Hands up who remembers The Galloping Gourmet? Graham Kerr was a suave, international man of mystery type, who just so happened to be a dab hand in the kitchen as well. Leaping around his trendy 70's pine-lined kitchen, possessed with a manic zeal, he rustled up dishes with copious amounts of cognac, cream, and butter.
The inspirational highlight of the show always took place at the end- when the Galloping Gourmet ran into the audience and pulled out a mane-tossing blonde dollybird by the hand (conveniently placed by a production assistant in the front row) joining him at the table for a candlelit dîner à deux, as the credits started to roll.
I have a feeling that all that cream and cholesterol caught up with him, and poor old Graham eventually had a massive heart attack, turned to God, and abandoned television cookery for good. Having said that, a few years ago, I was holed up in a divey motel in Santa Monica for a few days, and with nothing else to do, switched on the rickety television set.
And what did I see? None other than the great man himself- back on our screens in a fresh outbreak. Some sort of thing about healthy food. He seemed to be obsessed with spray-on olive oil in an aerosol can, the idea being that- shock horror- olive oil was bad for you. What on earth was all that about? I am delighted to say that this neurosis has yet to arrive on the shores of Perfidious Albion, and as far as I am aware, over here olive oil is still considered a good thing.
I buy rustic, green-coloured, extra- virgin olive oil in large bottles, and use it liberally. Farchioni Cold Pressed and Unfiltered Il Casolare is the brand of choice. It's not that expensive, and comes from Umbria in Sunny Italy. And it's also good for you. Believe me...