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I heart the Food Network

January 14, 2011

Some people watch golf. Others do yoga. Some soak in a hot bubble bath. Others enjoy a robust glass of wine. But my favorite thing to do to relax? (In the absence of a beach vacation…)

Watch the Food Network.

I’ve developed several theories about why this niche channel transports me to a state of calm and comfort. It could be the elevator music that plays softly behind each show. The rhythmic simmers, sizzles and stirs of the kitchen lulling me to happy land. But what I’ve concluded is that, yes, there is a certain ambience that accompanies my favorite cooking shows – but more importantly, there is a nostalgia that keeps me coming back for more.

It’s all about the family kitchen. A gathering place. A mecca for holidays, celebrations and intimate meals. As the heartbeat of the home, the kitchen is a place to do more than cook – but to connect. And so, the Food Network gives me that warm-fuzzy family feeling. It’s as if the TV chefs were family members, inviting me into their homes, sharing a few tips – and sending me home with a full belly and a new recipe in hand.

And in the family spirit, here are my eclectic Food TV relatives:

Mama Paula Deen

Her food is decadent and she always thinks you’re too skinny. She loves you by feeding you – with as much butter possible – and is always ready to greet you with a big hug and a pet name. “Sugar, you’re wastin’ away to nuthin! Go relax on my big, fancy, Georgian front porch and I’ll cook you up sumthin’ extra fattening.”

Yes, Mama Paula is comfort food at it’s finest.

Papa Pat Neely

Dad knows best – and when your Dad is Pat Neely, there’s going to be a lot of parties, music and Tennessee BBQ in your life. Plus, Daddy Pat owns his own BBQ joint, so the smell of smoked meat will always remind you of home.

Paula and Pat do make a cute couple, don’t they?

Auntie Ina Garten

Your fun, pretentious (but in a good way) Aunt Ina is always good for girl talk. She’ll invite you over to her house in the Hamptons, engage you in enlightened conversations about life and love – and will always have some delicious, heavy appetizers on hand. Now how bad can that be?

Oh, and best of all, she’ll always tell you how fabulous you look.

Sister Giada De Laurentiis

She’ll take you surfing. Do your make up. Teach you a little Italian. Make you dessert – and give the BEST maid of honor speech at your wedding.

Brother Bobby Flay

He beat up all your bad boyfriends when you were young and now he’s best buds with your husband. Plus, he did a Throwdown with blogging queen, Pioneer Woman.

It really would make for interesting Thanksgivings, eh? And now, I must go grocery shopping. Because in the real world, I’m the mama and I have to figure out what’s for dinner.

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