Alastair Morton writes:

In recent years cookery shows have picked up and amplified a wide range of consumer trends, from Gary Rhodes’ rock-chef rebelliousness of the mid ’90s to the apparent ‘authenticity’ of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares providing, at times, gripping viewing.

This thought was brought home to me by Delia’s latest offering – more a case of ‘How to Cheat at Tapping into Trends’ than a food heaven. The premise is clearly to help out the ‘time-starved’ consumer, but there’s more than a pinch of ‘community connections’ with both family and tribal (Norwich City FC) references, topped off last week by a good slug of Catholicism to tap into the search for meaning. And let’s not forget about ‘health and wellness’ – tinned food as nutritious as its fresh counterpart? Well, I could go on.

I know that different trends play out in different ways for different people, and that Delia’s trying to stand out in a crowded market where there’s also a significant movement towards ethical food and slow food, with Hugh and Jamie’s respective chicken liberation fronts leading the charge. But beyond the fact that not all trends pull in the same direction, Delia’s approach comes unstuck, at least for me, because I think the joy in cooking is in the dream of what you’re going to create, from start to finish, and not just opening the relevant cans or defrosting the right pellets.

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