By Emma Grimes
Recently I came down with a bad 24 hour head cold that had me bed-ridden and I decided to start watching The Great British Bake Off on Netflix, a series I had never seen before.
There has always been something so comforting to me about cookery shows. My love of baking stems from a childhood spent in my granny’s house as, sadly, my parents were in and out of hospital with my sister for years. Of course, as much as I missed them, I adored the novelty of staying in a house where my older cousin and aunt also lived and I got to have a part-time cheeky older brother, and of course as grandmothers tend to do, I was given a lot of treats (something we never got at home).
That time staying with my grandparents sparked a hobby that took up a lot of hours of my adolescence – baking. My granny showed us how to make cakes and buns and icing and my cousin and I would fight over who got to lick the bowl. I loved it so much that I when I got older and was allowed to use an oven myself I would bake cookies and cupcakes and birthday cakes (my specialty was a lemon madeira cake). My late grandad loved flapjacks so I’d often make him his own batch and leave them up in my granny’s kitchen, knowing he’d have them with tea while watching David Attenborough later that evening.
Watching GBBO, I could relate to the contestants describing the feeling baking gave them; watching your friends and family enjoy something that you’ve made gives you a great sense of achievement. This is probably why I never bake for myself; there’s no point if you’re not sharing your creations with someone and feeling chuffed when they ask for another helping.
I have loved watching cookery programmes from a young age too. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything from any of the shows I watched but it’s the next best thing to standing on chair beside my granny or my mam and watching them weigh out the ingredients meticulously so that the flour isn’t one ounce over. It’s like waiting impatiently to lick the sickly sweet mixture from the battered Kenwood chef mixer my parents got as a wedding present in the mid eighties. Delia, Nigella and Jamie; there is something so comforting about watching them.
With Netflix comes new ways to invent the cookery show. I devoured Ugly Delicious and I’m now binge-watching the GBBO and loving every moment of it. It’s the ultimate Sunday afternoon comfort watch.
We have a home movie where I’m standing in our kitchen making buns aged thirteen and my two younger brothers are both standing on chairs around the counter and every time I turn my back they’re dipping their fingers into the mixture. My sister now does the same thing with her daughter. Some things never change, the tried and tested recipes and fighting over who gets to lick the bowl.