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Morning Edition aired an engaging segment today on the history of cooking shows. Renee Montagne interviewed author Kathleen Collins whose book, Watching What We Eat, explores the evolution of cooking programs, and how they follow American culture.

I got an ironic chuckle out of Collins’ research into the first nationally televised cooking show, I Love to Eat on NBC, hosted by James Beard. It seems that in 1946, “nationally televised” didn’t mean squat, since most folks didn’t have tellys at home.

So who watched Beard making mother sauces? Manly men who went to bars to watch the fights:

“Men used to gather in these bars on Friday nights to watch the boxing matches and they were the first audience for television cooking shows,” Collins tells Montagne.