Food for thought.

Now I love a good food show. More often than not it’s just a case of me staring longingly at a recipe being made, before getting realistic and realising I can’t be bothered to go out and buy the normally very extravagant ingredients. It’s true to say that most of the time these shows just tempt us with what we can’t have, but that doesn’t stop us from getting hooked.

So today I’m going to have a look at few recent foodie outings.

Heston Blumenthal:

The foodie’s equivalent of a mad scientist, Heston is more of a chemist than a chef. This is the reason I’ve found him gradually start to grate on my nerves as his food; whilst being wonderfully creative, is ultimately a complete pipe dream for anyone not possessing a laboratory. I for example, make use of a relatively cramped kitchen, with an electric oven that has a broken hob panel. Where do you think I’m going to fit in a centrifuge machine Heston? Also, what’s up with the idea of snail porridge? I think I’ll stick to pasta.

I was willing to overlook Heston’s opulence, and to enjoy the programmes for what they are: a flight of fancy in food experimentation. That was until I saw Heston’s idea of a perfect Chilli con carne.

Chilli is a simple recipe which can be prepared by anyone from a gastronome to someone who’s new to cooking, and whose idea of a complicated meal consists of a pot noodle (so most students basically). Well when Heston arrives on the scene, he shatters that illusion with a recipe so unnecessarily complicated, and with so many stages, it could be mistaken for a freemason initiation process. I can’t honestly believe that a chilli, that seems to take three weeks to prepare, is going to be so much better tasting than an average attempt that it justifies that kind of effort and time to make it.

The Delicious Miss Dahl:

Sophie Dahl is a relative newcomer to the food world, although it is not the first time the Dahl name has been used in conjunction with a cookery programme. I distinctly remember “Roald Dahl’s revolting recipes’ when I was child, and it was quite an entertaining idea which translated food from Dahl’s books into real recipes. Also it was presented by human cactus Gary Rhodes, which lended it some credibility.

The Delicious Miss Dahl on the other hand follows in a similar vein to Rachel Allen, and Nigella Lawson style programmes – giving us ‘an attractive woman can cook’ kind of motif. Still, I can’t really argue with that logic as I think the name of the show is rather apt, and that Miss Dahl is delicious (remembering that controversial opium advert from when I was a teenager of course), I am a man after all. Unfortunately as it is similar to Nigella and Rachel, it falls prey to overusing adjectives like ‘desire,’ ‘indulgent,’ and a word I despise using in the context of food: ‘naughty’. How can food be naughty, unless you subscribe to the idiotic view that eating itself is a sin? Surely the only food that can be realistically described as ‘naughty,’ is the type bought from an erotic bakery.

I think I like this programme though, as the food Sophie makes isn’t in-your-face extravagant, and shows you recipes you can enjoy for a bit of a treat.

Saturday Kitchen:

This is the logical replacement for a young adult when he or she has grown tired of Saturday morning kid’s shows. I have to admit, when I was 13 I always wondered what would replace SM:TV in my Saturday morning entertainment affections when I reached my late teens and twenties. Saturday Kitchen was my answer. It’s got all the best aspects of a live Saturday morning series, with presenter links and cut-aways to other programmes, but instead of stupid games like on the likes of Ministry of Mayhem (or whatever the hell it is nowadays) we have cook offs like Food Heaven and Food Hell, or the speed omelette making challenge.

In that sense it’s easy to make the transition from anarchic weekend entertainment for 10 – 15 year olds, to the quite silly antics of this gem. We have light-hearted hosting from James Martin, an array of guest stars and chefs, and some really interesting recipes. It is for grownups but it’s still good fun and a bit silly too. Still the good thing is it isn’t too silly, and I’ve yet to see Dick and Dom in da Kitchen advertised yet, so for that I thank my lucky stars.


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