One of the things we find absolutely fascinating (when we stagger back to our rented flat/home after a day of sightseeing, museum or gallery visits, etc.), after we pour ourselves a large glass of wine, is to relax with a favourite guilty pleasure; watching local cooking shows. It’s amazing how much one learns about the culture and food of the country you are visiting and how much fun and inspiration you can get trying to re-create or change up what you’ve seen! A couple of years ago, when we were in Rome, we were addicted to a cooking show, “Alici.” It was completely in Italian, the “star” of the show wore an outfit that included aprons with things glued onto them; our personal favourite being the one with different pasta shapes all over it! There is normally a sidekick who gets bossed around or in the case of the Italian shows, the two constantly argue (not understanding the language very well, it’s pretty funny to watch trying to get the drift).
We spent two weeks in London this past October and watched Delia, Gordon, Heston and Theo and Mary Berry. All great cooks, but the kicker was a new show about Fanny Cradock, England’s first television celebrity chef, (from the 50’s up to 1976). She was a restaurant critic and writer as well. It appears she “invented” the prawn cocktail and God knows, we couldn’t live without them? The time frame has been moved forward to 2012; very campy and really funny! It’s a time warp about Fanny with her monocled husband, Johnnie (aka Major Cradock), hovering in the background with a glass of wine in hand. The “real” Fanny was really bossy, wore enormous bows in her hair and was apparently, ruder than Gordon Ramsay. Wish the new show was available here!! Our loveable Julia Child she was not!
We’ve always love watching English television. Maybe our all-time favourite cook was Keith Floyd. He was smart, articulate, seriously funny as hell, a delight to see every week and he is missed, I can tell you! Two of our favourite Keith shows were “Piperade” and “Pork Stew in Centurion Sauce”. Click on the names to go to Youtube if you want to have a laugh!
“Come Dine with Me, Canada” is a take on the English original. We checked it out when we were in London a couple of years ago and watched it again on this trip. All I can say is that the English version’s contestants are sure a lot more vicious than their Canadian counterparts!
The Brits really do have a wonderful sense of humour and a sense of silliness. I like to think we Canadians have inherited some of it!