explorations of mindful fatherhood

Requiem for Food Network & Travel Channel


PrintIn order to cut costs, my family recently decided to save $60 a month by cancelling cable.  It’s supposed to be shut off in a few days, and I keep turning on the TV just to see if we still get reception.  It’s like trying to spend every waking minute with your high school girlfriend before she flies off to college.  I’ll miss you (*whimper*), cable.

In this age of technology, though, we won’t be missing much.  Between hulu, Netflix, and amazon streamed through the blu-ray, we should be able to watch all of our shows, with a few notable exceptions: AMC, Food Network, and Travel Channel.  Don’t get me started on AMC.  Only three more episodes of The Walking Dead this season, and I’m about to lose my feed?!?!  Rick vs. the Governor?  Woodbury vs. the prison?  I can’t miss that!  Thank god for $2.99 episodes on amazon.

But the real topic of this post is the Food Network and Travel Channel.  Of all the cable networks, these get the most air time on our tube.  Sometimes selected by my wife and me, but mostly requested by our son.  He LOVES the Food Network.  Some of his favorite shows are Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (is that show always on?), Chopped, and Iron Chef America.  Then there’s the Travel Channel, with shows like Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Man v. Food with Adam Richman.  These food-related shows are some of my son’s favorites.  At the beginning of the first grade, the kids filled out a survey (without their names) and hung it up in the halls for open house night.  It was a test to see if parents could identify their children.  We found our son’s right away because under “Favorite TV Show” he put “Food Network”.  Not a show, but the entire cable station.

He loves seeing foods made and eaten.  He loves the creepy stuff on Bizarre Foods, and arguing about what each of us in the family would and wouldn’t eat.  He loves what they can make on Chopped, and making guesses about how he would combine the foods.  He loves rooting for Adam Richman, and seeing what that man can stuff into his mouth, even if we are concerned about his blood pressure and risk for diabetes.

I didn’t have a love or an awe for food growing up.  My parents weren’t the best cooks (if they read this blog, believe me, they’d agree), so dinner was always a mystery.  It was some sort of food with some sort of meat.  Usually something that wasn’t that good, but we had to eat it.  We weren’t very well-off growing up, so we almost never went out to restaurants.  Therefore, I had a very limited palate and a very limited understanding of food.  At one point, when I was in my teens, my mom designated a day of the week to each of the four kids, and we were in charge of making dinner for the family.  It was an utter disaster.  I’ve never seen a family eat so much frozen pizza and mac ‘n cheese.  It was sad because we were put in charge of meal planning, but never taught how to cook.  We weren’t taught the wonders of food and the skills of preparation.

travel-channelSo, I offer up this post in honor of the Food Network and Travel Channel, as they have helped round out my son’s love of food.  Of course, most of the credit for his love of food goes to my wife, the expert chef of the house.  But these channels and their shows have opened up the world of food culture to him.  Through them, he can see the various ways that food is prepared, enjoyed, and revered in other parts of the county or other parts of the world.  He sees that food can be fun.  It can be an experiment.  And that the art of cooking is full of successes and failures.  That chefs constantly try to make something better.

I’m glad that his experiences with food have expanded with the help of these networks, and we’ll certainly miss them when the cable goes out.  Until then, Guy Fieri will grace our screen.

Author: CJ Nigh

I am an East Coast writer with a Midwestern soul. Undead Dad is a blog about mindful fatherhood in the deadening age of hyper-technology and over-work. I also write science fiction for young adults.

31 thoughts on “Requiem for Food Network & Travel Channel

  1. We cut cable completely last May and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. We get movies and shows streamed through our PS3 via Netflix and Hulu. You won’t miss the clutter television introduced and got you used to. The thing’s off for most of the day now, music rings through the house, and commercials do not exist in my world any longer. 🙂

    • Yes, I think it’s for the best, but old habits die hard. Our tv is usually off most of the day, but after our son’s bed time, we tend to veg-out. I hope we get used to the new, uncluttered lifestyle!

  2. I never had cable growing up, and my dad still has not gotten it today. Of course back then, I felt like the uncool kid w/o MTV, back when it still use to care about music anyway. And as I got older, I realized it wasn’t that big of a deal. I was actually thankful because, it was really an unnecessary luxury for a kid/teen. My sister loves the food network. She’s a self proclaimed foodie and has her handful of favorite chefs. Does your wife have her own cooking blog?

    • I know what you mean, Crispy. I was very uncool as a kid without MTV or Nickelodeon (when they were both cool). Thanks for asking about my wife. In fact, there was talk about her starting a blog. Maybe this will steer her a little closer to that goal. Will definitely share with her!

  3. Hi CJ,

    I’ve been a loyal reader since the hilarious and quite relatable shoveling post. Just wanted to say that reading your posts are always a delight! As a new father myself I feel like I’m getting a sneak preview at what’s to come, as I feel our families have many similarities.

    Just thought I would offer a helping hand inf you really want to see some of your favorite shows from Food Network, etc. There are other ways to get/stream the episodes. I cut cable about 5 years ago and was going through HGTV withdrawal. (I’m a huge sucker for house hunters international) and found all of the episodes I wanted to see online. If you like shoot me back a message and I’ll show you the site that I use.

    Thanks for sharing the awesome stories,


    • Hey Joe, Thanks so much for the comments. I’m truly honored by your accolades! I’m glad that you found the blog. You’re in for quite a ride. I wish I had discovered blogging when my son was an infant, because otherwise I was mostly isolated as a new dad. Blogging is a great way to feel some support.

