Kitchen casting – A research project
We no longer possess a TV at home because it took up too much space (in fact I must admit we got rid of it because it was an eyesore) and we don’t have time to watch it. Now, if I want to watch a particular program, I use my laptop and avoid all the ads. From time to time I watch the odd episode a la carte and have recently rediscovered a habit from a few years ago when I would watch TV in the evenings because there was a program I loved on. You must know it; the program is called Karakia. It’s a mix between an ethnographic cooking course and fly-on-the-wall documentary. A camera crew with a microphone follow a foreign individual living in Catalonia around as they prepare a full meal for family and guests, who are often from the same country as the protagonist. Every episode is structured in the same way: firstly, we accompany the person as they shop for the ingredients required to prepare the meal, then we observe the preparation of the meal itself (using subtitles to conserve the original names of dishes and ingredients), and this is interwoven with tales and traditions from the country in question and then finally, the program culminates with the actual meal itself, dishes on the table and guests enjoying the fare.
The Karakia format has been copied by subsequent programs such as Nous Catalans, or RTVE’s Babel, (Catalan and Spanish versions), but these new editions have failed to conserve the quality of the original program. An indicator of the program’s excellence is that it has been on air for over ten years now without hardly any change to the format from the original.