I'm a bit strange when it comes to new things. Sometimes I'm an avid early-adopter - the first one onboard in a new fandom, or buying a book the first day it is out. Other times I'm a lagging late-adopter; only catching onto some new gadget after hearing everyone else's good reviews. But when it comes to the subject of tonight's post, I am very, very tardy to the party. I'm talking about Jamie Oliver.
A quick Google tells me he was first on our television screens in 1999 - can you believe that? Over ten years he's been part of the culinary landscape. I vaguely recall people rabbitting on about him whilst I was at university, and one of my cousins in particular was a bit obsessed, collecting all his cookbooks. I, meanwhile, had watched the odd episode of School Lunches or Ministry of Food and not thought that much more about him. Until recently.
The reason for my late, great obsession with Jamie is solely due to one thing: his show Jamie at Home. It's being (re?)-run on two different channels here at the moment, and it has bewitched me. I am not even clear on why, but let me tell you all the things I think are wonderful about it.
- Brian the hairy gardener. At first I was like "who is this homeless begger who has wandered onto the set?" but now his taciturn nature and boundless knowledge about organic gardening have won me over.
- I'm learning things. Like how to roast a capsicum. Or blanch things. I'm pretty sure noone in my house or my mother's has ever blanched a vegetable. But should I want to, I now know how.
- Jamie is not fussy. He just chucks stuff in a bowl or pan and mixes it up. He hardly ever seems to measure things, but when he does, he uses an old kitchen scale that looks like my nannas.
- He doesn't use strange ingredients. Sure, there's a few herbs I've never encountered before, but I chalk that up to my own ignorance. There's nothing too complicated about the recipes on this show, and I LOVE that fact. It makes me feel like YES, I COULD MAKE THAT TOMATO SALAD. And is that not the mark of a good cooking show?
- He makes me want to eat vegetables. I am dying to try to make his Zucchini Carbonara. Did you know zucchinis are also called corgettes? Another thing I learned!
All of these things are great, but the best (and possibly most disasterous) thing that has happened from my new devotion to this show is that I have become inspired to plant a herb garden. I am positive if I have a basil plant or some parsley or mint at my immediate disposal I will use them in my cooking more.
Watch this space...