The Secrets of Britain’s Most Popular TV Cooking Programme

Dysentery Seasonalrelish is probably the UK’s latest leading celebrity cook. Her signature dish – the fish finger and tomato ketchup sandwich –according to food experts and TV critics alike – has revolutionised the whole genre of TV cooking shows.

As we all know, cooking programmes on the TV are a form of food porn. People watch these programmes not so much as a guide to how to do it themselves, but as a replacement for doing it themselves. Like porn, it is a displacement activity when the real thing is too much work, trouble or involves inviting people around when you’d much rather be alone. Preferably sitting alone on the sofa in your underwear eating whatever leftovers you can find in the fridge or – on special occasions – warm up from the freezer in the microwave.

This is where Seasonalrelish’s cooking programmes manage to score so highly in the TV popularity charts. Apparently, people would much rather watch free amateur porn on the many available websites than to pay out for professionally produced and ‘acted’ porn on DVD/ Blu-ray or HD streaming. Similarly, most people would much rather eat something that doesn’t require too much arsing about to make.

That is why Seasonalrelish’s fish finger and ketchup sandwich recipe has proved so popular with the viewing public. It is something even the most amateur and unadventurous TV viewer can knock up in the kitchen during the ad-breaks with – most importantly – little or no effort, imagination or sourcing exotic or unusual ingredients. After all, in the more mainstream TV cookery shows there always seems to be in every recipe an ingredient the viewer has never ever seen in their local shops and had never heard of before outside of a specialised nature programme on BBC2.

What Seasonalrelish realised and so many TV cooks have not, is that most people cannot be arsed to spend time in the kitchen. Most TV programme kitchens bear absolutely no relation to the ordinary household kitchen. Many TV studio kitchens have more space than the entire normal household does and more technology and gadgetry than a space launch facility. Consequently, there is little or no resemblance between the kitchen on a TV cooking show and a typical household kitchen. This also includes the ingredient cupboard in an ordinary kitchen, which only often contains several out-of-date sachets of some mix and stir cooking sauces and some tins of dubious ingredients from the last time anyone tried to take a cooking programme seriously. There are usually also a couple of well past their use-by date jars and something that could once have been fresh herbs but now serves as a host for something that resembles an interplanetary alien fungal growth capable of overrunning and destroying the entire planet.

However, most people have things like fish fingers, burgers or those oddly-shaped things made from the sweepings from the floor of a chicken abattoir coated in luminous breadcrumbs. They will even have a slice or two of bread as well as some ketchup or brown sauce, or – in more upmarket households – some mayonnaise.

It is these common ingredients that Seasonalrelish uses to create dishes anyone with the average cooking skills of the typical UK TV watcher can knock up in an advert break, or while the Evening News is on. Thus by actually producing recipes that most people can follow, even after a couple of bottles of wine in front of Poldark – as well as only using the common everyday ingredients most of us have in our kitchens.

All of which has made Seasonalrelish the national TV phenomenon she now is.


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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