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review
Darryl R. Scott Average Betty Is Cooking On-Line
June 15, 2008
I don’t have cable anymore, but when I did, I was a “Food Network” junkie. When other lunatics–er, sorry, “fans”---chose to watch The Sopranos, Lost, and Grey’s Anatomy, I was the loyal acolyte who religiously followed the culinary adventures of Sarah Moulton, Emeril, Mario Batali, and Alton Brown.

Not that any of these “how-to” cooking shows made me better in the kitchen, of course. Even if you gave me a GPS and The Joy of Cooking, I’d still get hopelessly lost in the neon-lit, futuristic laboratories these chefs perform their magic in. Ask me to do something in the kitchen, and I’ll either wander gratefully towards the microwave or grab the take-out menus.

But although I can barely tell the difference between a frying pan and a spatula, a good “how-to”cooking show makes me believe that I can make a delicious meal that won’t kill people, and Average Betty is very, very good. It’s also very, very weird. No, Betty sure ain’t “average”.

The host of an online video series that premiered on iTunes in 2006, Betty initially appears to be nothing more than a goofy, free-spirited bohemian who’s always ready for the next all-nighter, the next rock ‘n’ roll concert, and the next round of tequila and Red Bull. You’d be half-right.

Once you get past the bad jokes, and the nausea-inducing, MTV-type camera edits, you’ll realize that Average Betty is a fundamentally-solid cooking program that’s smart, friendly, and as intimidating as a plate of fresh-baked cookies. Don’t expect a joyless chef who can barely hide their contempt for the audience. Betty likes what she’s doing and, more importantly, she likes the people who are watching. Julia Child would be so proud of her.

 Copyright © 2008  F. R. Perro Inc.