Thursday, 5 January 2012

Brothers that bake and other manly stuff

I don't watch much TV - somehow I don't seem to find the time - but I did catch a little of the new Channel 4 series last night, The Fabulous Baker Brothers. I had just finished my dinner and switched on the box as I sat down to eat. I channel hopped until my screen was filled with a masculine pair of hands enthusiastically kneading bread. Knowing that The Boy and I were in synch and that he was just sitting down to a meal in Somerset, I called to let him know that there was something food-orientated that might be worth a watch. Our conversation went something like this:

The Boy: Hello?
Me: Hello! If you're watching TV, you might want to switch to Channel 4. There's a food programme that I haven't seen before... It's got boys in it.
The Boy: *switching channels* Ah yes, I see. They look smug.
Me: Well, they've been giving some interesting advice about homemade bread so far so you might be interested.
The Boy: *distracted by TV* Because everyone has a stone oven in their corner of their kitchen...
Me: Enjoy!
The Boy (by text message): Kinda like them but they are also kinda annoying. Or at least the way its cut is. Also, who has beef dripping!? Xxxx
Sometime later...
The Boy (by text): I've just realised this is Nigella for women!
Me (by text): I think you're their target audience actually. Bloke recipes with few measured ingredients. A few snazzy gadgets but no pie tins or specific equipment needed. Not v healthy. Boy food!

You may know of my contempt for TV chefs as I've vented my spleen about Sophie Dahl and tried to convert to Nigella's wiles but I didn't mind this. My main bug bear with the programme is one that can be swung at most TV cookery right now - the food isn't particularly healthy. Doughnut sticks, chip butties, pies and steak sandwiches don't make for a very nutritious diet but the Brothers aren't as bad as some, I suppose. The faux sibling rivalry grated on me too - "Now, don't tell Henry but..." acommpanied by a sly glance at camera - come on, boys! You're on TV; don't be silly now.

Saying that, Tom's tips for pastry and bread-making were helpful and seemed to offer a good starting point for first timers as well as hints and tips for the more experienced. Despite The Boy's comments, I really do think that this is one for the boys. There were no lingering finger-to-lips camera shots to get our pulses racing (shame...) and the format, to me, is pretty masculine. The camera shots were fast and choppy and the recipes were firmly in the comfort food/tasty-stodge-and-screw-the-calories category which appeal to the majority of my male, rather than female, friends. Channel 4 bills the series as "Two brothers - one a baker, the other a chef and butcher - unlock the trade secrets of baking, and without a cupcake in sight." And girls, don't let me put you off; these guys are still pretty easy on the eye!

Although I don't approve of the food for every day, its nice to see 'proper' cooking on TV - starting from scratch with raw ingredients rather than combining ready-made elements and calling it cooking. It would be nice to see more programmes doing this. I don't mind cutting corners where necessary but tasty (healthy!) food really can be achieved quickly with fresh ingredients.

Not everyone liked the programme but I'll certainly be tuning in when I can. Check them out and let me know what you think.

The Fabulous Baker Brothers can be found on Channel 4 on Wednesday's at 8:30pm or you can catch-up on 4oD here.

2 comments:

IrvingWashington said...

LOL love your conversation with The Boy, I haven't seen TFBB yet but will definitely check it out! It's interesting how tv has decided to genderise tv chefs - women sometimes seem more chosen for looks than talent. I'm waiting for a gnarled-but-talented female equivalent to Rick Stein to grace our screens..!!

Sarah said...

Ha! I would LOVE to see that! The only female chef that I can think of that fits the description is Clarissa Dickson Wright (formerly of Two Fat Ladies fame). Not a huge fan of her recipes though as their key components tend to be meat, fat and a huge side order of more meat.

Evidentally there's a gap in the market. Maybe WE should fill it? I'll be gnarled one, you be the talented one!?

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