I do have some very interesting recipes queued up, but have not published latterly because photography is lacking, will remedy this soon. Meantime, I would like to make a comment about bloody MasterChef, the BBC TV competition for amateur cooks. The new series is underway in the UK with a huge set, multi-kitchen stations, limited larders and bright, harsh spotlighting and so on. Last night on the show these two geezers, pretty much unheard of by the general public outside of presenting this programme, were whittling the number of contestants down from 20 to 12. The new format and set create a hugely competitive atmosphere, with these poor souls/contestants lined up in rows at tiny worktops, given limited ingredients and told to get competing. Even if contestants spoiled their dishes, which in the horribly stressful atmosphere created an exact half a dozen of them did big time, they still had to walk what must have seemed like a mile of shame through this airport hanger to deliver up their messed-up meal for critique. Appalling. This is not in any way shape or form what good cooking is about. And it is not any place from where good cooking comes, which I think was fairly obvious from what was served up.
Cooking is about putting nice food on the table that you have taken pleasure in creating and making. Cooking is not a competitive activity, it is not about foodie this and fashion fads that and what the magazines say–who cares if you know off the top of your head how to cook samphire/salsify/satay/old socks…if I ever need to know how to cook bloody anything I fancy I have a bookcase of books and an internet connection. So fecking what is this competition all about, is it now down to which amateur cook can physically take the unbelievable, artificial stress better than the rest? Did you count the number of blue elastoplasts by the end of that programme? It was not this way in the past, it was full of lovely, slightly quirky/nerdy people cooking up a storm after their own fashion and it was nice telly.
So, frankly, I get enough of all that stressy stupid bollocks at work, I am not incorporating that kind of false thinking into my home cooking via some BBC meme shoved out there on a public broadcast remit. I hope applications for places drop off a cliff for them, but with all the drama and close-ups and tension and opportunities for contestants with impossibly white teeth and shiny hair, I reckon MasterChef will now attract thousands of emotionally warped wannabee “celebrity amateurs”. I scent tabloid news and private life horror scandal already, dear goodness. And all of that can only impoverish our world. To finish, last night was simply indigestible, where on earth is the Zantac?
[If you don’t know what I am talking about here is the link on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t1k5]