Various things I want- no, need to get off my hairy chest:
Did you watch the first episode of Simon Hopkinson's new television series "The Good Cook" (BBC1, Fridays, 7.30pm)? The incidental music drove me nuts. 95% of the programme is accompanied with a loud, retro soundtrack: Stevie Wonder, Northern Soul; that sort of thing. Now, I love the music of Mr Marvyn Gaye and his friends; trust me, I really do. But not in this context. Not as a consistantly loud, in-your-face, soundtrack to a potentially decent food programme. It's along similar lines to that Sophie Dahl series: some hip, acned producer has fallen for the "let's go for the Jamie Oliver yoof culture" angle: it's all a huge shame. Simon Hopkinson is one of our best food writers, and he certainly doesn't need his new series dressed up with ersatz production values.
Because of the distracting music, I couldn't grasp anything he was saying. I'm not very good at multi-tasking, I have to admit. But am I alone in genuinely wanting to hear what Mr Hopkinson had to say for himself? Am I one of that rare breed which actually watches a television programme for its own sake, rather than turning it on as some sort of background entertainment- as they all do in Los Angeles? One of those saddos who buys the "Radio Times" at Christmas, and rings the programmes he wants to record in black felt-tip? Am I turning into my parents?
And then there was all that ridiculous "freeze frame", macro close-up stuff going on- as, say, he poured flour into his Cornishware blue and white stiped sick bowl. I'm trying so hard not to turn into a grumpy old man. But in the modern world, this is becoming incredibly difficult. I'm swimming against the tide.
Having said that, my friend Miles pointed out that at least Hoppo was being introduced to a younger generation, and that surely, is a good thing. He could well be right. I had a quick look at the BBC website for the programme, and reckon that half the commentators liked the background music, and the other half couldn't stand it. I suspect that this later half is over 40 years in age. I need to move with the times.
On a completely different tack: has anyone out there attempted to make my "Gratin of Marrow with White Beans and Rocket Pesto"? If you haven't yet, don't. I made it a few days ago; followed my own instructions to the letter- and the result was bloody awful. I steamed the marrow and then amalgamated it with the bean stew. The stew was fine: nice and thick. But the steamed marrow was stringy, and reminded me of the austere fare they served up at Dotheby's Hall. I need to go back to the drawing board with this one. As the great Eric Thompson (of Dougal and the Blue Cat Fame) one said: "If you can't fail, you can't do anything".