The Great British Bake Off

Ok, I’ll be honest, me and Mrs Mo are totally obsessed with this programme. Although now our hero and favourite Jason has gone we may be less keen, I can’t tell.

What is it about this programme that has everyone I know who has seen it totally hooked? Anyone who watches it seems to love it. Even big manly men who wouldn’t know one end of a brandy snap from the other.

It’s a number of things I think: it’s a very innocent non judgemental reality show. There’s something nostalgic about all the Emma Bridgewater china. And Mel and Sue, who were actually famous about 15 years ago. Mary Berry is a modern day miracle – stuffing herself with cakes all day and yet as thin and sprightly as if she were a 16 year old nymph.

But I think baking is such very attractive reality show-fare for two reasons. It is an expression and enjoyment of our God-given instinct to create and to bring beautiful order to creation. God is not all “back-to-nature” on us, wanting us to deconstruct all the things we have done with his raw materials – we all have the desire in us to take what he has made and create out of it. It is part of his image that he has placed in us. And whilst so much of what we create seems destructive and ugly – electricity pylons and rubbish tips – baking creates something that smells and looks beautiful and pleasing. Unless you are Rob the contestant, in which case it means creating something that isn’t really finished properly.

The second thing I think is so nice is the sheer other centredness of baking. So many of the contestants have learned to bake, not because they particularly love quiches and meringue pies, but because they have families, friends, partners, who love those things. Baking is so often about bringing others pleasure. There is nothing so satisfying for these creators than other people enjoying the fruits of their labours. Again, in that, they are imaging the God who made them.

So much creativity in other spheres today has only to do with self expression. With so much art, others understanding and appreciation is not only secondary  but actually almost totally irrelevant, as long as the artist is getting “out there” whatever is important to them. Often, with modern art, even the artist doesn’t know what it’s saying, and far from being a means to connect and speak to others, most modern artistic expressions don’t even count as a possibility that you might even communicate anything, positive or negative to others.

In that context, the beautiful, somewhat innocent, other people focussed art of baking is refreshing, gentle, reminscent of what we could be. And so, it’s nice to watch – people creating for the benefit of other people, recipes and tips learned by watching the faces of your loved ones consuming what you have made.

What’s more, Paul Hollywood showed his need of divine insight by getting rid of Jason. 😦

One thought on “The Great British Bake Off

  1. YES!! I should have known the McCrackens would also be fans. I thought I’d go off it after the Rob-and-Jason-double-eviction trauma (and the quarter final was a bit mumsy for my liking) but my devotion seems to be holding steady. Although it’s made me very judgmental of other people’s baking. I literally used the phrase “that’s a good bake” in response to Lewis’s brownie efforts at Relay 1…

    Also, have you seen the cover of “The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake”? It features Queen Mary and… Rob?! Brandishing a victoria sponge he almost certainly didn’t produce. Now I don’t want to cast aspersions on TGBBO, but I do wonder if that’s how he managed to stay in so long…

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