Cooking shows are the one thing I can watch on television that absolutely make me - if you'll pardon the pun - switch off. They are so relaxing to watch! I lose myself in their little world for half an hour, emerge with a bit more knowledge about food and, if it took my fancy, a recipe or two to try. I love cooking, and for half an hour or so, I feel like I'm talking to a friend about cooking, sitting in their kitchen while their stir their soup or make their peanut butter fudge or caramel croissant pudding, as the case may be!
Sometimes, when I'm in the kitchen cooking a meal, I'll pretend I'm cooking for the camera! Only when I'm home alone, of course.
Once I wrote a short story about a girl who worked as an assistant on a cooking show, and she used to come in early before anyone was there and go on to the set and pretend to be the star because that was, of course, her secret dream. The story set her up to get caught....but I can't remember if she was.
The first TV cooking show I ever watched - apart from the local Hobart Tas TV production of What's Cooking (I was convinced the presenter lived next door to us!) - was Keith Floyd's, who was a bit of an idol for my father. In his music room he managed to procure a life size poster of Floyd in one of his Continental ads, so whenever I practised the piano there would be Floyd, raising a glass of red to me. My parents both loved cooking shows, and I used to love watching them with them - everything else my parents watched was either boring (in my opinion) or too mature for me (in theirs). So this was a chance for me to spend some quality time with them, and perhaps is the reason they still comfort and relax me as an adult.
The Two Fat Ladies taught me about butter, bacon and good cocoa powder; Jamie Oliver made me want to meet a tasty English man (done!!); Nigella was all about the decadence and indulgence and pleasure food could bring, and I actually enjoy her books more than the shows in truth, because I find her writing incredibly evocative. When I shipped some boxes over to England from Australia, the biggest and heaviest box held all my cookbooks, including every single one of hers.
I also enjoy Masterchef, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Come Dine With Me - although tonight's episode of the latter made both Tom and I cringe with horror! Oh what a comedy of human folly that is sometimes!! TV crack though, in every sense of the word!
My latest favourite has been The Delicious Miss Dahl because Sophie Dahl lives (or seems to live) exactly the kind of life I'd like to - filled with books, flowers, pastel plates, pretty clothes and delicious food, and always having the perfect literary quote for every moment. That peanut butter fudge looked damn good too.
Do you like cooking shows too? What's your favourite?