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Ketchum – The Essence of Cooking Shows

Ketchum, Cheri. “The Essence of Cooking Shows: How the Food Network Constructs Consumer Fantasies .” Journal of Communication Inquiry 29, no. 217 (2005): 217-234.


Keywords: Food Network, Consumer Culture, Television


Cheri Ketchum is a professor of Communication at the University of California at San Diego.  She is currently a research analyst for the Culinary Union.  Ketchum received a PhD in Communications from UCSD in 2004 and her dissertation was entitled “Lost in the Public Imagination: How News and Entertainment Media Frame Food in Contemporary Consumer Culture”.  This article discusses the nonfiction media of the food and how it affects consumers.  She says that the message distributed by the Food Network is based on consumption and neglects some serious issues regarding food.  She watched countless hours of Food Network programming and attempted to analyze it.  She found that the Food Network has such an appeal to the viewer during the instructional programs because the viewer is addressed directly; the host uses the word “you”.  This was important because it showed the Food Network as a medium of teaching and it showed how people’s daily lives were affected.  Ketchum also discusses how the commercials complemented the subject matter of the programming, further displaying the extent to which advertisements affect our decisions in what to purchase.  This piece is significant because it shows how the Food Network—it’s programming and the advertisements associated with it—affect the daily lives of viewers.

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