Today is the day! Blue Monday – the third in January. We are supposed to feel at our lowest ebb and looking out of my window, it’s easy to see why. Dull, dank and murky – the weather just makes me want to curl up under the duvet again. Anyway, this funny observational piece from Lynda McCraight cheered me up. It’s about the plethora of food programmes on TV. Read and enjoy!
Blue Monday – Fast or Feast?
So, it’s that time of year again. You’ve stuffed yourself over Christmas, eaten a whole 5 bird roast to yourself, over the course of a week, seen family and friends you’ve not seen for years, been ultra polite when they’ve wanted to watch a TV channel that you didn’t, seen in the New Year with Jools Holland, and made a mental note of some New Year’s Resolutions. Already it’s mid-January and nearly time for Blue Monday, and you’ve noticed an absolute glut of adverts on telly – especially now you’ve got control of the remote back – all dealing with the delicate subject of being “slightly overweight” and “have you over-indulged over Christmas?”
Having scanned the TV paper today, it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that there are three programmes about dieting and healthy eating on. The Money-saving Good Health Show is on at 7.30, and then, only ninety minutes later “Sugar-free Farm” where a host of celebrities -including Anne Widdicombe and Joe Pasquale -attempt to live and work on a farm in return for healthy food. That sounds like it could be every bit as entertaining as watching Anne Widdicombe on Strictly Come Dancing! I mean, who thinks up these programmes? If you want wall-to-wall dieting programmes, you can skip across to channel 4 at 8pm and view: How to Lose Weight Well, where, this week, water-only fasts are being investigated. Water-only? Yuk – the thought of it is enough to turn your stomach.
Interestingly and what seems to be a bit of conundrum that could make us all even bluer on Blue Monday, alongside these programmes on dieting, in case you feel your resolve weakening and need some “foody” entertainment, is a whole host of programmes involving cooking and food and eating, so many in fact that you can have a whole day’s viewing of food, without actually eating any. You can, at 10 a.m, watch Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in the US, followed at 11.25 by “Who’s Doing the Dishes?”
If you’ve never seen this, let me enlighten you as to what you’ve been missing. A celebrity – in this case strong man Jeff Capes, a man who prefers eating to dieting – cooks a 3 course meal for 4 spray-tanned minor celebrities, all with inane senses of humour and about as much brain-power. Each course has to contain some clue to Capes’ identity so the minor celebs might guess who has cooked their meal. The main course is haggis which refers back to Capes’ days at The Highland Games, when he was involved in Tossing the Caber. Dessert is Strawberries with Power Ice-cream which I have to admit I’ve never heard of, and sadly I fell asleep during the making of the starter so have to pass on that.
The object of the programme is that if the minor celebs guess who’s cooked dinner from the clues given, they win £500 and Capes has to do the washing up. If they don’t guess, he gets the £500 and they do the washing up, which to be honest is about all they’re good for! As luck would have it, they haggle over whether it might be Robbie Coltrane because of the Scottish connection, but a last minute clue brought in by the host of the show, some Irishman I don’t recognise, in the form of a shot from the shot-put contest, firms up in their mind the name Jeff Capes and without further ado, he dons the apron and begins the mammoth wash-up, whilst they talk amongst themselves about what they’re going to spend their winnings on as, thankfully, the credits roll.
At 1.45 – or in our case in place of lunch –Chefs Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is gets aired. Suffice it to say, I know nothing about this programme, but just from the title I can tell it’s something I wouldn’t want to watch. If you’re still awake at 3.45 it might be worth watching: Hairy Bikers’ Comfort food. You can increase your girth by just being in the same room as this programme and admiring Dave Myers’ Edward the Seventh moustache, ably assisted by Si King and his ponytail. Now, these men CAN cook and they have a great culinary vocabulary too. All their sauces are UNCTUOUS and Myers has a host of culinary quips at the ready on the end of his tongue. My only complaint is: do they have to eat the food straight from the oven, risking burns and scalding, as you can see it is so hot?
If your appetite is still up for more you can switch over to channel 4 for Come Dine With Me at 5pm. This is a programme where 5 contestants used to be chosen because they could cook and host a dinner party for the other four, each contestant being scored on their hosting and cooking skills. Nowadays, sadly, no one on there seems able to cook: the women try to get points by wearing low-neck dresses and short skirts, and the men just get drunk and incoherent. But, at 5pm, maybe it’ll nudge you into culinary action, like opening a can of beans and cooking a piece of toast.
Mid-evening, Rick Stein puts in an appearance with his Long Weekends Show which, this week, was filmed in Bologna, where Rick learns how to make the local fresh egg pasta. It’s an hour long and you could learn 4 different pasta dishes in that time – but it’d beat the hell out of beans on toast for the rest of the week.