Maybe it is just me, but I’m just not into food TV of any shape or form. That being said I generally don’t watch ‘reality T.V’ as it’s so contrived and well…unreal. But the explosion of cooking shows has absolutely done my head in. I now have food performance anxiety. It’s not enough to be able to just produce a balanced meal anymore it has to look right and be presented and served with a smile and a glass of complimenting wine or boutique beer.
Food is a new status symbol and it irks me. I could become enraged with the socio/political landscape of food and its production but not now. Being able to cook lavish complicated and expensive meals is trendy and denotes a form of success that is surreptitiously dividing people into categories of competency to cook.
When I was eleven I remember doing cooking at school and used those skills all the way through to university. Finding ten ways to use whole peeled tomatoes, budget pasta and dried herbs was part of the right of passage into adulthood for many of us. I also survived terrible food hygiene, it wasn’t unusual to have a chilli turn into a curry and back to a chilli again all over a week and without ever leaving the stove. If you think that is stomach churning I’ve also had a rather dodgy effort at cooking road kill – no I am not making this up (but did leave the flat that day as the line had definitely been crossed). Cheese and crackers was just a slab of tasty cheese and some plain crackers – not anymore! My goodness if you don’t have a selection of cheeses (soft and hard) and a range of crackers including gluten free, low fat, and a suitable platter to serve it off AND garnish, then I’m sorry you have not met the new host standard.
The same goes for cooking. I have a mild panic attack at the thought of a pot luck dinner these days. My confidence in my own ability to produce something worthy of consumption has dwindled in the face of a media saturation of fancy food. It’s not that I don’t want to make the effort, I just know it’s not my effort being judged anymore. Actually, none of my friends would do that – but the feeling remains true in general.
Frankly I am throwing in the tea towel as the dishes required for the new culinary culture are just ridiculous. I’m inventing a new form of ‘foodie’ one that cares about the company I’m sharing a meal with and how much love went into it. I would never eat something from a Gordon Ramsay kitchen with the amount of anger, fear and aggression vibes present when it’s prepared, that is my new definition of unpalatable.
So raise a glass – or jam jar and lets make toast…just toast.