Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Sophie Dahl is a dish but I can't stomach another food programme

Model, author, and cook Sophie Dahl is a talented, gorgeous looking woman and new husband Jamie Cullum is a lucky man. Even so I shall not be watching her television series The Delicious Miss Dahl, which launches tonight. I gave up on food programmes a long time ago stuffed to the point of nausea.
Whether it is the charmless Gordon Ramsey or some other celebrity chef or amateur cooks competing in reality contests, I can’t see why shows with food-related themes are so popular with the viewing public.
I get no sense that general cooking standards are raising in Britain. Perhaps viewers watch food programmes while eating TV dinners in the hope they might taste better by some miraculous transfer between plate and screen.
Salads are more common and sushi outlets have been added to the variety of foreign cuisines available in London. But, for the most part in terms of every day eating, the same old pizza, fried chicken and hamburger joints abound.
When friends meet a good night is judged by the quantity of the booze consumed. A reasonable standard of the accompanying food is all that is required. This explains the continuing popularity of curry houses. This is why there will never be a Campaign for Really Nice Food to match the Campaign For Real Ale.
Food is never likely to enter the intellectual life of the capital. French grand author Marcel Proust was sent spinning back in time when he dunked his madeleine. For Cockney minstrel Joe Brown “Jellied eels, jellied eels/Wogg-a-ling about like wonky wheels” had much the same effect.
Too many cooks spoil the TV (and book publishing) broth. There used to be one at any one time – Philip Harben, Fanny Craddock, Graham Kerr, Keith Floyd. It all changed after Delia Smith.
Perhaps she did register a step change in the popular conception of food, as a generation weaned on convenience meals looked for a better alternative.
There were big bucks to be made in the new food entertainment industry. Along came Jamie Oliver, Ramsey and the rest including Sophie Dahl's predecessor in the sweets course, Nigella Lawson.
The TV shows are relatively cheap to produce and have a ready audience but their growing number reflect a dearth of original ideas by programme makers rather than a hunger for a diet of more of the same by viewers.


  1. Don't be too hasty GC, says Jaffa. Many puns come to mind like "delicious enough to eat". There are cookery programmes and there are cookery programmes. If you will not watch Sophie I will believe all your comments about seeing out your final days with/on your blog. Pudding is over and Nigella has got her 'just desserts' and has definitely 'raspberry rippled!'

  2. Thanks Jaffa for your comment. GC


What do you think? GC