Fish and quips for Mary
JUST in case you’re planning to ask her over for dinner sometime soon, I should warn you there’s a particular fish that Mary Berry’s not keen on. “I don’t like gurnard,” she informs a cheery fishmonger chappy in MARY BERRY’S SIMPLE COMFORTS ( BBC2, 8pm).
Somewhat surprised, this fishmongering fellow asks: “Why not?” To which Mary replies: “I don’t like the way they look at me.”
Now, I appreciate this may seem a fairly trivial exchange – the episode is mostly about Mary’s trip to Ireland, where this market in Cork is her first port of call – but I have to say I find the whole encounter quite refreshing.
TV cooks tend to focus so much on the food they adore, and on finding ever more effusive ways to describe it, that their culinary passions are rarely put into perspective. Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, and don’t let’s knock them for it, but, well, it’s just not normal to like everything you eat, is it?
And if you’re constantly implying that you do, sooner or later I’m going to start questioning your judgment.
So, yes, huge respect to Mary Berry for her honesty. She doesn’t like gurnard and she’s jolly well not afraid to say so.
I only hope she continues in this vein in future shows. Not by repeatedly reminding us of this gurnard aversion – she’s made herself perfectly clear on that, there’s no need to bang on about it – but by pointing out one or two further dislikes, just to remind us how discerning she is.
On a separate note, I also love the specific reason she gives for this fish- related phobia. A problem with the flavour? Or the texture, perhaps? Nope. It’s the way they look at her. This only makes me love her even more.
I’m not aware that Nadiya Hussain, Mary’s fellow former Bake- Offer, has mentioned any of her own foodie dislikes. But then she’s half a century younger, so I don’t suppose she’s in any rush.
For now, she’s continuing her NADIYA BAKES series ( BBC2, 8.30pm) with, among other treats, a pie she’s particularly passionate about (“Who doesn’t love pies?”).
To be precise, she’s putting together a chicken and pink peppercorn puff pastry pithivier, even though that’s way too many Ps for one recipe.
And inside it she’s hidden – well, golly me – an entire brie.
I say “hidden” – it’s not as if you’ll win any prizes for finding it.
Elsewhere, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: 20 YEARS AND COUNTING
( Channel 4, 8pm) recalls househunts where the buyers also had business needs.
They include a pair who, like so many of us, urgently needed room for their camels.