Emeril’s Table Halloween Specials
by Julie Hughes
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Emeril Lagasse pretty much launched The Food Network and was certainly one of the forerunners of celebrity chef television entertainment as we know it today. The man was so easily recognizable that he did ads for toothpaste using his very own catchphrase. He has had many TV shows and Emeril’s Table on The Hallmark Channel strikes a balance between his big audience show Emeril Live and the standard cooking show format of Essence of Emeril.
“Halloween Treats for Kids” has very basic recipes that kids will certainly eat, but nothing truly ground-breaking in the recipes department. It does have something that is always worth a watch for children and the young-at-heart: Elmo! It’s always great to see a muppet doing what muppets do best: making people laugh, helping people understand and generally spreading joy. Elmo is joined by a handful of adorable kids. Perhaps my favorite thing about this show was that nobody reigned the kids in. The kids were kids; they did things that kids do like make up songs, tell jokes and interject with any tidbit of information they think worth sharing (“I love sour cream!”). Too often children on TV are some sort of adult-child hybrid with more witty comebacks in one episode than I’ve had in my lifetime. Having an audience, especially Elmo, helps Emeril out tremednously. Sometimes he gets too into the cooking that he forgets that the viewers at home are not in the kitchen with him, let alone in his body, understanding and observing everything he is doing and thinking. Elmo would ask questions whenever he felt kids wouldn’t understand something; Elmo is very savvy. He also counted eggs being cracked and talked about colors with the kids. I don’t know that kids would actually enjoy watching the show aside from all the Elmo parts and seeing the other kids on the show; the rest is all pretty straight-forward cooking show content.
“Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids” was a little more up my alley with more enticing recipes (I actually “Mmm”-ed out loud) and more practical guests in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, the kids were adorable and wonderful, but the adults functioned more on my level. When Emeril did that thing again when he would get too far inside his own head, the adult panel on this show would ask the practical questions that needed to be asked. For example, he said to add three tablespoons of mustard for a recipe. A guest asked what kind of mustard and Emeril replied “dijon.” Any person making the recipe at home knows there’s a difference between the taste of yellow mustard and dijon mustard. Of course all the recipes are posted online, so maybe I’m being too picky here, but small details like that make a big difference in even imagining how something will taste. On Emeril Live, Emeril would say he wished the viewers at home had “smell-o-vision” and I have to agree with him. Some of the recipes on this episode looked absolutely mouth-watering.
In conclusion, I’d say if you’re a real foodie, definitely check out “Halloween Isn’t Just for Kids” if only for the recipes. If you have kids that are at an age where helping in the kitchen is becoming a curiosity, watch “Halloween Treats for Kids” and try making some of the recipes together; they’re really easy and include stuff that kids like to do like adding sprinkles and using a cookie cutter. If you don’t fall into either category, this one probably isn’t for you.
Julie Hughes considers television her teacher, mother, and secret lover. She has a BA in Media Arts from Butler University and lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her wonderful husband and beloved basset hound.
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