A new series of Masterchef Australia starts on TV tonight - and Mr B, the Middle of the Darling Daughters and I are all looking forward to a veritable feast of food and fun, laughter and tears. What's more, it's
on for weeks and weeks to come. Pleasure unlimited!
Mr B and I don't watch that much Reality TV but when we do, it's usually those series where participants are seriously challenged (i) to tackle
something they have never tried before (like Strictly Come Dancing) or (ii) to extend the boundaries of their expertise (like Masterchef.) And while we enjoy our own, home-grown Masterchef programme, the big plus for the Australian
version is that you get to know the participants so much better, as you follow them through their trials and tribulations, to triumphant victory - or tearful defeat. We happened upon the programme by chance a couple of years ago and now we are completely
Considering that we are both the most basic of cooks, it's surprising how much pleasure Mr B and I gain from watching contestants cook up meals that we wouldn't even begin to try for
ourselves. We are super critical, too, we armchair chefs. "Lumpy mash!" we agree with the judges, turning up our noses as if we have never, ever allowed the teeniest, weeniest lump to evade our potato masher. "Very poor arrangement,"
we tut, "The food looks really unappetising..." You'd think, to hear us, that we always serve up perfect plates of food fit to grace the kitchen of Gordon or Jamie or any other celebrity cook you care to mention. The truth is somewhat different
and sobering in the extreme.
Yes, I admit it, I was the person who once served up a meal of steamed fish, mashed potato and - guess what? - cauliflower. It was a totally white dish
which sort of merged, helplessly, into the white plate on which it was presented. To be fair, everyone ate it so it can't have tasted too bad - but my "All White Dinner" has gone down in family folklore, never to be forgotten.
Then again, I was the mother who would never allow the small guests attending my off-spring's birthday parties to take their slice of birthday cake home. Oh, dear me, no - that way, their mothers
would discover the alarming dip at the centre of my cake, a fact cunningly disguised by lavish application of icing and other deceitful decorations. "Best to eat it now!" I would advise the littl'uns, in the kind of voice that brooks no opposition.
Terrified, the poor little things always obliged.
It's safe to say, therefore, that it is unlikely in the extreme that you will see me in any future Masterchef programme. To be honest, the
same goes for Strictly Come Dancing (no sense of rhythm), Dancing on Ice (no sense of balance), Celebrity Big Brother (not famous enough), X Factor (not talented enough), or that Jungle programme (no survival instinct.)
But we can't all be contestants, can we? It just doesn't work that way. Some of us have to be the audience.
That'll be me, then.