Food Detectives

Common Sense Media says

Fun science show solves culinary mysteries.

Age(i)

2
3
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show conducts fun, educational experiments to debunk cooking myths, explain food reactions, and solve common culinary mysteries.

Positive role models

Occasionally Allen fools test subjects by administering placebos and/or purposely not telling them about specific parts of experiments that could be mildly uncomfortable. Overall, he's an affable and informed host.

Violence & scariness

The sleuthing team is often subjected to some spinning, running, biking, and/or other physical activity that causes them some temporary discomfort. But no one experiences pain.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Popular Science magazine serves as the show's science and technology authority; issues of the magazine are often visible. The team occasionally travels to different locations -- like Coney Island -- to conduct experiments.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Discussions about alcohol are offered in an educational context, focusing on how its chemical properties react with food and the human body.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fun, informative series features experiments designed to answer questions about food, cooking, and related issues. Although the team of food sleuths sometimes experience temporary discomfort (like dizziness and nausea while being spun around by an amusement park ride after eating), they never suffer any pain. While the experiments featured are safe and simple, it might be a good idea to remind young scientists that not all experiments should be conducted at home -- or without adult supervision.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

FOOD DETECTIVES combines scientific experimentation with humor to find answers to some of the greatest culinary questions in today's popular culture. Host Ted Allen (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) leads a team of food techs on a series of simple, safe experiments to test things like finding the best way to cut an onion without crying and investigating the anti-nausea properties of ginger. With the help of scientists, doctors, and technical experts from Popular Science magazine, Allen offers easy-to-follow scientific explanations of the experiments' results.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The show's unique combination of food science, pop culture, and experimentation creates an amusing formula that offers entertaining but teachable moments for both kids and adults. Granted, watching food techs slice, dice, eat, run, spin, and even sleep in the name of science may not sound very interesting, but Allen's quick wit adds flavor to what could be considered bland technical conversations.

Kids and adults who are interested in science and/or cooking will certainly find this show appealing. Trivia buffs will also be engaged. But while the experiments featured on the show are generally harmless, some of them do cause some mild discomfort. As a result, it might be a good idea to remind kids that not all experiments can or should be conducted at home and/or without adult supervision.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how television can promote science while still being fun to watch. Are TV shows like this one an effective way of teaching about food and science? What are some of the food and/or cooking myths you've heard of? Families can also discuss the ethics of scientific experimentation. What kinds of experiments use human beings as test subjects? Is that always OK?

TV details

Cast:Ted Allen
Network:Food Network
Genre:Educational
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

This review of Food Detectives was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bysmirkey1 August 27, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
I looked up shows that Common Sense recommends for kids 6-8, and this was one of them. We watched this morning and LOVED it!! The kids and I learned, were interested and entertained. Loved how they showed what happens when you microwave "things that you shouldn't". Can't wait to watch more episodes!
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 7 and 13 year old Written bychicklette April 23, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Practical science for anybody who eats!

Finally a Science platform show that everyone can relate to! Despite how much you consider yourself to be a "Knowledgeable Foodie" or not...this program has something for everyone! Food Detectives helps establish an appreciation for not only the foods we eat everyday but also for how amazing our bodies are in processing and utilizing food. The show addresses everything from food safety and nutrition to food physics and well....the "end" result of food! Host Ted Allen is great in his clear explanations and demonstrations, making it a show for the whole family to enjoy!
Kid, 11 years old April 15, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Fabulous show!

This show is soooooooo good. I like cooking and it has fun tips and experiments like, if you crush up cereial(sp) that has lots of iron in it, you can pick it up with a magnet!Its a great show.

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