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Monday, March 20, 2017

British Baking Shows vs. American Baking Shows

We've been watching The Great British Baking Show. I start an episode and before I know it, the whole family is in watching it with me. It's enjoyable and fun.

Our family loves watching cooking competition shows. Iron Chef, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and Cutthroat Kitchen, all are on our list to watch. But the competition in those is fierce and sometimes edges over into hostility. They aren't always nice; in fact, the shows encourage trash talk and similar behavior. The chefs are good sports about it, but it still sometimes rubs me the wrong way.

The GBBS, on the other hand, while still being very competitive, has a feeling of camaraderie and support. It's each baker pitted against their own recipes, not each other. In many episodes, when a baker is in trouble, other contestants jump in to lend a hand. No one gets punished for this. No points are deducted. When the judges, Paul and Mary (who are a hoot to watch), judge the dishes, they do expect it to be done correctly and will call the bakers out if the dish isn't up to snuff, but they also compliment those things that worked well. They give positive critiques of the food. And it is all about the food. When the bakers mess up, they own it. No excuses. No blaming someone else or circumstances, even when it really wasn't their fault. They take full blame for the dishes not being good enough. They don't play the victim and whine about it.

The GBBS is a much more positive experience than the American cooking competition shows. I don't know if it's because the bakers are amateurs, although very good ones, or if it's the overall friendly tone of the show. Either way, it's a fun romp through recipes that I probably would never try.

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