I’m going to be doing a lot of school posts soon as promised, but I just wanted to include this little one about my adoration of cooking shows.
I love a good cooking show, me. I’m always on the hunt for new recipes, plus there seems to be something in my brain that simply obsesses over food. I suppose most girls swoon over pictures of their favourite actors or bands... Me? I’m more likely to have a calendar of fruit and veg on my wall. I don’t know what it is, but I love watching food being cooked almost as much as I love eating it. There’s something kind of therapeutic about the slicing and rolling, peeling and blending that just relaxes me and makes it seem like everything’s going to be OK. I think it’s always a kind of instinct of mine, too, to make sure those around me have plenty to eat. Seeing my cupboards and fridge full just makes me feel better, and I guess I get the same “hit” from watching full cupboards and burning stoves on TV.
(At this point I’d like to mention that a comment, just ONE comment, about how I’m not crazy would be really, really nice right about now)
Of course I’m addicted to Come Dine With Me... come on, who isn’t? Watching people try far-too-ambitious recipes (for better or worse) and then argue about it over the dinner table? I defy anyone not to become addicted.Of late, however, there are two cooking shows I’m really enjoying so I thought I’d recommend them to you.
The first is “Hairy Bikers’ Best of British” on the BBC. I have always loved the bikers, namely Si King and Dave Myers. They are just really nice guys with a genuine love of food, and it shows in everything they do. I could listen to them talk about food for hours—what I really love is their enthusiasm. It just goes to show, as Patrick Ness said recently, that if you feel strongly about what you’re doing it will show in your work.
Each week Si and Dave take a different theme, e.g. “breakfast” and not only suggest recipes from around the world, but look at the history behind food. If you love history like me, you’ll find their recycled clips from old TV shows and factual commentary really interesting. The bikers and I have something else in common, besides a passion for cooking: an almost idol-like appreciation of Delia Smith. Something I love about their recipes is that it’s always real food. Stuff you’d cook yourself and ingredients you actually have! There’s nothing more frustrating for me when a posh TV chef says “we’re just going to use our basic store cupboard ingredients, such as dragon fruit and the blood of twenty angry centaurs...” What the bikers show is made from regular ingredients, sometimes delicate, sometimes rough-and-ready, but always, always beautiful.
“Best of British” airs Fridays on BBC2 at 7:00pm, and there are usually catch-ups throughout the week. The Bikers also have a range of recipe books and I’m sure they’re on BBC DVD, too!
Another TV chef who’s made a great impression on me is Jamie Oliver. The man never stops! From school dinners to his campaign to get us eating more fish, and even when he put cooking aside and opened up his own school, he’s always doing something to help other people. I really admire his commitment. With successful restaurant chains, kitchenware, recipe books, TV shows and goodness knows what else, it would be perfectly understandable if he said, you know what, I’ve got enough money and fame... but instead he puts his mind to making a difference. If he doesn't like something, he works on changing it, and whether you're into cooking or not, that's a great message to take away.
I love Jamie’s fresh, can-do attitude, for example in his 30 and 15 Minute Meals. He aims to show people that anyone can have good-quality, healthy, tasty food if they know how. For ages I’ve been sitting on my sofa thinking that I’d love for him to teach us some more about cooking on a budget... and now he has!
“Jamie’s Money Saving Meals” is what I and many other Jamie fans have been crying out for. He shows us not only how to cook cost-effective tasty meals, but also how to shop smart, for example which meat cuts to buy, and how to store our food so bulk-buying lasts longer. If you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know that when it comes to cooking the freezer is my best friend, and Jamie utilises this wonderful appliance in his series as a great way of saving money.
The show airs Mondays at 8:00pm on Channel 4.
If you don’t have the channels for these shows or live abroad, try BBC iPlayer or 4OD on the internet (though iPlayer doesn’t work here in Ireland). Alternatively both the BBC and Channel 4 have most of the recipes they feature on shows available on their websites. Perhaps I’ll make a Pinterest board of my favourites.
Writing this post has made me realise that there are in fact roughly a billion cooking shows I love, but I decided just to end it with these two or I’d be here all night... Perhaps I’ll do another post like this soon, if you like it. Feel free to recommend your favourite shows!