Cookery programmes: They may be great for kitchen-based inspiration, but hell don’t they half put pressure on mums to recreate edible masterpieces. It was fine back in the good ol’ days of Delia and Ready Steady Cook – the cuisine was simplistic, achievable and left you feeling like you could probably do a better job yourself.
But things have moved on a pace. Cookery programmes, for all their reckless entertainment, are now so plentiful on our screens that Sky+ hoarders must be in the midst of a meltdown. And as if double-barrelled surnames weren’t intimidating enough as it is, we now have Marco Pierre-White and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall looking down on us as we vagrantly peel spuds with a knife. A knife!
The ingredients themselves may be within range of us mere mortals, however, buying the equipment needed to speedily reproduce the dishes that they make look so effortless is a different story. “Finely chop your parsley”, they say as they nonchalantly empty the finished product from a 6000 gigawhizz deluxe blender. “That’s going to take an eternity with this half-blunt knife” we may retort. And this is the issue. Take for instance aspiring cook Gemma Morris, mum to Charlie, 6 and Keira, 5.
“I’m on the verge of cookery show addiction”, says Gemma, 26. “Everything looks so easy on the screen, but transferring that to the kitchen is another matter.” “They say it’s cheap and easy, but in actual fact you’re looking at a minimum of £20 for the ingredients that they tell you to use and at least triple the amount of time in the kitchen that they say it should take.” “Maybe I’m just a bad cook but I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. In reality, cooking fresh food for a family takes its time.”
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals may offer the premise of a quick-fix but many enthusiasts are still waiting to meet the mum who managed to keep within Jamie’s time frame. It can be done, of this there is no uncertainty – I mean, Jamie has proved it on more than one occasion. However, the regular cuts and fades suggest that even Jamie may be struggling to stay within his own 15 minute time frame… a half an hour show we should not forget.
But it’s the equipment they use that’s the main bug-bear of most who question the ease of the on-screen culinary wonderment.I don’t know many working class mums able to afford the equipment needed to recreate these dishes within the time limits outlined by the chefs.
Money off vouchers from websites like Groupon and Wowcher are good for finding decent cooking equipment on the cheap and you may find the odd deal here and there at your local electrical outlet or supermarket.
Alas, for many of us, the dream of standing toe-to-toe with our favourite T.V. chefs is likely to remain just that – a dream.