Over the past week, whilst I’ve been grinding my gathering and crafting classes on Final Fantasy XIV I’ve also stuck something to watch on my Huawei MediaPad T3 10, it’s usually been a film that I already know and love but I also like to have something in that doesn’t require a lot of attention to know whats going on.
James May’s “Oh Cook” has been perfect for this.
Admittedly any cookery show would be fine as just a background distraction, but what makes James May’s show different from all the other is that he claims not to be able to cook. This then is a show that’s for everyone, particularly those of you who don’t mind seeing a middle-aged man go off on a tangent about why the Hawker Hurricane was the real hero of the Battle of Britain.
It’s not, however, that May can’t cook, he’s actually good at it, but he’s more like a normal person would be in their own kitchen, clumsy chopping and everything. Sure he’s got a better-prepared kitchen than most, but he’s open about the fact it’s mostly a TV kitchen and he makes no effort to mask the production methods that go into making a TV cookery show. You’ll see his interactions with the production crew, his annoyance with their delays to capture everything on camera in the most aesthetically pleasing way, and his disdain for having to avoid using brand names “Alphabetti Spaghetti”.
He’s typically amusing, painfully old-fashioned (but not in the xenophobic way that he and his The Grand Tour chums can be when they’re all together, more in an “I’ve had this rotary cheese grated since I was at university way” and likes to share anecdotes and tidbits of trivia with his viewers. You know, all the things that Clarkson and Hammond have spent the seventeen years mocking him for.
Throughout the series, you’ll get to watch him and his home economist, Nicky (who has done all the behind the scenes stuff for most of TV’s top chefs) cook a different type of cuisine each episode, with James also being let loose to try and turn some pantry staples into something new (but rarely wonderful) and pretty much everything is something simple that you or I can cook in our own kitchen without needing to go to the supermarket to pick up some obscure ingredient we’ll only use once.