I grew up in an age when televisions had antennas, UHF channels, no remotes and having “cable” meant instead of maybe 10 channels you had 25-30. That seemed like a lot at the time and yet, like today, there never seemed to be anything good on. The most interesting and fun shows to watch were always on the local PBS affiliate, KCTS Channel 9. Here I watched a whispery white man with an afro paint amazing pictures, a man change clothes and travel to a land of make believe and two chefs; a man with a thick French accent and a giant of a woman who always seemed to me like she was a little drunk; cook, eat and laugh. You couldn’t make this stuff up. This was real. This is what I watched. This is what helped shape my young mind and now 30+ years later I’m still watching them.
Bob Ross – From the first episode I ever saw I was hooked. Nearly every episode, I was convinced he was going to ruin the painting, when he’d say “let’s get crazy”, by adding a giant tree, or the like, into the foreground. It never happened though. Every painting was amazingly perfect and I loved them all. I would very much like to own a Bob Ross original someday. Autograph is from a signed copy of “The Joy Of Painting II”.
Fred Rogers – I guess I should call him “Mister Rogers”, as that would be the neighborly thing to do. I’ve wanted a traffic light in my room/apartment/house ever since seeing the one in his show. I loved the trolley and the Land Of Make Believe, but I loved the little scale models of the Land Of Make Believe that he’d setup on the kitchen table even more. One of the episodes I vividly remember was where Fred went to the set of “The Incredible Hulk” and talked to Lou Ferrigno while in full Hulk makeup. It blew my 6 year old mind. Autograph is from a promotional 8×10 photo.
Jacques Pépin – If I could eat food that Jacques Pépin prepared for me, my life would be complete. We both love broccoli, so it would have to be something featuring my favorite cruciferous veggie. I enjoy his enthusiasm for the stem and how tender it can be if you just show it a little love. Which is much like cooking in itself; use care and show love to end up with amazing food. Jacques’ accent is the perfect accoutrement to his ability. I could watch and listen to him all the time and usually do whenever I have a lazy day off. Autograph is from a signed copy of “Julia & Jacques: Cooking At Home”, signed by both.
Julia Child – How many of us don’t cook/bake/prepare without having a little fun? Julia always seemed to me like she was enjoying herself and had maybe drank a glass of wine or two beforehand. Like Jacques Pépin her enthusiasm and cheerfulness is contagious. Truly a culinary icon. “…the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!”. Also, she did some amazing work for the Office Of Strategic Services during World War II. Look it up! Autograph is from a signed copy of “Julia & Jacques: Cooking At Home”, signed by both.