Americans and people around the world have watched cooking shows since they first aired in the 1950’s. Since then, the genre has evolved to capture a broader range of viewership, and today, shows about cooking and baking are some of the most popular on TV.

In the last few years, an avalanche of cooking and baking shows have flooded TV and streaming channels. There are dozens of titles on Netflix alone, and one would be hard pressed to watch every series available.

In 2010, 8 in 10 Americans watched a cooking show of some kind. In the years since then, the number of shows has only grown. In 2016, more people spent time watching cooking shows than actually preparing their food.

There has always been a culture surrounding food, but in today’s world, food culture is evolving, and the way people are learning how to cook is changing. Thanks to social media and the thousands of food blogs on the internet, there is no end to the amount of food culture that can be consumed and digested by hungry viewers.

Cooking shows offer a mix of several genres of popular television, while entertainingly educating the viewer. They can act as a cooking class in the comfort of home. Having a recipe explained step by step aloud and visually following along makes it easier to understand and follow the process.

Additionally, those who watch cooking shows get to learn about new cuisines from around the world. Cooking shows have helped popularize ethnic foods in America, sparking an interest in other cultures worldwide.

Cooking and baking shows can be funny, relaxing, dramatic, or anything in between. Whether the viewers are learning the basics of cooking or are pro chefs, the appeal of cooking shows continues to broaden, attracting new viewers.

One thing that many cooking shows do is instill a sense of delight in watching a dish come together. They can be inspiring for viewers who want to cook for themselves. The curiosity of wondering if one can complete a recipe can and the confidence to begin cooking in the first place help drive viewers off the couch and into the kitchen.

A study about attitudes towards cooking showed that the majority of tweets about baking in 2009 were negative, but by 2016, that number decreased by 4%. This change in attitude can be attributed to shows that break down the cooking process into doable steps.

Even shows about kitchen disasters can benefit viewers. Maybe it’s funny to watch someone’s blunder, or relief to know you’re not the one having to clean up the mess. But cooking shows that highlight mistakes can also have a positive effect on viewers, by proving that even experienced chefs make mistakes.

Besides instilling a sense of confidence and inspiring, cooking shows also inform viewers about how to correctly cook, eat right, and cook the same thing in a myriad of different ways.