My Celebrity Life

I never want to hear ‘calorie’ uttered on Bake Off again

My Celebrity Life –
No one watches Bake Off for salad recipes or health advice (Picture: C4)

‘This is an astonishingly good biscuit… worth every calorie.’

No, that isn’t a quote from a diet ad, but rather words straight out of Prue Leith’s mouth on Great British Bake Off.

Yes, Bake Off, the light and fluffy, quintessentially British baking show with jaunty music, terrible puns, and a real sense of comfort whenever you sit down in front of the telly to watch.

Alas, its cosy nature has been tarnished by Prue’s comments for years now, perpetuating diet culture again and again.

Not much has changed since 2018, when barely half an hour into episode one of series nine Prue said ‘no it’s not [healthy], but it is worth the calories.’

Oh, there is so much to unpack in that statement alone.

Firstly, no one watches Bake Off for salad recipes or health advice.

Secondly, using words like ‘worth’ to describe food implies to me the right to eat is something to be ‘earned.’ It suggests food has a moral value. It suggests that, in fact, we were not born deserving of delicious food and being a living, breathing human being on this Earth is not enough to warrant tucking into a cake or an apple pie.

Suggesting that foods high in calories must be ‘worth it’ in order for us to enjoy them implies we’re making a sacrifice when we eat baked goods. It suggests we’re being naughty or cheating on our bodies.

Phrases like, ‘This is about as fattening as you can get’ play right into the hands of an eating disorder and imply to millions of viewers that certain foods are sinful and should be feared, and there’ll be something to ‘make up for’ afterwards.

Hearing things like this on TV makes me want to roll my eyes so far back into my head that they’ll never come back out and have to watch another pastry being eaten on Bake Off while fixating on its calorific value.

I grew up with shows like Supersize vs Superskinny and The Biggest Loser. I grew up watching Cassie in Skins offer an instruction manual on how to develop an eating disorder. Now that my relationship with food is healing, after suffering from anorexia, the very last thing I want to hear on a cooking programme is calories being demonised – it’s taken me so long to learn that they aren’t the devil in disguise.

When I tune into Bake Off, I don’t do it because I want to trigger my eating disorder. I don’t watch it for weight loss tips or to feel ‘guilty.’

I watch Bake Off for the jokes, Noel Fielding’s gaudy shirts, the hilarious moments when bakes go wrong, the impressive showstoppers, the memes, and to feel annoyed that Smell-O-Vision doesn’t yet exist.

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What makes Bake Off so special, and why I believe it’s been taken into the hearts of the nation, is its escapism. It’s an escape from violent diet culture that is shoved down our throats in every diet ad, every influencer promoting a skinny tea, and every movie portraying fat people as ‘the joke.’

Bake Off has such an infectious warmth to it that makes your insides feel fuzzy and content because, for the most part, it’s lighthearted, wholesome and comforting. But when they start piping up about calories and weight, the show becomes cold and stale.

It’s time for Bake Off to ditch the reminders about calories and fatness.

Children watch Bake Off, and I’m so glad younger generations have an antidote to all the diet shows I grew up with. It just loses some of its loveliness when its judges imply we should be worrying about every morsel of food entering our bodies.

This show is about the joy that comes from consuming delights like sticky toffee puddings, cinnamon buns, lemon tarts and twisted loaves.

All I want is to see the judges have their cake and eat it.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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