This post is for those like myself who watch cooking shows to the point where they might need to seek help.
NHK ETV has a weekly cooking show inspired by Hansel and Gretel. Y’know, the story where two children nearly escape being cooked and eaten by a witch? In a completely sensical remix of the tale, Gretel no Kamado (Gretel’s Stove) is a show where the host–a 15th generation descendent of Hansel named “Hansel”–makes food requested by his sister Gretel with the aide of a talking stove. Gretel may or may not exist as you never see her.
The show is worth watching for the intro credits alone. I love everything about it…
Gretel no Kamado showcases a different type of sweet treat each episode. In typical NHK fashion, it is also educational, so you get to learn a bit about the history behind certain foods.
Japanese shows get a lot of flack for their intense set designs, but I personally quite love the little touches found in shows like this one. And it turns out I’m not the only one! Check out this page containing carefully selected screenshots to study the interior design of the show. Food Network could learn a thing or two.
Anyway, the talking stove helps Hansel out with the recipes. Some of the recipes can be pretty technical and time-consuming (this episode includes a recipe that takes 4 days to make), but let’s be honest, I wasn’t about to attempt any of this.
The banter keeps the show’s tone on the lighter side – the stove can get pretty bossy, while Hansel proves to be a bit of a space cadet.
Going back to the educational theme of the show, Gretel no Kamado occasionally goes outside Japan to explore how different cultures perceive the episode’s featured dessert.
In short, you get to learn much more than you’d ever expect from a cooking show where a grown man in a cardigan takes orders from a stove.
For those outside Japan, you’re in luck! You can watch several of the episodes on YouTube. Just search for “グレーテルのかまど” and you’ll find a lot of full-length 25-minute episodes.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also try your hand at making the desserts featured on the show – the official website has a staggering log of all the recipes.