The Way To A Teen's Heart ...

... is definitely still through his stomach.

During holiday visits, our sons devour their grandmothers' cooking, whether it be chicken curry (my mother's) or turkey and cranberry sauce (my mother-in-law's). But lately, I've been noticing that the boys' interest extends beyond the product to the process -- they hover around watching spices being ground (by my mother) or gravy being stirred on the stove (by my husband's mother). They chat, tease their grandmothers, argue over ingredients, chop, and sample, and both kitchens steam with congenial, intergenerational company.

Apparently, my kids aren't alone -- their entire generation is into the old-fashioned preparation of hearty meals. According to an article in Businessweek magazine, I Want My Food Network, more and more young people are tuning into culinary shows:
Young girls seem to be cooking more than the previous generation did. Trendspotters say the organic craze, as well as all the talk about an obesity epidemic, is prompting many youngsters to take responsibility for eating better. "They're making decisions in grocery stores," says Laura Caraccioli-Davis, who runs the entertainment marketing division at Starcom, a Chicago media-buying firm. "There's a lot of talk about health and wellness among kids." College guys, meanwhile, scan cooking shows to pick up tips to impress dates. "Any time a girl sees guys cooking something delicious," says Kates, "it definitely helps out."
But the popularity of the Food Network among young adults doesn't stem only from health concerns -- it's also about the women hosting the show:
How to account for the younger generation's abiding interest in all things culinary? Putting engaging hosts on the screen is a major part of it.
As I watched my sons banter with their grandmothers, I can see them reveling in the cooking, the eventual consumption of delectable dishes, and the company. Bottom line, in my opinion: a celebrity host on the little screen, no matter how engaging (or scantily-clad), can't compete with the actual presence of a delighted grandmother hosting you in her kitchen.


~Mark said...

I LOVE Food Network! ('Course, I'm 36.) I just saw a teaser somewhere that asked if Food Network was the new MTV due to it's youth appeal.

Must've been connected to what you're talking about. I've had a beef with them since canceling my beloved original "Iron Chef", but with bringing back "Nigella Bites" I may forgive them. :)

Mitali Perkins said...

You must be a kid at heart, Mark.