The Great British Baking Show — Holidays #BriFri #TVReview
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Last week, I reviewed several British films that I saw in the last couple of months. Jean read Lost at Sea, a collection of explorations on a variety of topics by Jon Ronson. Gaele reviewed four books: Lord of the Pies (audio) by Nell Hampton, A Daughter’s Christmas Wish by Victoria Cornwall, New Arrivals at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke, and The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley.
I lost count of the number people who recommend The Great British Baking Show to me. It seems like a natural, right? Obviously, I’m entranced by all things British. My participation in Weekend Cooking is sporadic, now, but has been frequent in the past. How could I not want to see this show that combines two things that I love?
The problem is my weird physical and mental reaction to baked goods.
The physical damage is caused by sodium which promotes bloating and raises my blood pressure. It’s not obvious to most people, but many baked goods have a lot of sodium. In a conventional cake, cookie, or quick bread, there’s sodium in the form of salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
I do better with yeast breads, but only if they’re home made. Commercial yeast breads account for a significant portion of sodium intake for many modern Americans because manufacturers add so much salt — “healthy” whole wheat breads are the worst offenders. Even small bake shops add more sodium to their loaves than is required because Americans are used to salty bread.
Here’s the mental problem for me. All of the above doesn’t make me want baked goods any less. And, eating a little makes me want to eat a lot, even though I know it has a bad impact on my body.
Most of the time, I can keep a reasonable balance with careful techniques:
- I bake whole wheat bread with freshly ground flour in a bread machine
- Rick occasionally bakes brownies using no-sodium baking powder
- I bake yeast breads in cake-like flavors: pumpkin, applesauce, chocolate chip
- I use my yeast breads to make bread puddings
- I treat bakery displays as art work — beautiful to look at, but not something I touch
So, I’ve been really concerned about messing with my careful equilibrium here. I don’t want a TV show to suddenly make it difficult to stick to the few home made baked goods that work for me and develop irresistible cravings for cakes and cookies that mess up my body and mind.
But, it’s the Christmas season when pretty much everyone’s reasonable balance tilts a bit toward the indulgent side. Netflix curated a short two-episode “season” of The Great British Baking Show specials that showcase Christmas baking. So, I decided that I would watch just that much as part of my festive December.
As everyone predicted, I was completely charmed. The Great British Baking Show is extremely relaxing to watch. Who would have guessed? The competition makes it just exciting enough to keep up interest, but not so stressful that it raises the tension for the viewer. And, of course, everything is delightfully British with a friendly camaraderie among the bakers, who are as diverse as the British Empire once was.
The holiday episodes really captured the season, complete with Christmas jumpers (the British term for sweaters), fake snow, and lots of great decorations in the tent.
The holiday special episodes were the gateway drug for me. Now, I’m watching all the seasons of The Great British Baking Show that Netflix has to offer. The Great British Baking Show is also available via the PBS Passport, a perk of my membership to my local PBS station.
I have some hope that my fears of craving and overeating won’t come to pass. Nothing that is made on The Great British Baking Show is anything that I would try at home. Most items aren’t anything that I expect to have available after a typical restaurant meal.
The lack of opportunity to replicate the experience of eating the beautiful and delicious baked goods from the show have, so far, resulted in very little mental and no physical after-effects. Although, if anyone can recommend a place to get a Baked Alaska with mint-chip ice cream in St. Louis, do let me know.
Are you a fan of The Great British Baking Show?
I’ll link this post to Weekend Cooking tomorrow. Check out Beth Fish Reads every Saturday for Weekend Cooking with links to book reviews, restaurant reviews, recipes, and other culinary adventures.
I haven’t seen the British Baking show but I wouldn’t mind viewing if our library gets a copy. I love my library – it lets me armchair travel while I can’t and of course, I learn things.
Low sodium baking powder? I didn’t know you could get it with low sodium. I will certainly look for that. The holiday time with all the treats coming in the office can be dangerous and I can relate to going overboard. If I resist it then by the time I decided to eat a doughnut or cookie, I find it so incredibly sweet. My husband and I lost a lot of weight avoiding sweets and eating mostly vegetarian for a while. So now we are extra cautious.
We order it from Amazon. I don’t think I’ve seen it in stores: https://www.amazon.com/Hain-Foods-Featherweight-Baking-Powder/dp/B004GWW042?th=1
Thank you for the link! We are big Amazon shoppers. I’m trying to keep it healthy. I’ve made it 62 years so far and would love to have a long healthy retirement!
I agree with you Joy, most of the things they make I am not going to try at home so it is just really fun watching! This summer when I was in the UK we went to a high tea and some of the delights I was familiar with from the show so I didn’t have to ask my niece to interpret for me!
My mom enjoys the show, but I’ve never watched it. I’d like to, I just haven’t gotten to it…
I scour the GBBS for the ancient / unusual recipes – and occasionally the biscuit ones -but I love the combinations that the contestants come up with – things that I wouldn’t normally look at that I can add to my own baking at home.
I’m a big fan of the show and have seen all the seasons aired on PBS so far. Like you, I’m not tempted to make any of the things they bake. I’m very content with watching all the techniques, learning about new recipes, rooting for my favorite bakers, and enjoying the antics of the hosts. Love the set — those pastel colored baking stations and mixers are so pleasing to the eye, and I also appreciate their choice to feature diverse contestants.
Yes! exactly — I love the show and the true friendships that seem to develop. Plus I really learn something from watching and the cast is wonderfully diverse in all ways: age, culture, background, and lifestyle. There is something relaxing about it, even if you don’t really want to replicate the baking.
Thanks for the tip about the GBBS Christmas specials. We have watched all the other episodes with great pleasure, though I can’t say we have ever tried any of the recipes! The relationships between the contestants and the hosts/judges are so pleasant and friendly that we just enjoy seeing how they work.
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I find it best not to watch baking shows. I don’t really follow recipes so baking is not for me. merry Christmas Cheers
The Great British Bake off, as we know it, is much of my favourites to watch! I just watched the first of the Christmas specials and I am planning to watch the second shortly!!
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