“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I despair. I truly do.

Is it me or are there too many damn cooking shows on the telly?

"Well, maybe..."

A few years ago when I lived in jolly old Americky, I could not get enough of the Food Network. I loved it. Rachael Ray...

Yes, I like her, okay? Get off me.

Giada of the toothy grin and the overpronounced Italian words...

 Paula with her butter and her hey y'all and her sons and her Michael and her more butter...

 Nigella with her plummy accent and her... well, her boobs, let's face it. That and the little secret fantasy that we all have that if we could bed this English rose, we'd be doin' it with the daughter of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer under Maggie Thatcher. Yeah, Nigel! You screw with us... we screw your daughter! Heh heh! Okay... just me again, I see.

 The Barefoot Contessa with her dinner on the beach and famous guests dropping in and lots of cream and butter and Jeffrey.

 Alton Brown, science geek, comic genius, great cook.

 Tyler Florence, with his Food 911.

Jamie, Bobby, Emeril with his BAM and his 'like such' and his Doc Gibbs...

 I ate it up. Then they started to have competitive cooking shows. Iron Chef was the one that started it all. Then Iron Chef America. Then The Next Food Network Star. Pretty soon everyone was getting in on the act with Ramsay and his Hell's Kitchen,

Yummy. You donkey!

  Chopped, Top Chef and all the rest. Food shows were getting to be big business.

Now I am seriously tired of food shows, because they have become ubiquitous. Here on this side of the pond, there are more celebrity chefs than you can shake a stick at. You have your Nigella of course, and your Jamie, but you also have your James Martin, your Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,

your Nigel Slater, and your Hairy Bikers.

 But it's food contests that truly piss me off royally.

You've got your MasterShout, with that bald piggy-eyed nob Gregg Wallace and that Oz wanker John Torode.

I wanna taste the pea!
 How far up his ass is that stick exactly?

Then there's the Great British Menu with Richard Corrigan, a fat-faced ruddy-complected Irish wiener who looks like he should be lying on a platter somewhere with an apple in his gob.

Baste me in my own juices. A delicious meal for three hundred.

Then you have Come Dine With Me, a show that is inexplicably in its 22nd series since 2005 (huh? They must be seriously cranking these things out) where four or five amateur people who shouldn't be let loose in a kitchen host dinner parties for the same guests and get rated on their lack of ability in the kitchen. Call me hateful but if I was aware that a person had been on this show I would not let them boil me so much as an egg.

Do you remember back in the day, when you got one, maybe two cooking shows a week? I remember over here there was good old Fanny Cradock, with Johnny at her side handing her spatulas and knives.

"Here ya go, Johnny. Now quit rubbing my arse."

There was Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, who reinvented himself in the late 80s after some heart trouble and lived near me on Camano Island, WA? How I would have loved to have bumped into him while shopping and reminisced about Tenterden and The Woolpack.

Then we had Farmhouse Kitchen with Dorothy Slimetoad, I mean Sleightholme. God, that was the most boring cooking show ever. Pottering about in her kitchen and talking slowly... ugh.

The only other cooking demos we got were on Houseparty or perhaps Blue Peter.

That woman with the black hair always irritated me.

In the States you had Julia Child

"I'm either drunk or high, but at least I'm not a dead chicken."

and maybe Justin Wilson.
I guar-on-tee.

 Then in the 90s there were a few more with the Italian guy Nick Stellino on Cucina Amore and that's really about it till Food Network came along and changed everything. And now we have cooking 24/7. Nobody, trust me, nobody, not even Anthony Bourdain, is THAT interested in cooking.

I am not against cooking shows, believe me. I will happily sit and watch an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives till the cows come home.

But the competitive thing has got to stop. There has to come a point where people say "Ya know what - I don't care who wins this contest. They are all assholes." And I am at that point. Whatever happened to just cooking for the sheer joy of it?

Couldn't have said it better myself, actually. Thanks Tone.

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