Food Network cooks up an audience at Staples

Food Network cooks up an audience at Staples

It’s the most frequently asked question during an ice breaker conversation. The answer’s range from ice cream to sushi to pancakes and every meal in between. What is your favorite food?

It’s asked because everyone can answer it, and if they can’t it’s because there are too many answers. But not everyone takes their love to the next level. For me, one of my favorite things is finding new restaurants to try new foods. I like making my own food, instagramming my food and  even watching food on TV. Hence, why I praise the channel dedicated to food and food only — channel 29: the Food Network.

For me, I walk into the gym, pick the treadmill or other cardio machine I will use that day and start my workout playlist. While a fast-paced, loud, pump-up song may be blaring through my headphones, another source of entertainment awaits to help pass the time: the Food Network.  The shows serve as my distraction and my motivation. But it’s not what I’m doing while watching that really matters, it’s the fact that I never get sick of my Food Network favorites.

For me, part of why I like the Food Network is the vast range of ages the programs cater to. There can be 30 minutes just about cupcakes, a dessert of everyone’s childhood. And there can be an hour of children themselves battling it out in the kitchen, each show just as competitive and delectable as the one before it.

When I watch “Kids Cook Off” I have to admit that I feel somewhat unaccomplished as the 9-and-10-year olds perfect their signature dishes of pork chops and shrimp and grits. The fact that even kids can make intricate meals that impress Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri astonishes me. But the kids bring their own flavor of competition to the show and make it easy to want them to succeed.

On “Cupcake Wars,” four bakers, each equipped with their choice of a sidekick from home battle it out by baking the best cupcakes they can. Each episode is themed for a specific event, whether that be a toy company party, a celebrity appearance or the Country Music Awards. And each round gets more competitive as one team gets the boot. I always find it so intriguing how the teams can create an edible cupcake out of something like barbecue foods or traditional Hawaiian dishes. The hamburger-and-fries cupcake (with the real ingredients) was something that I never could decide if I wanted to pass on or take a bite of.

The show utilizes surprise mixes of ingredients, just like on “Chopped” when contestants open the picnic basket. The bakers and chefs alike have to mesh into an edible, and even delectable, dish. I never quite understood how combinations like Canadian bacon, roasted piquillo peppers, tomatillos and instant noodle soup worked well in an appetizer, but I always admired how the chefs pull it off, especially under the pressure of a ticking clock and on-looking famous foodie judges.

These Food Network shows rank top in my favorites, just like those green vegetables even worked their way up my ladder; I watch them on Netflix almost as often as I do on the monitor on the treadmill. They make for the perfect entertainment in between intense “Scandal” episodes, and they never fail to make me hungry.