His article is about how TV cooking shows have become a big hit in the United States, but that this doesn’t seem to have lead to more cooking, instead Americans are cooking less than ever.
He also contrasts Julia Child’s original cooking show from the 1960’s with today’s much more frenetic shows that emphasize cooking as a spectator sport.
To the question of why people enjoy cooking shows so much, he answered that they provided a “vicarious experience of cooking”, but without the effort and mess.
I really enjoyed his article and interview, here is a quote that, that I think, very much hits the target:
“The historical drift of cooking programs — from a genuine interest in producing food yourself to the spectacle of merely consuming it — surely owes a lot to the decline of cooking in our culture, but it also has something to do with the gravitational field that eventually overtakes anything in television’s orbit. It’s no accident that Julia Child appeared on public television — or educational television, as it used to be called. On a commercial network, a program that actually inspired viewers to get off the couch and spend an hour cooking a meal would be a commercial disaster, for it would mean they were turning off the television to do something else. The ads on the Food Network, at least in prime time, strongly suggest its viewers do no such thing: the food-related ads hardly ever hawk kitchen appliances or ingredients (unless you count A.1. steak sauce) but rather push the usual supermarket cart of edible foodlike substances, including Manwich sloppy joe in a can, Special K protein shakes and Ore-Ida frozen French fries, along with fast-casual eateries like Olive Garden and Red Lobster.”