Daily Mail

Nadiya’s trip left an odd taste in the mouth ... and it wasn’t the bug crisps

- CHRISTO­PHER STEVENS Noel Edmonds · Iceland · Belgium · Finland · Austria · Thailand · Belarus · Bangladesh

THE re­volt­ing sight of Noel ed­monds glug­ging a snail smoothie on I’m A Celebrity is sup­posed to be gross- out fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment — not sci-fi.

But ac­cord­ing to Bake Off’s Nadiya hus­sain, that’s what we’ll all be drink­ing at the end of the world, to wash down a meal of silk­worm lar­vae served with ant caviar.

Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey (BBC1) took us to an haute cui­sine res­tau­rant in Thai­land, where a swivel-eyed chef called Dooms­day Mike pre­pared ‘meals of the fu­ture’ from in­sects.

Munch­ing on a grasshop­per, he an­nounced that af­ter Ar­maged­don we’d have no choice but to eat in­sects: ‘This will be the last source of pro­tein for hu­mans.’ here’s a nasty thought, Dooms­day Mike — with all the nu­clear ra­di­a­tion, those cock­roaches will be ten feet high . . . and they might eat you.

Gamely, Nadiya showed us how to make crisps with pow­dered crick­ets. It wasn’t the most dis­taste­ful recipe of her trav­el­ogue, not by some dis­tance. By ac­ci­dent, Nadiya (whose fam­ily came to eng­land from Bangladesh) re­vealed that au­then­tic South­east Asian food — rather than Western­ised ver­sions — may be the least ap­petis­ing in the world.

ev­ery meal is flavoured with a fer­mented fish paste that she de­scribed as ‘ pun­gent like blue cheese’ — in other words, it stinks. And noo­dle dishes such as Pad Thai are laden with sugar, which is like sprin­kling Sil­ver Spoon over your spaghetti bolog­nese.

For dessert, there’s a mushy pear called a durian, said to be the world’s smelli­est fruit, which reeks so badly it has to be wrapped in plas­tic even when sold in a street mar­ket. Nadiya’s trans­la­tor said it smelled like a sewer.

The whole show left an odd taste in the mouth. We spent the first five min­utes watch­ing Nadiya’s three chil­dren tear­fully telling her how much they didn’t want her to go away for two weeks. These days it’s nor­mal to rel­ish the sight of celebs pushed ‘out­side their com­fort zone’ but it’s dis­turb­ing to see this hap­pen­ing to ado­les­cents.

Nadiya spent much of the hour in tears — guilt-rid­den at the spec­ta­cle of poverty, miss­ing her fam­ily and re­mem­ber­ing her grand­fa­ther in Bangladesh.

When a glimpse of wa­ter buf­falo started her sob­bing, I be­gan to worry that solo trav­el­ling isn’t healthy for her. Alan Whicker she’s not. The premise for her trip was a DNA test that re­vealed she has Thai, Cam­bo­dian and Nepalese an­ces­try. Nadiya seemed to think this meant she was per­son­ally re­lated to ev­ery­one she met, and kept thank­ing them ‘for mak­ing me feel like fam­ily’.

Shaky sci­ence was the ba­sis of Ba­bies: Their Won­der­ful World (BBC2) as it con­tin­ued a se­ries of half-baked ex­per­i­ments on tots. Par­ents were asked to sit in front of their six-month-olds and stu­diously ig­nore them for two min­utes, no mat­ter how much they wept and pleaded for at­ten­tion. It was so un­pleas­ant to watch that I com­pletely missed what­ever the­ory it was sup­posed to ‘prove’.

Pre­sen­ter Dr Guddi Singh as­sured us that such an up­set­ting ex­pe­ri­ence couldn’t pos­si­bly harm the chil­dren — they were just ba­bies, af­ter all. But the rest of the show ar­gued the op­po­site, by claim­ing that ba­bies even at one week old were sur­pris­ingly aware of the world.

And surely no one could trust a word psy­chol­o­gists say, af­ter see­ing cruel footage from the Fifties of baby mon­keys de­prived of all love and phys­i­cal con­tact.

The wretched crea­tures clung to any­thing for com­fort, even scraps of car­pet — and these too were taken away from them.

This sadis­tic, hate­ful ex­per­i­ment was ut­terly dis­cred­ited. What on earth was the point of show­ing it to us?

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