This is episode number 6 of The Sip and Feast Podcast. 

In this episode, we’re discussing The Food Network and the changes it and other cooking programs have made over the years. 

If you watched The Food Network intently from its beginning you know it took a turn from substance and instruction to pure style and dramatics.

Why did this happen and is it such a bad thing anyway?

Maybe it’s what the audience, deep down, really wants.

Finally, we answer a few listener-submitted questions.

We love your questions.  Please send them to (remove the 11111 for our contact).  There’s no question not worth asking.

If you enjoy our weekly podcast, support us on Patreon and you will get 2 more bonus episodes each month!

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  1. Cathy Bartock says:

    Hi! I just found this podcast and the subject drew me in as I really miss the “old” Food Network. I think a better mix of the old and new would be more to my taste. No offense to the show, but if I turn it on in the evening and see one more DD&D episodes I might literally cry! I figured I’d listen for a few minutes but listened to the entire episode and plan to continue to follow! Also, love your recipes! Very doable for those of us without a great cooking background. Thanks for the great content!!!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Cathy, thanks for the comment and for listening. I’m so happy you enjoy the recipes as well!

  2. Vino Regina says:

    Jim and Tara, you are absolutely correct about food network. I grew up watching Julia Child and Galloping Gourmet with my mom in the early 70s. A great memory is making cherries jubilee and peach Melba just like they did on TV, with my mom’s encouragement and supervision. Then as an adult I would watch Lydia on PBS with my mom at times. Even though my mom was a great Italian food cook, we always learned a different technique or a new dish. I, too, loved food network in the early days – I agree with Tara, the education was entertaining. It encouraged me to step out of my cooking comfort zone. I liked having visual instructions – especially for new techniques. You can read all day about spatchcocking a chicken, but I didn’t have the courage to try it until Bobby Flay showed me how. I rarely watch food network anymore. I do watch you and Lydia regularly now on my iPad. I like watching the whole process of making the dish. I love what you do – don’t listen to those who leave unkind comments. It’s wonderful that you both are able to earn a living doing something creative and fun together. Keep doing what you’re doing… we love it!😄
    Gina (formerly of Long Island, now Santa Rosa County, Fla)

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Regina, thank you for the comment and encouraging words. We really appreciate you watching and following along!

  3. Bob Jordan says:


    I must confess that I occasionally eat Stouffer’s ‘Spaghetti and Meatballs’, or their ‘Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.’ OK, that’s about as lazy as a guy can get. But I’d like you, Tara and your son to taste test frozen spaghetti, frozen eggplant, ziti, etc.

    IMHO, Stouffer’s makes tastier food than a lot of home cooks or mediocre restaurants.

    Bob Jordan
    Your taste tests are highly entertaining.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Bob, thanks for the message. We’ll get around to a frozen pasta (probably lasagna) taste test at some point. Glad to hear you find them entertaining!

  4. Bob Jordan says:


    Spot on evaluation of the trajectory of ‘The Food Network.” I’m a retired TV News Director, Station Manager, General Manager. I worked for Scripps for part of my career and know the inside story of its launch and early success in the space.

    The emergence of YouTube (where the viewer searches for the exact subject matter they want) forced ‘The Food Network’ to change course. Tara’s comment about waiting for ‘The Food Network’ to make the dish she wanted was on the mark.

    The space is crowded and you have carved out a niche. What makes your channel work is your on-air likability, the popularity of Italian-American food, and your interaction with your son.

    I wish you continued success.

    Bob Jordan

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Bob, thanks for the comment and the great information on the Food Network. Really appreciate you taking the time to let us know.

  5. Dave M says:

    Food Network, I think Chris B nailed it. Liked those shows too.
    Did you ever see ESPN when it was trailer someplace?
    Food Network started small then ‘sploded.
    To me the tipping point was Iron Chef America.
    Loved the old Iron Chef. Totally goofy and dead serious at the same time.
    And the goofier Door Knock Dinners. An Iron Chef comes to NYC suburbs, trying to find food in peoples freezers to cook for them.
    Taste by David Rosengarten. Essence of Emeril, he could barely talk.
    Then Emeril Live. I liked that too. Sold/annihilated a lotta All Clad.

    Justin Wilson was from Louisiana, university educated.
    He had a great act, sincere, helpful.
    Galloping Gourmet? I have one one his “bash and chops”.
    Frugal Gourmet? Many good shows, ideas and cookbooks.
    Followed by certain amount of problems…
    Travel Channel in those days had cooking shows,
    and my hero Keith Floyd.
    All available on the interwebs if you look.

    1. Jim says:

      Thanks for the comment, Dave!

  6. Chris B says:

    I used to watch The Food Network back in the day as well, it is how I learned to really cook after college. I loved Emeril Live, Good Eats, Bobby Flay, Giada, The Barefoot Contessa, 30 Minute meals, and so on. And then, like a light switch, things moved to The Iron Chef (US), Chopped, Grocery Games, and more reality shows. It seemed to happen around the same time Survivor, Jersey Shore, and other (Scripted!) reality TV shows started rearing their ugly heads. I no longer watch TFN, as it no longer holds any value for me. I miss the old shows, I miss being informed and instructed. I do enjoy your channel on youtube, it does remind me of the old days, and I also watch Babish, Sam the Cooking guy, Chef John, and J. Kenji Lopez-alt. Keep doing what you are doing, we appreciate it!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Chris, thanks for the comment and really appreciate you listening and watching!