I sometimes wonder just why the BBC et al broadcast so many cooking programmes ? Could it be that they are all in hock (as so many people and things are these days) not to the Russians – who seem to be the most popular and to have a bottomless pit of money – but to the major food corporations. Every programme I see has some whizz kid (some are quite elderly whizz kids now) – who start off with a handful of herbs – “easily obtainable at many supermarkets” they say, (by which, I assume, they mean Waitrose), but never seen by ordinary folk – who then proceeds to chop them finely with a curvy knife operated at the speed of light while the rest of us are hunting around the kitchen trying to find where we put the scissors.
They proceed to put their recipe together in moments by tipping in the correct amounts of food which are handily all standing by in bowls and containers having been prepared by a legion of production assistants while the great man or woman enjoys a last G & T in the green room. It usually begins with chopped onions and ditto garlic but no one ever has to stop because of watery eyes. Into the frying pan they go – sizzle, sizzle – no one ever seem to clean up afterwards, and never, but never, have I seen one of them go to his or her cupboard and search around to find the Schwarz jar of garlic salt or garlic granules (“Italian Herbs” are good by the way). And they tell us to use butter plus olive oil (to stop the butter burning). Who buys butter ? The health police would have us inside in short order if we did. And have you seen the “add some seasoning” in which enough salt to revivify the Pacific Ocean goes in ?
Then when it is all tipped into the beyond the reach pricewise, upmarket, casserole dish or baking tray it goes into the conveniently placed, already heated, built in oven half way up the wall. Did you ever see one of them on his or her knees opening the oven door and taking out all the baking tins and wondering where on earth to put them ? No, I thought not.
Out it comes and it is always lovely, and after the one taster mouthful the next shot is of an empty dirty plate plus knife and fork. Never, “Oh Dear ! it seems to have got a bit burnt !” The presenter never seems to put on weight and we are not told who ate the food (do the studio people put on the weight perhaps ?) or whether it actually went into the waste bin. I wonder how many “takes” there are before they get the one we are actually allowed to see.
The poor viewer sadly concludes that it might be better to rescue that old loaf from the fridge and knock up something on toast so as not to waste it. Realising that cookery a la TV is not very practical unless there is a day or two to spare in advance (who makes all this never ending supply of stock ?), a few items readily available at the little local supermarket go on the shopping list on the fridge and another day closes.
Does the food industry air this clever and entertaining type of programme to put us off and thus send us off to the shops for something we can do – preferably in the microwave ?