Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bake Decorate Celebrate??

Watching PBS Create! is a hobby of mine(that is if you can ever call any form of watching TV, a hobby!) I love the cooking shows, makes my mouth water all the time and makes me hungry even after I've just had my lunch. I love to watch Daisy cook. Even though some of her dishes may not be stuff that I would eat because of cultural differences, it always intrigues me to watch her cook with all that energy and vitality. I have tried some of her dishes and they taste real good. Looking at her, no one can even guess that she is the mother of 2 kids and one of them is already in college!! I mean seriously!! I remember reading in a recent survey that Puerto Ricans have the highest life expectancy. I absolutely believe it when I see Daisy cook. The Puerto Rican cuisine plays a major role in their long life. So take a hint everyone!

Other cooking shows I love are Lidia's Family Table, Simply Ming and Everyday Food. Simply Ming is by far my favorite because being an Indian I can relate more to Asian food and actually try out some of the dishes. For simple cooking its Everyday food all the way. This is one show where Martha Stewart has bet/invested right. Another show that has become quite a favorite is Jacques Pepin. He is an interesting man with some useful tips and ideas.

Of course I travel the world with the travel shows and enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful countries. I LOVE Bob Ross' Painting. I just love that show. I know the man is long dead and these shows are old tapings but hey, I am sure glad that they are still telecasting it.
Does this post sound like a marketing pitch for PBS Create? Well it just might be, you never know :))

Anyway the point of my post today was to talk about a show called Bake Decorate Celebrate on PBS. So as is my usual routine especially on quiet weekends, when I have a splitting headache, to watch all the different PBS channels, I was flipping the channels when I caught two ladies making some Wilton style decorations on Create. I was soooooooo excited. I didn't move. I just sat in one place and watched the show. When the program ended I looked to see what was next and imagine my surprise when I realized that they were running only this show on this particular day from morning to night!!!

Mr. PT came to the sad realization that I was pretty much going to hog the television that day and thanks to the commercial-free format of PBS, he didn't have a hope of getting his f(oot)inger in on the remote. Ha Ha ! I begged him to make this huge selfless sacrifice and I thank God that he obliged. Mr. PT is a generous man.

So I made myself comfortable on the couch, got myself a few refreshments and painkillers on standby, trusting that Mr. PT would provide the rest if I happened to run out! I watched and I watched for 3.30 hours and taped another hour:))

I watched - two women, being a little tense with each other. One of them didn't know anything about decorating and the other obviously is not a seasoned TV host. The tensions did run high, but I just loved to see them actually demonstrate the stuff that I had personally learned at Wilton cake courses.

Then I went to the website and saw all the experienced cake decoraters bashing the women on their forum!! Most of the women who do cake decorating for a living take it very seriously and boy can you see it reflected in their work!! But to their credit I think the women have at least made an effort to try to teach us something on the show and I am sure(hope) they will improve as time goes by, ESPECIALLY the cake decorating part really does need to improve.

These shows seemed geared to give an introduction to decorating, but my advice to viewers would be to learn the decorating part from somewhere else because the deco.'s are not done properly on the show. The other thing was the fact that they did not have very many new ideas. almost all of the cakes they did were already in the Wilton course books and their other publications. Maybe I am expecting too much??

I found a few things amusing- the ladies usually sneaked up a look while they are decorating to probably check the timing or something and they are not aware that the other cameras are still focussed on them. There is definitely a lack of communication between the cameramen and the women. The women need to be able to identify which camera is focussed on them in order to maintain their decorum and the cameramen need to know when to focus on which part of the cake, to get a shot of the method being taught. So that is possibly an area for improvement.

But overall I have to give the ladies the benefit of the doubt. I don't know how my body language will be if someone was filming me for a local show which had the possibilities of becoming a national show.When we decorate we do so in the privacy of our homes and have the opportunity to redo stuff and we certainly do not have someone standing over our shoulders telling us we still needed to shoot 4 more shows!! Even though most of us might love to hear that said to us, I don't think its an easy thing to do. So good luck to the ladies and I hope they try harder and do a better job.

So after all this talk of cakes here is my first cake from Wilton Course 1. I made a character cake and I was really impressed with myself, when I got done. I did not in the least expect it to turnout the way it did. For beginners, well defined character cakes are the easiest to do, in my opinion. Look for character pans that do not need anything too fancy and you will be surprised at how nice the cake will look just with a star tip and a few color changes!!

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