Friday, 18 March 2011

No I don't watch Masterchef

Someone said this to me the other day: "You watch Masterchef, don't you?"

Actually I'm not even sure there was a question mark at the end of that.

There's a lot to be said about that statement/question. For one, it suggests that to some of us at least, Masterchef is now "standard fare". It's unavoidable, unmissable.

It also suggests that I am one of those people: middle aged, middle classed, interested in food, cooking - and perhaps with a competitive streak.

But funnily enough, I don't watch Masterchef and I never have (not even when a friend of mine, Hardeep Singh Kohli, took part in the celebrity version. He got to the final and I never even noticed, I'm ashamed to say).

So why don't I watch it? Because it's brain numbingly idiotic for a start. Oh no! The reduction of plum and blueberry is about to turn too gloopy! What will she do now? It's because the food they make on the programme is over fussy, contrived and showy. Roasted cheek of an Albino Ape. And I hate it because I love food and would actually prefer to be cooking. But it just so happens I'm uncomfortable with the showing off aspect, the have you ever eaten anything like this schtick, because let's face it, most people don't notice whether your meat is overdone or your fish is undercooked, not when they are swallowing it back with half a gallon of vino blanco.

Which brings me to the real reason why I don't like Masterchef which is this: it's all one great big fat lie.

If you watch Masterchef you think that Britain is full of wonderful creative cooks for who every mealtime is a surprising delight. In reality, Britain has an utterly dysfunctional relationship with what we put in our mouths. Oh sure, we have more celeb chefs than you can shake a Findus ready meal at, but that doesn't stop us eating a ton of rubbish every day. We all happily troop down to the supermarket (or the garage) to buy processed microwavable bleughs, slam in the oven ready in five minute pizzas made of cardboard... or stagger home from the pub with disgusting kebabs or battered sausage suppers.

One Glaswegian told me recently I shouldn't worry about my cholesterol level if it was in single figures.

So no, I don't watch Masterchef, I'd rather think about what I eat, not reduce the process to the equivalent of some bad football match. In fact, I'd rather watch a bad football match than watch Masterchef. And if that puts me outside some sort of middle aged, middle class master race, then so be it.

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