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Can Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meals turn us into a nation of chefs? I’m not so sure…

July 23, 2010

Jame Oliver, treehouse1977Hold on to your hats, the unthinkable has happened. Jamie Oliver is to front a new series! On television! About cooking!

Okay, so I’m being a bit unfair. I generally enjoy Jamie’s chuck-it-in-the-pan, apples-and-pears routine. But he seems to pop up on every ‘new concept’ cooking programme, particularly ones commissioned by Channel 4.

This latest offering will see Jamie cooking “exciting, varied and seasonal” dishes in 30 minutes, in an arguably misguided attempt to turn people off takeaways.

The makers of Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meals said the series “aims to show that anyone can get a delicious feast on the table in less time than it takes for a takeaway pizza to arrive”. (If you think this sounds familiar, then you’ve watched an identical series called Take on the Takeaway. Looks like Jamie hasn’t been quite as pioneering on this occasion.)

The single overriding problem with these quick-and-easy recipe shows is that we are not a nation of trained chefs. Jamie, Ainsley and Gordon might be able to whip up gourmet meals using 27 raw ingredients in half an hour, but I sure as hell can’t. I don’t know how much is too much, or what I should add to make something sweeter/sharper/better. If I’m trying a new recipe, I’ll need a recipe book and a good long time to get my head around instructions and measurements. It’s a sad but true fact that I just can’t cook thatwell, and while Jamie’s 30-minute dinners might inspire me to try something new, I doubt I’ll be up for trying to match his speed and skill in the kitchen. Especially not after a day at work.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Jamie’s relatively simplistic style will have me cooking happily along with him when the series airs this autumn. I’ll leave this with a To be continued…

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