I seem to be the only person on planet Earth not to have become obsessively entranced by the Great British Bake Off (the final of which aired last week).
I do get the appeal of it – food mixed with competition mixed with innuendo (make sure Mary’s lady fingers stay nice and erect) makes for a pleasing televisual experience. I have trailed my toe lazily into the Bake Off pool once or twice in my time. If nothing else is on and I can’t be bothered to get up I’ll leave BBC One on and see who’s unable to pop Paul Hollywood’s cherry this week. But I don’ really care about it.
For instance, there are people nation-wide who feel a naughty tingle when the first trailers start airing for it, I’m sure. That initial teasing glimmer of Mel or Sue standing near to a PVC tent most certainly stirs the country out of their dormant desire to watch people they don’t know panicking over an un-risen loaf. There are those that throw parties – so I hear – where they all get together and watch the first episode of a new series. I can only assume that they simultaneously play a drinking game as they go along – one shot every time Paul Hollywood adjusts his shirt-tucked-into-jeans ensemble; two shots every time Mary Berry looks a bit like a wizened governess from a wealthy Dickensian family.
These people then set the show to record on their Sky+ boxes lest they ever go out on a Wednesday night (surely they wouldn’t dream of it). Then they have another party for the final, crying themselves to sleep that night when the person they wanted to win doesn’t (and they find out he lives romantically with a man).
I don’t feel this excitement. I don’t set my planner to record this show. I don’t care.
What’s wrong with me?
Why am I not obsessed with this cult phenomenon? How is it that I have never been seduced by the fruits of temptation that dot the tops of Mary’s famed madeira?
Perhaps it’s simply because the closest I have ever come to baking is standing by the fresh croissants at Sainsbury’s local. Once I extracted some frozen roll-up pastry from the freezers in Waitrose Once I extracted some frozen roll-up pastry from the freezers in Waitrose and looked at it for a while. I contemplated making a cherry pie for some reason. Don’t ask me what the hell was going on with me that day – I have never felt the need to “make” anything really, other than a slightly controversial variation of turkey stir-fry. Needless to say that pastry went back into the freezer and no cherry pie ever materialised in my kitchen. But others watch the Bake Off and literally run to the shops to buy flour and eggs and milk and butter (I think those are baking ingredients) and spend the next 16 hours whipping up a strudel. And then talk about it to each other.
I love Masterchef. I can only imagine this is because it takes place in a nice sparkly kitchen and it’s less twee. It’s more like The Apprentice but with food. Bake Off seems too comfy for me somehow and I just can’t commit. But who knows – maybe next year I’ll finally get bitten by the Bake Off bug.