patronising, moi?

11 Mar

I imagine when creating a cookery programme the producer, director and the talent themselves discuss or, at least, think about the overall tone of the show.  Do they aim their programme at novices or those who entertain regularly for their family/friends?  Should all the ingredients be available cheaply from a high street supermarket or is it OK for the wallet-busting wild garlic or truffle oil to be purchased at Borough Market?

We all know what happens when one assumes and overall I think people get it right for their audience – you know what you’re getting with Nigella Lawson or Delia Smith.  Expensive or decedant things can be made at home for a treat now and again.

I also wonder if the programme makers try to gauge our cooking knowledge or ability.  I am guilty of inwardly tutting when Gordon Ramsay extolls the vitues of resting your meat or James Martin tells me that adding oil to the pan stops the butter from melting.  I know these things – tell me things I don’t know!  Heston recently showed an excellent experiment where he cooked two pieces of meat, one rested one not, placed a sheet of glass on top of them and got a big chap to stand on it.  The rested meat didn’t release much liquid at all but the non-rested piece oozed out lots of juices.  I knew that rested meat was better but not really why.  Now I understand completely, thank you Heston!

  • When zesting a lemon only use the skin don’t use the pith – it’s very bitter.
  • After you’ve used a pan to cook your meat you can use stock or wine to deglaze the pan – it lifts all the caramelised bits off the bottom (and, more importantly, helps with the washing up).
  • Making a risotto is much easier than you think – just add the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly.

These are some of the tips that are offered on a near daily basis in the world of cookery shows.  Maybe I think there are an infinite number of handy tricks and pointers.  Maybe this is all there is to know and this is the realisation I need to get off my butt and put all this into action.  Right, were’d I put that lemon?


2 responses to “patronising, moi?

  1. syllabubdobdee

    March 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    There was a little BBC2 show a few years back I really liked: forget its name, but it was basically little tips from the professionals. A programme was devoted to cookery, another to carpentry, another to gardening and so on: each professional showcased just one tip, in two or three minutes.

    They were generally helpfully nifty little ways someone had discovered how to make some small but unavoidable chore much easier.

    Re: resting. It actually serves another purpose, in my opinion, which is to allow timing of large meals with many constituent parts (like xmas dinner) all to be ready at exactly the same time! ie The turkey needs to rest while you complete and plate up everything else: exact time of rest determined less by flowing juices than the “give” you need to achieve simultaniety…

    (I’ve noticed people describing the “resting” meat or bird as “relaxing”: the latter an even creepier euphemism than the former… )

  2. chef de cuisine

    March 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Ooh, that show sounds vaguely familiar actually. It took me a while to get round to the resting thing as I was of the thought that “yeah, right, the mean just gets cold!” no matter how many times I was told that the gravy would bring some heat. I also dislike the use of words like jus or sauce when they clearly mean GRAVY!


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