Jamie Oliver means well, doesn’t he? Yes, he makes sweeping statements about people’s diets without considering the underlying issues, but he’s on an admirable mission to ensure kids eat proper food. With that in mind, a supportive tone is called for.
But then he makes a series like Jamie’s Money Saving Meals (Channel 4, 8pm), and irksome Jamie is back, like a whack of his favourite chilli. The trouble is that the show leaves realism at the door. Jamie’s enthusiasm is engaging but his exaggeration of speedy prep times is annoying, he uses a store cupboard the size of Sainsbury’s, and it’s pointless pretending a home-cooked korma beats a delivery from a curry house. It never will.
But, as I was saying, a supportive tone is called for. There were valuable tips, like stretching your Sunday roast into fried rice, saving the seeds wimps scrape from chillies to grow your own, and making a pizza base. Yet for someone who never stops banging on about Italian food, why not spin a traditional thin pizza with minimal toppings? Delicious! Super cheap! Instead we got a fat doughy base, squeezed out sausages and some Cheddar.
Other irritations were meatloaf dumped on spaghetti, presumably to sell the show/book to the US, and a horrendous fish pie. Fish pie doesn’t need carrots, English mustard or peas, but in they went. Then - and this will haunt me for weeks - he dolloped baked beans over the top. I think this act of culinary homicide happened in slow motion. And this from a man teaching us how to cook?