Call for Papers: Edited Collection on the Food Network Channel

Emily Newman's picture
Call for Papers
May 15, 2019 to June 11, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Targeted Fields: Food Studies; Film, Television, and Media Studies; Women and Gender Studies; Queer Studies; Sociology/Anthropology; Popular Culture



            Contributions are sought for an interdisciplinary collection of essays on the Food Network television channels to be published by McFarland & Co. We are interested in a sustained exploration of the television channel and brand as a cultural phenomenon. When the Television Food Network was founded in 1993, its programming was conceived as educational: teach people how to cook well via recorded and call-in shows, with side trips into the economics of food and healthy living. Today, however, the network is primarily known for bringing splashy celebrity chefs to the national consciousness. How did the Food Network (and its sister channel, the Cooking Channel) come to be known for consistently providing comforting programming that offers an escape from reality, where the storyline is as important as the food that is being created, rather than an educational network? As the world feels more politically unstable than ever before, tuning into the Food Network is a safe bet: no matter what time of day, the viewer can turn in and find a recognizable chef preparing a delicious looking meal, along with a comforting narrative. Further, its popularity creates a safe topic for discussion: people can choose and discuss their favorite chef, the latest recipe, cool new restaurants, and more. At the same time, “foodie” culture has reached the mainstream, and more people see food as a hobby, rather than a necessity, giving rise to shows that are not instructional but rather lively and engaging. Finally, the Food Network has not escaped the trend of competitive reality shows, creating cooking contests as well as the meta series The Next Food Network Star, which pulls back the curtain to reveal how talented chefs are molded to be network celebrities. This book will explore these threads and more as it looks at the rise and development of the Food Network.

            There have been no significant academic book-length study on the Food Network and its subsidiaries, and with the current interest in food studies and food culture among academics, we believe there is no better time to examine this successful television brand. Cooking shows are no longer limited to the Food Network, but the channel prepared the popular and formulaic programming which has become recognizable formats. 




Possible Topics:

  • History of the channel 
  • Relationship between the Food Network/Cooking Channel/online programming and recipes 
  • Creation of popular chefs that lead to lucrative careers (restaurants, cookbooks, spin-off television shows, etc.)
  • Comparison of early food television (ie, PBS) and Food Network programming
  • Spotlights on Food Network personalities/celebrities 
  • Success of long running series 
  • The fanaticism of the Food Network 
  • Holidays and special programming on the Food Network
  • The Food Network and race
  • The Food Network and feminism
  • Nostalgia, familiarity, and domesticity on the Food Network
  • “Comfort” food and television in a time of political turmoil
  • The trickle-down success of the Food Network across major broadcasting channels
  • Creating a brand through The Next Food Network Star
  • Game shows and the Food Network (Chopped/The Next Food Network StarGuy’s Grocery Games, etc.)
  • Food Network specific publications / magazines (Rachel Ray Everyday, Food Network Magazine)
  • Comparison of Food Network and HGTV (also owned by Scripps)
  • Food Network in the era of YouTube: What’s next for cooking instruction on TV?
  • Food Network and social media



Submissions due: June 10, 2019

All submissions must represent previously unpublished work. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and CV via email to


Selected authors will be notified by June 20, 2019 and will contribute a full-length essay of approximately 6000-8000 words by December 15, 2019. All chapters will be reviewed by the editors before submission to the publisher, and potentially subject to further review. 



Contact Info: 

Editors: Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell