My Obsession With The Great British Baking Show

Late one night drinking red wine spritzers in front of my computer trying to find something interesting to watch on Netflix I glanced for the umpteenth time at the logo for the Great British Baking Show .  British people baking?  They made that into a tv series?  Well for what ever reason this particular night I clicked on the link and thought:  I’ll just check this out I can always turn it off.  I was up until 3 am that night unable to stop watching.

Now I can’t wait to see the entire series!

I’ve always hated and been perplexed by the reality TV thing.  Why couldn’t we just be happy to watch people who knew how to cook – cook?  Why does it always have to be put in the context of a competition? With this show I finally get it, our elated to some of the contestants your root for them, hope what ever it is they are making turns out…cringe and yell at your screen when they are choose best or given words of praise.  It’s all so very manipulative!  At least this show is more gentle than mean.  It features a grandmotherly woman (Mary Berry) and baking: how mean could it be?

It has a mildly bitchy side in the form of Mr Hollywood,  who went he gets super critical might tell you that your cake is dry or looks a mess.  

Someone does gets “eliminated” every episode, but at least done it’s done with a generous spirit, maybe I’m just making excuses because I love it so much?

What really has me so engaged in watching the show are the actual challenges.  It’s hard for someone who cooks like I do, to not think: what would I have made?  Or how would I have done?  Some of the things they’re asked to do are kind of insane, like the free-standing sculptured piece made from “biscuits” (or cookies as we would call them on this side of the pond).  Or all the individual stuff that needs to be perfect. Or the use of piping bags! I have an unnatural fear of those desserts that require excessive Martha Stewart decoration. Creative baked Alaska? You gotta be kidding me. I’d be asked off first thing!

The end result of this obsession is that it has me trying to learn more and up my game.  My last post about Brioche is an example of this: the reason I want to try all 4 recipes is because I don’t want to be complacent with the easy one that worked, but rather see what the differences are and indeed if I can make the other, more challenging ones.

Friday I’m once again going to try to make a Lemon Meringue Layer Cake.  This time I’m giving myself a full three days to prepare and assemble it.   Hopefully it will be more successful than the Italian meringue coconut cake I tried last year made with 4 discs of constantly moving layers lubed up by slippery icing that never set.

Tell me am I the only one with this obsession? Anyone else bing watching the Great British Baking Show?

IMG_0429Heres the cake as it looks in the cookbook, wish me luck!


About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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10 Responses to My Obsession With The Great British Baking Show

  1. cbcreates says:

    Just last weekend our friend was giving us pretty much the same report of the show and his unexpected enjoyment of the series! We rolled our eyes at first, but he persisted until we were piqued. Now you’re backing it up and I’m resolving to watch it this week!

  2. Mara says:

    I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the show, too. It didn’t have the over-the-top bells and whistles of American cooking competitions…just a group of lovely people who were passionate about baking. -Mara @

  3. I recently had a marathon of this show too! I love it. Little bummed there is only one season on Netflix.

  4. Leslie-Anne says:

    I had never even heard of it until I came across the cookbook at the library earlier this month. And now you’re mentioning it. I need to check out the show! From the book, I’m looking forward to baking the Cherry and Almond Battenberg Cake.

  5. Pingback: Snow Storm Menus and Sour Dough Bread | Urbanfoodguy

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