I have just finished an episode of yet another cooking TV series, “Bake off Crème de la Crème”, and it got me to thinking; why is this type of show is so popular? It seems to me that at any moment if you to flick through the channels on your TV at least one will be showing a cooking show whether it be “The Great British Bake off”, “MasterChef”, “MasterChef Professionals”, “Iron Chef” or a hundred other show like them. It may seem as though I’m criticising this, I’m not, because I’m one of the millions that tune in to watch these shows, and I’m also one of the ones who, when asked why I enjoyed them, had no answer. I thought then this post would give me the opportunity to work through it.
First up it seems that any show that has an element of competition draws in viewers. People love a battle, even if it is in the kitchen. The tension filled moments when two people/teams realise they are making pretty much the same desert after claiming it was their own original idea, and of course the ever present underdog that everyone loves to support (unless its week one in which case “bye!”).
Secondly people love food. People always have and always will. The presentation of a fine steak or a chocolate gateau is a sight to behold which has your mouth watering. People say you eat with your eyes, and in this case it is certainly true, as we try to determine how something tastes merely by how it appears. This is where, when looked at from an outside perspective, our love of cooking shows appears odd. We sit around watching people cook and eat food attempting to rate it ourselves despite not actually being able to taste it. It works for us though, and if you are brave enough you might make it yourself; which leads me onto my next point.
These kinds of shows can inspire us to cook and bake some more involving recipes. Ok maybe not, but it does at least make us think we might give it a try at some point after painting the end wall; playing a game of pool; taking up archery, and maybe swimming the channel; like you had been inspired to do by the past 4 shows you’d watched that day. Seriously though it does inspire when you see ordinary people creating a stunning dish. It makes you think maybe I could give it a shot too.
On a slightly more cynical note not only do people enjoy seeing brilliant food, we also enjoy watching people messing it up and being slaughter by the judges (it’s harsh but true). There is nothing people love more than watching a stunning centrepiece crumple as it is being moved, or the “accidental” sabotage by a fellow contestant; remember Ian’s baked Alaska on “Bake off”. On the flip side of this those moments when the persons taken a risk you aren’t sure how it’s gone (because you can’t actually taste it), and then the judge suddenly develops a huge smile and, for lovers of “Bake off”, you get the Hollywood handshake.
It seems then for someone who could not think of an answer to the question “why do you love cooking shows?” I actually had quite a bit to say. Nothing unusual there.