Wednesday, 24 March 2010


Ho hum, another day, another cookery programme. The latest person to court our taste buds is Sophie Dahl.

She seems, what with abundant displays of her cleavage and many a "come hither" look to be trying to out vamp Nigella Lawson (the glutton's crumpet - if you'll pardon the pun) which is to say that she manages to make herself look even more ridiculous.

Food and sex? I don't know. It's getting so that I can't even look a Banana Split in the eye without blushing. Don't even mention Knickerbocker Glories!

Cookery programmes are not what they were during their Golden Era which, to my mind, ran from the mid nineties to the first few years of this century.

That was the halcyon age of Keith Floyd, Sophie Grigson, Antonio Carlucci and Claudia Roden. The latter two were, arguably, my all time favourite examples of T.V. cookery programmes.

Antonio had the good taste to keep his cleavage to himself as he took us, week by week, on a tour of the various regions of Italy.

They all had their distinctive dishes and the avuncular Antonio showed us, in rich and colourful detail, the culture behind the cuisine. It wasn't about stuffing your face and I do not remember sex rearing its ugly head. It was entertaining, erudite and, as I have just proven, memorable.

Claudia Roden did the same for the countries bordering the Meditteranean and it was fascinating to see how one country's cuisine influenced that of another, often in unexpected ways.

These programmes treated us as intelligent, discerning adults, not greedy schoolboys with a crush on the French Mistress (Lawson and Dahl). They were a satisfying three course meal finished off with a good brandy in front of the fire as compared to the insubstantial t.v. "snacks" offered up to-day.

The present lot of hosts are a pretty unappetising lot, are they not? If they are not foul mouthed yobs (Ramsay) or hyperactive eternal schoolboys marinated in their own p.c. culinary self righteousness (Oliver), they are nice gels pretending to be sluts (Lawson and Dahl again).

Another cookery programme? No thanks, I'm not hungry!

Picture is of the inestimable Claudia Roden