By Iron Chef Leftovers
Back in my younger days when I still had my Iron Chef Training Wheels, there was no Food Network, no internet and cooking shows were primarily limited to PBS and starred such greats as Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet), Julia Child, Justin Wilson (or as he called himself, Justiiin Wil-son, my first exposure to Cajun cooking) and Martin Yan (one of the funniest and smartest people I have had the pleasure of meeting). There was one exception – a 90 second segment that appeared on the local news every day called Mr. Food hosted by a man named Art Ginsburg. Mr. Food was a big geek and ended every one of his segments with the line “Ooh! It’s so good!”
As much as I loved the PBS shows, as a kid, Mr. Food was much more approachable – everything was relatively simple and easy to produce and you could send an SASE to the station to get the recipe (I did that a number of times) that came with really well thought out instructions on how to make the dish. I remember making several of them, some turning out well, some not so much.
I hadn’t thought about Mr. Food for years until a few days ago when I saw this posted. It appears that Art Ginsburg passed away on November 19th at the age of 81 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. That made me realize he probably had more of an impact on my early cooking interest than anyone outside of my family. In reading the story, one thing stuck out that I had no idea about:
he published 52 Mr. Food-related cookbooks, selling more than 8 million copies
These days, I don’t imagine that I would get anything out of those cook books, but I wouldn’t mind leafing through them just for nostalgic value.
Rest in peace, Chef, and thank you from both my 39 year old Iron Chef self and my 10 year old just learning to cook self – Iron Chef Leftovers might not have existed if it weren’t for you.
If you have never seen his segments, here is a more recent one to give you an idea of what they were like (and the guy looks the same as he did in the early 1980’s)