Cooking channel gains another fan, all thanks to rugby

2011-10-20 00:00

PEOPLE who know me will be goggle-eyed to see a story about rugby with my name to it. I am known for the rude things I regularly say about the sport rather than any support of it. When my son had to start playing it at school, I threatened to have a day-glo rainbow-coloured T-shirt made saying “**** rugby, anyone for tennis?”

All the same, I felt it my patriotic parental responsibility to do duty in front of the TV with Jason to watch the Springboks quarter-final game. Armed with our early morning mugs of tea we settled down. Jason soon lost interest as there wasn’t enough action and wandered off to entertain himself by annoying his sleepy sister.

Taking my responsibility seriously, I stayed and ended up shouting obscenities at the referee like hundreds of thousands of other people were doing that Sunday morning. My understanding of the rules of the game is (very) limited, but even I could see from the looks on the players’ faces that “Blind Lawson” was making some very iffy decisions.

Eventually, I couldn’t take the tension and, being in the most unusual position of having the television to myself — and, it must be said, the remote — I started to channel surf. As a result, I had a life-changing experience and have entered a whole new dimension. I have discovered cooking channels.

Not being particularly interested in cooking, except as a necessary chore that my gender is somehow miraculously supposed to qualify me for, I have never watched a cookery programme. What a revelation! I chanced upon an edition of MasterChef. Who dreamt that cooking could produce such great television? There was drama, humour, colourful characters made all the more entertaining by being real people, plus tension aplenty. Six well-known United States chefs were battling it out with coriander, cumin and chopping knives. They had to create a dish for a football tail-gating party, which is much like a pre-rugby match braai. During the cookout, the tension because so intense I was tempted to turn back to the rugby.

One of the six chefs was going to be eliminated by the critics and football fans. Who would it be? One of the wily old warhorses with more than 30 years in the restaurant game or the showy young Asian upstart who’d never been to a football match, let alone a tail-gating party? Perhaps the brooding New Yorker or the jaunty woman chef, who was always worrying about her timing? Watching them sweat through the judging was so excruciating that I was almost grateful when I had to switch off and return to maternal breakfast duties.

In-between making toast and warming milk for cereal, I sneaked a peek to see who was going home — ag shame, it was one of the grey beards.

With the zeal of a new convert, I’m telling anyone who will listen about how great cooking programmes are, and all thanks to rugby. Who’d have thought?



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