      Yes, please please please share your secrets! I’d love to hear about the sites you use.

  4. I don’t want to wish anyone dead, but if Guy Fieri simply disappeared, I wouldn’t complain much.

  5. As for the cable cutting, I’d consider it, but as a big sports fan, I don’t think I could manage.

    • I would say I have a love-hate thing going with Guy. I too will miss lots of things that internet-based entertainment can’t offer. This is truly an experiment. We’ll see how long I last. Is it a bad sign that I want to keep the cable remote???

  6. I applaud your decision. I wish I could get my wife to agree to this, but she’s hooked on HGTV. (See http://writerdood.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/hgtv-and-the-divorce-rate-in-america/ for an explanation). It’s something I just have to put up with.

    When I was in college, I canceled cable to force myself to quit watching it. It was getting to be too much of a distraction. I was living in a studio apartment, working full time as a swing-shift security guard and going to school full time during the day. Late at night, I’d come home all burned out and sit my butt in front of the television for mindless entertainment. After I got rid of the television, I’d sit my butt down in front of the computer and work on my homework instead. My grades went up. It was a good move. My daughter spends way too much time watching television, in my opinion. Food Network is one of our favorites too. My son, on the other hand, is a Minecraft addict, and spends way to much time building blocky pixelated worlds.

    • Love it. What a great post. I would have to say the Biggest Loser, America’s Next Top Model, and Revenge are my HGTV. When they pop up on the dvr, I always groan. HGTV has a secret special place in my heart, because every year I enter their dream house give away. We always peek out the window after the sweepstakes, watching for HGTV vans.

  7. Our family is pondering a cable change, as well…I’ll be interested to read how it works for your family!

  8. Thank you for posting about this. I believe most houses in America struggle with getting rid of cable. My house goes back and forth on getting rid of cable. We pay for a ton of channels to get 4 that we watch, Food Network, HGTV, History, and Discovery. We are currently waiting for the promotion we have to run out. We pay $10 more for cable than just internet alone. If anyone has inexpensive internet options that are reliable and fast enough to stream movies off our Roku I’m all ears.

    • We’re doing hulu plus, but you have to pay, and there are still commercials (limited) interspersed, which isn’t great. We’ll see if it works. I resented the costs because, like you, was watching about 5 channels total between FN, TC, Comedy Central, AMC, and network tv.

  9. After 9 years in a cable free home, my husband and I broke down and added cable last year…we went all out, HBO and showtime to boot! Now that our son is 5 months old and we spend less time up in the middle of the night, we will most likely cut it again. Honestly, you won’t miss it! Most television shows are junk, and anything you really can’t live without…like Walking dead you can watch for free on youtube or Hulu.

    I applaud your decision!

    • Thanks MLL. We had the primo channels for a few months about a year ago and got really addicted to True Blood and Dexter. I miss my bloody, crappy fancy cable shows!

  10. Don’t worry, it will be easier than you might think. I got rid of the satellite dish years ago, after finding myself still up at 4 a.m. watching “Laverne and Shirley” reruns. Your posts always make me smile, especially when you write about your son. It sounds like he could produce his own cooking show right in y’all’s kitchen 🙂

    • Yes, when I’m watching Restaurant Impossible or Restaurant Stake-Out late at night, I know I’ve gone a bit too far! I hope we adjust quickly. Sounds like an excellent idea. We’ll set up the camera and stream it live from our kitchen!

  11. My sister and her husband just cut their cable too and he built his own receiver and for shows that aren’t available through the air they rely on amazon as well. They’re saving about $250 a month just doing this, I love the idea of it and we’re currently in cable limbo (in the middle of a move and we haven’t yet added it to the new place).

    I think I’ll wait until after the Rick vs Governor throwdown 🙂

    • Natasha! Someone who understands what I’m saying! The cable company was supposed to turn everything off last week, but it stayed on, so we left it alone until after Sunday night.

      Screw the truce, the war is on, and now I might miss it!?!?! Utter agony.

  12. We stopped getting cable a couple of months ago. There are some things I really miss about it, and the Food Network is at the top of my list.

  13. Ok my parents had a TV when I was really little… When the thing broke they never replaced it because I was doing too many cute things and they were telling me to be quiet and missing all my cute things. Well then along came my brother and we got so much attention and did so many free things… Well, we never had cable but our TV was in the main family area…. It ended up being on all the time. Now we are in a town home and the TV and computer are in the basement and its cold. So we maybe watch an hour a week??? Unless its our movies.
    There are so many fun things in life… I’d rather do them than watch others do them… 🙂 maybe your son now has learned enough to become the next greatest chef!!! 🙂 what’s he serving — well be right over … 🙂

  14. My wife and I cancelled cable a couple years ago. Since then I’ve found some pretty good replacement programming. Netflix has a handful of food shows that help stave the food network cravings. Right now we’re blasting through Quantum Kitchen. I’m not sure if its available in your area but there is an over the air channel called ion that has some HGTVesque shows from time to time.

  15. Oh I wish I could go your way and disconnect the cable connections ( we have 3 separate ones!!) but my husband will never agree to it as he lives for the different sports channels!

  16. Pingback: Out of the House Round-Up: Video Game Addiction, Losing Cable TV & a Very Manly Changing Table | Waiting for Momma

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