10 Cooking Shows That Changed the Way We Eat

'The French Chef'
A 1960s-era photo of Julia Child taping an episode of her TV show in her home kitchen. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Boeuf bourguignon, French onion soup gratinée, duck à l'orange, coq au vin, mousse au chocolat: The recipes sound daunting, but the woman who brought them into viewers' homes was down to earth. Julia Child began teaching America to prepare French cuisine without fear in 1963 on WGBH in Boston. "The French Chef," syndicated to almost 100 stations, taped lived and aired without changes. Whatever Julia did, viewers saw. The series showed a real working kitchen with, sometimes, real mistakes. (That potato pancake that got flipped onto the stovetop? Just place it right back in the pan. Only the viewers will know.)

Dishes were prepared in real time; there were no magical transformations from counter to stove to serving dish. Child shared her enthusiasm for cooking, making difficult dishes seem possible through practice, practice, practice. In 1966, she won an Emmy for "The French Chef," though the show's many viewers had already validated her accomplishments. Still, some detractors were horrified by the apparently relaxed sanitation in the TV kitchen. Julia's reaction: "I can't stand those over-sanitary people" [source: Bio -- Julia Child].