10 Cooking Shows That Changed the Way We Eat

'The Frugal Gourmet'
Jeff Smith and his show "The Frugal Gourmet" were public-television fixtures in the 1980s. Screenshot/WTTW/Chicago

Exquisite food doesn't have to cost and arm and a leg. That was the assumption of Jeff Smith, better known as "The Frugal Gourmet." The series began in 1983, and aired on PBS for 14 years, where the show spread throughout the public television world. In 1990, "The Frugal Gourmet" switched from public to private production. An animated cook, Smith was also not afraid to make a mistake on camera and move on. Even though the show was taped, its chef wanted to convey the excitement of a live broadcast. At the time, "The Frugal Gourmet" was the top-rated cooking show in the U.S., and Smith's cookbooks became bestsellers.

The series ended on a negative note in 1997 after seven men filed suits against Smith, claiming he had sexually abused them years before. Smith was never indicted and maintained his innocence; the lawsuits were settled out of court, and Smith returned to the Seattle area, where he died in 2004 [source: Today].