in going on 9 years, so I never stumbled across one channel surfing and there'd be no reason for me to watch one online. I do like the vegan/raw vegans who do their own small time 'shows' on youtube though! I's rather watch something of value/I'll learn something from even if it's a 'home made' production than watch a show about dismembering and cooking sentient beings because it's a 'popular' show any day.
Same here, rarely ever watch tv (unless we are travelling and staying in a hotel which is about once a year lol). We have one because my husband watches it. I only wish I had time to watch a cooking show. I watch the evening news right after dinner when I get home from a long day of work and exercise (though I could live without the sensationalism).

Once I watched a dvd that came with a raw vegan cookbook I bought. I found it incredibly useful because the author showed how to open a coconut and how to properly chop and peel fruits and vegetables. I think this is so absolutely important for people to learn and it makes cooking or preparing food so much more fun and easy. I was utterly amazed at how she was able to scoop all the flesh out of a Thai coconut in one go with a spoon, and how she tapped on the coconut to break the top open. I should find the time to look up some vegan cooking shows online.

As far as other cooking shows, I can only imagine. Years ago, before I went vegan or even ever heard of it, I went to the movie theater and watched Julie and Julie, about Julia Child. Even though I was a meat eater, I was horrified by some of the scenes, especially the lobster being boiled alive. I had a Julia Child cookbook, and when I think back, she had no care about the dead carcass she was carving or preparing, beyond its "quality".

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#14 Old 11-18-2015, 05:19 AM
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Do the viewers of these shows actually cook? I think it's just food porn, plus a fascination with knives and fire (heh heh, cool).
I think they cook...'Hungry Man' tv dinners in the microwave while they watch the TV chefs make complex dishes. I have never actually known someone personally who both liked popular cooking shows and actually cooked from scratch meals on any kind of regular basis All the people (omnis) I know who like to cook don't watch cooking shows at all to my knowledge.
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#15 Old 11-18-2015, 03:04 PM
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I do have to say that I learned more about cooking vegetables from omni chefs than anything I've seen on vegan sites!
In fact, when I first chose vegan I got a Julia Child cookbook on vegetables. I don't remember too much now, but at the time I felt I learned a lot about prep and cooking methods that I didn't know.
Jacques Pepin, some guy with a bald head who does healthy cooking, Ming? Lidias Italy, and another Italian cooking show
Oh, and a Lebanese cooking show with Tabboleh something.
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#16 Old 11-19-2015, 01:06 AM
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Wow; I was gone for a few days and this thread exploded! Please give me some time to reply folks

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#17 Old 11-19-2015, 04:20 AM
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Interesting - I have the opposite experience. The only people i know who want to watch / enjoy cooking shows are the people who make everything from scratch. I love a good cooking show - I even force the other half to watch them with me (and he's the one with the ready meals). But being super picky I've always made my food from scratch (even as an omni I never did microwave ready meals - yuck).

Why would you watch them if you don't cook? Then half the enjoyment of judging them for doing it wrong will disappear! :-) Then again cooking is a competitive sport in my family - and no meal is complete with out a full critique of each dish.
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#18 Old 11-19-2015, 09:34 AM
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Back when I had a TV, I enjoyed watching Alton Brown; he does a good job of explaining the science behind cooking and baking. I couldn't stand to watch if meat was being prepared, though - I can't get past the use of an animal as an ingredient.
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#19 Old 11-19-2015, 09:43 AM
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They were going to roast a piglet on one Christmas show....how christmassy.....I switched over.
I always find it kind of hilarious that Christians celebrate a Jewish person's birthday by eating the most non-kosher of non-kosher things they could possibly eat.
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#20 Old 11-19-2015, 08:24 PM
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I've always found cooking shows boring. As a vegan, I find them saddening, because there really is nothing worse than normalizing meat and other unhealthy foods. It's horrifying to know that all of these food shows are just sponsored by mega food corporations, and that is why cooking shows are on tv.
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#21 Old 11-21-2015, 11:08 PM
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Interesting - I have the opposite experience. The only people i know who want to watch / enjoy cooking shows are the people who make everything from scratch. I love a good cooking show - I even force the other half to watch them with me (and he's the one with the ready meals). But being super picky I've always made my food from scratch (even as an omni I never did microwave ready meals - yuck).

Why would you watch them if you don't cook? Then half the enjoyment of judging them for doing it wrong will disappear! :-) Then again cooking is a competitive sport in my family - and no meal is complete with out a full critique of each dish.
Yes same here; all the people I know that watch cooking shows are people who enjoy cooking and make a sport out of being creative in the kitchen.

Still; I think the amount of food wasted in such shows is absolutely unethical; even as an omni that bothered me. By now I just can't watch it without getting angry.

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#22 Old 11-21-2015, 11:12 PM
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I do have to say that I learned more about cooking vegetables from omni chefs than anything I've seen on vegan sites!
In fact, when I first chose vegan I got a Julia Child cookbook on vegetables. I don't remember too much now, but at the time I felt I learned a lot about prep and cooking methods that I didn't know.
Jacques Pepin, some guy with a bald head who does healthy cooking, Ming? Lidias Italy, and another Italian cooking show
Oh, and a Lebanese cooking show with Tabboleh something.
Just a shame that Julia smothers everything in butter and cream though

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#23 Old 11-21-2015, 11:13 PM
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to be entertained by corpses being cooked is depravity

goes to show the complete lack of ethics of popular culture
Agreed!

Eating meat fosters aggression; I'm convinced of that.
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#24 Old 12-15-2015, 08:22 AM
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Personally I've always been a big fan of cooking shows like Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off.

But since I've gone Vegan I've come to realise that these programs condone animal suffering; they use a lot of animal products and there is never a word about their resources except kitchen buzzwords as ''authentic, regional, fresh produce''. Not a word about the way animals are treated for all the meat on the show. Not to mention the waste of half eaten dishes that are discarded with the meat still on them.

As a vegan; this makes me both sad and angry. Sad for the animals; angry at the waste of life. I'm starting to wonder if watching such programs can be considered ethical.

Any other perspectives?
I take omni recipes & veganize them all the time. That's the way to do it.
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#25 Old 12-15-2015, 12:22 PM
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I really hate watching cooking shows unless it is Jazzy Vegetarian. I'm not really sure about the competition shows but my mom either watches the ridiculous Indian serials or Food Network. She has food network on constantly. I can't stand half the shows on food network. The Pioneer Woman makes me cringe so much, I don't why but she comes across as very fake and her food looks awful.
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