Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Future Of British Baking

As we all know there's nothing as entertaining as The Great British Baking Show. It's a fun yet refreshingly gentle romp through competitive baking. Unlike American reality shows, there's no cattiness or backstabbing. It as soothing as a slice of Victoria Sponge cake with a good cup of tea. Yet, it's future is being threatened. Will it be the same?Or a blander, less sweet version.

That was one of the questions posed by Melissa Clark who took a break from her A Good Appetite column to write this in today's New York Times Food section.. "The Great British Bake Off "or as it's known here in the States, "The Great British baking Show" (the phrase "bake off can;t be used because Pillsbury has the exclusive rights to it). The show  had good anchors and.hosts, Paul Hollywood and  Mary Berry were fair and sometimes strict judges but in the end, they always chose appropriately. The hosts, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins gave us witty, as only the British can, puns and  sisterly encouragement to all contestants.The contestants themselves were an egalitarian mix of all classes and all races.The last winner was the bubbly and skilled Nadiya Hussain. Even though she was born to Bangladeshi parents  and wore a hajib, this Luton born Brit was just sassy and funny as Sue and Mel. She added pop and fizz to such classics like gingerbread - she added cayenne -and oomphing up croquembouches with such flavors as bubble gum and peppermint.

Now the show is in what could be serious trouble. The show is heading over to Channel 4 from BBC.Only Hollywood went with them. The other three quit out of loyalty to the station. How will this affect the show? Who will replace them? There's no talk or even suggestion of replacements. The show has given the world and Britain a renewed interest in such British classics as the Victoria Sponge and Eccles cakes, More and more Brits are baking and getting back into  cake decorating. There has been an uptick in icing and piping tools at Hobbycraft , a UK version of our hobby shop , Michael's  There are also more baking classes being offered and in such diverse recipes as potato farl from Northern Ireland and Welsh fruit and tea loaf.Ms. Clark includes two recipes the aforementioned  Victoria Sponge and Mary Berry's lemon drizzle cake. Both are relatively easy to bake and construct. The first is a simple plain sponge with a raspberry jam and fresh whipped cream filling while the other is simple butter snack cake with a crusty lemon sugar topping.

There will always be an England. There will hopefully be a Great British Baking Show. It shows the best of the British people and their loves of cakes. Rule Britannia and the Brits who bake.

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