Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cheesed off

Cheesed off

Why is it that cooking programmes on television always look so, well, grubby? In the UK there is a spate of such programmes at the moment, including the common or garden how-to type of programme, big brother-type scenarios, celebrity big brother variations, The Apprentice-type situation and the competition/TV game show.

I think all, at some time or other, have demonstrated bad practice.

For example, why does everything have to be handled? My understanding is that you can use thin gloves and/or utensils: you don't have to virtually wash your hands in a cake mix, for example. I don't care how clean you think your hands are, they're not clean enough for that.

Another thing I've noticed is where the chef or trainee chef tastes the soup, say, and then puts the same spoon or ladle back in the pan. Or, similarly, the judge takes a forkful of a dish, tastes it and then, using the same fork, takes a sample of another dish. When you have 2 or more judges doing likewise, one wonders whether these people ever studied food hygiene or health & safety.

Less directly hazardous, but nevertheless profoundly unappealing, is the sight of a cook who looks like he has slept on the doorstep and not had a wash in several days. I don't know about you, but that sort of thing simply puts me off my food.

Finally, you may believe that I am a nutcase, but I am convinced that unless you make food with a light spirit and a song in your heart, you fail to imbue with all the nourishment that you might have. Extending this, shouting and swearing over food really does, I think, kill, or at least seriously deplete, its spirit. Yet there is at least one cookery programme on English TV where the "star" of the show is constantly seen shouting, swearing and berating his staff or trainees. I think it's meant to depict him as a tough, no-nonsense kind of guy who is striving for perfection and who will be satisfied with nothing less. But for me, it serves only to make me determined to never patronise his restaurants.

Seconds, anyone?

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