Do Not Make This Recipe at Home
With so many cooking shows on television, producers must develop new concepts to attract and keep an audience.
Public television in the United States broadcasts a variety of cooking shows hosted by professional chefs and cooks. One show combines history with cooking. I watched an episode for the first time and found the history lessons more interesting than the recipes the chef prepared.
The first recipe he made was an appetizer of steak tartare. Steak tartare is a mixture of raw ground or chopped steak, raw eggs, onion and spices. Recently, several cooking shows on PBS used raw eggs to make mayonnaise with no warning about the risks of bacterial infection. And it isn’t uncommon seeing a chef handle raw beef, fish or poultry and then reach for the salt and pepper shaker. Some liberties must be taken filming a cooking show due to time constraints. Unlike cooking at home, people are hired to clean up after a show has completed filming. But this history lesson show was unique.
As the chef prepared the steak tartare, a warning about eating under cooked meat appeared on the screen included in the warning was “do not make this recipe at home”. In the program the chef cut slices of crusty bread, spreads on the steak tartare and eats it exclaiming how great it tastes but we’re not supposed to make steak tartare at home. Even if it was popular in the 18th century or served at his restaurant what was the point making it if you aren’t supposed to make it at home unless you are assured you have uncontaminated beef?
Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of people became sick or some die from food poisoning. In the 18th century, refrigerations was over a hundred years in the future. Granted, many Americas raised their own food or knew someone who did. But even if it was safe eating raw beef and eggs 200 years ago there are too many accounts of people becoming sick or dying from food poisoning from industrialized food processing. Just a few weeks ago organic, frozen, antioxidant berry blend sold by Costco were recalled after people in five states developing hepatitis A from eating the contaminated berries.
Beef is one of the most common sources of food born illness. Raw eggs ranks high also. Ground beef has a notorious history of bacterial contamination. After several well publicized outbreaks of e. coli, all fast food restaurants began thoroughly cooking their hamburger patties. This means you’ll get a well done burger whether you like it or not. Restaurants serving meat, poultry and eggs now print a warning in their menus about the risks of eating under cooked foods.
So why would a chef prepare a recipe of raw beef and eggs on a public television cooking show when viewers are warning to not make the recipe at home? Perhaps it was just meant as a history lesson only.