- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007

Food for love

Since spring brings stirrings of love and the first signs of the upcoming nuptial season, it comes as no surprise that cable’s Food Network is devoting the next few days to its “Wedding Week”-themed programming.

The schedule will include six new prime-time specials starting with tonight’s “Fantasy Wedding.”

The hourlong show (debuting at 8) zeroes in on three over-the-top weddings — including one ceremony and reception with seven wedding cakes.

Tomorrow finds five cake designers competing for $10,000 in “Wedding Cake Surprise” (also at 8 p.m.) as they each create a custom-designed masterpiece for a couple they meet the night before the competition. The winning cake not only earns the 10 grand — it will actually be served at the couple’s reception the following night.

Another cake clash is set for Wednesday at 8 p.m. when more than 80 top cake decorators take part in the “National Wedding Cake Championship,” billed by the network as one of the world’s premier wedding cake competitions. A cash prize and bragging rights are at stake.

Thursday night’s “Gotta Get It: Wedding Gifts” (8 p.m.) offers an abundance of ideas on what to buy the newlyweds . The gift suggestions can accommodate any budget — ranging from presents priced at $10 and under to a soda maker that sings and looks like a penguin.

On Friday, celebrated Southern chef Paula Deen stirs up down-home charm with “Paula Deen’s Wedding” (8 p.m.) Recipes include almond sour cream cake, steamship round, crab cakes and shrimp and grits. Yum.

The week culminates with Saturday’s two-hour special, “Food Network Caters Your Hawaiian Wedding,” at 9 p.m. Food Network favorites Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler Florence, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Miss Deen give one winning couple the wedding of a lifetime. (We certainly hope the marriage lasts that long.)

Mormon faith explored

Mormons have always had a peculiar hold on the American imagination, but few know who the Mormons actually are — or who they claim to be.

The mystique is explored in “The Mormons,” a two-part documentary series tonight and tomorrow evening at 9 on WETA-Channel 26 and WMPT-Channel 22.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of America’s fastest-growing religions and, relative to its size, one of the richest. Church membership, now at 12 million and growing (former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is a member) sweeps the globe. But from the moment of its founding in 1830, the church has been controversial. Within a month, it had 40 converts and almost as many enemies. In the early years, Mormons were hated, ridiculed, persecuted and feared. Yet, in the past several decades, the Mormon Church has transformed itself from a fringe sect into a thriving religion that embraces mainstream American values; its members include prominent and powerful politicians, university presidents and corporate leaders.

“American Experience” and “Frontline,” two of PBS’ most acclaimed series, joined forces to explore both the history and the current reality of the Mormon faith. Filmmakers gained unusual access to Mormon archives and church leaders as well as dissident exiles, historians and scholars both within and outside the faith.

“The Mormons” begins with the turbulent early history of the Mormon faith— from Joseph Smith’s (1805-1844) astonishing visions and the creation of The Book of Mormon — through the Mormons’ contentious and sometimes violent confrontations with their neighbors. It continues with a look at the contemporary realities of the Mormon Church, including its massive missionary program, how the church has entered the mainstream of American culture, the intricacies of Mormon theology and ritual, and the excommunication of those who challenge church doctrine or who do not follow its teachings.

Also on tap today…

“First Landing” (10 a.m. on ABC Family), an hourlong docudrama from the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and Regent University, re-creates the story of the voyage of the three English ships that landed on Cape Henry, Va. on April 29, 1607—, the first stop near what would become the first permanent English settlement in America — as seen through the eyes of a child apprentice to the crew. The film will air again tonight at 11.

The U.S. television premiere of “Stereophonics: Language. Sex. Violence. Other?” is tonight at 10 on Starz Cinema. The documentary takes a look at British band Stereophonics as its members record their fifth studio album. Excerpts from a live concert by the band are also featured.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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