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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

cooking for the rich and lazy


St. Delia has a new cookery programme simply called "Delia". She's been given the Nigella Express Treatment: wobbly camera shots, intermittent "Here are some snippets of me pretending to show you my real life" film segments accompanied by "Here I am with extras pretending to be my friends" segments, and the most Nigella-esque quality of all, showing the masses how to cook with prepared foods. I'm all for simple cooking and for anything that gets people into the kitchen, but I am getting increasingly annoyed with food programmes dedicated to treating the public like they are completely inept. Cooking with prepared foods is absolutely fine - I often use curry pastes and things of that nature - but do we really not have the time or skill to saute some minced beef? Do we honestly need to resort to mince from a tin? (That, I am not exaggerating, looked very much like what we feed Jasper every night.) Is it worth the expense to use raw vegetables that have been peeled and chopped for us? And who in the name of all that is good and holy invented frozen mashed potato that looks like beige hockey pucks?

We don't need to eat badly to eat quickly and simply. You can make a fantastic (and authentic) pasta dish in 10-20 minutes, a proper risotto in 17 minutes, or a piece of grilled chicken, fish, or steak with some veggies in 15 minutes. To be fair, I think Nigella had a much better balance between the use of convenience food and fresh (although buying prechopped leeks in a plastic bag because you find chopping an onion "too tiring" borders on the insane.) Delia's programme comes across as a "Ready, Steady, Cook" exercise in what you can make for your unsuspecting guests with things buried in your freezer and pantry. It's all very 1970s; the age of casseroles made with tinned mushroom soup and topped with Bisquick. It's the antithesis to the current Local/Organic/In Season trend, which I suppose to some is a welcome change. I find it maddening.

And on a completely unrelated note, I swear, I just saw a commercial for a Barbie that comes with a dog that you can feed, and then it "poops" the plastic food back out again. To top it off, she comes with her very own poop scoop and bin for the plastic doggy doo.

Maybe I need to get some more sleep.

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