A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in Recipe Rehab, dishes are remade to have lower fat and calories. The chefs stress lower-fat ingredients that are flavorful and delicious, which sends a powerfully healthy message that many kids should hear. In addition, watching together may convince kids and parents to try out some of the tricks they see -- maybe even together in the kitchen. There is very little to concern parents, save for the gentlest smack-talking imaginable, as chefs are competing to best renovate one recipe. The game show/competition aspect may interest younger kids who would be bored by a more straightforward cooking show. Alcohol may feature as an ingredient in some dishes.
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What's the story?
Every family has its tried-and-true favorite recipes, handed down from Grandma. The problem? Most of them are better adapted to the days when you had to pump water and chop wood and could work off the calories. On RECIPE REHAB, chefs Laura Vitale and Mareya Ibrahim take on competitor chefs who each try making over a family's favorite recipe, reducing the fat and calories and demonstrating how they did it to the audience. At the end of the show, the families try cooking the chef's recipes for themselves and taste both dishes. One is crowned the winner, the winning chef jumps around, and happy eaters rejoice.
Is it any good?
Even experienced cooks may gather new tricks by watching Ibrahim, Vitale, and company do their thing in the kitchen. Cornstarch as an ingredient in chicken breading to dry out the skin and give it a fried texture? Cool idea! A traditional mac and cheese made with butternut squash and goat cheese? Who would have thunk it?
All the gee-whizz-ery may draw in kids who ordinarily wouldn't be interested in a cooking show and may encourage an interest in healthy cooking, an interest many parents would prefer kids have. This is a good show for whole-family watching, with nothing offensive or alarming, just yummy-looking food and good-natured competition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which kinds of shows feature people making things or doing things: decorating shows, cooking shows, fashion-design shows. Why is it interesting to watch? Why would people rather watch others make things than make things themselves? Or, does watching inspire you to give it a try?
Do you think the people trying the made-over recipes will really stop making their old favorites? Are they pretending to like the food they try, or do they really like it? How can you tell?
Does watching someone eat something on TV make you more likely to try it? Why, or why not? Do you think your parents hope this is true?