1. The over-dressed, ‘blinged out’ middle-aged women. Who cooks while wearing chiffon saris, jhumkas and a dozen bangles on each wrist? Aren’t you concerned a rhinestone might become an unwitting ingredient?
2. The ‘live’ callers who hardly have anything useful to say. Calling them ‘live’ is an overstatement. Besides, it’s not okay to talk on the phone while chopping. It’s silly.
3. Sponsored messages. If there is anything worse than having to tolerate annoying callers, it’s listening to the ‘expert’ extolling the virtues of a particular brand of cooking oil, masala or noodles. If I wanted canola in my life, I would have bought it by now. I don’t need your advice, thank you very much!
4. Dancing chefs — and how! So you’re a celebrated chef and you’re on TV. I’m happy for you. Please don’t make me feel otherwise by prancing about on my television screen like a spooked horse.
5. While we’re on the subject, where did all these chefs suddenly come from? Just because you’ve been cooking for the last 10 years in your fiefdom (read kitchen), it doesn’t really make you a master chef. I can make a pretty good cheese and mushroom omlette myself. Does that mean I should be on TV too?
6. The painful American/Australian/British twangs that chefs entertain us with. We all love to show off our vocabulary every now and then but must you do it by rolling your ‘Rs’ and eating up your words (among other things)? And no, a two-week trip to Toronto or New York is no excuse for acquiring an accent.
7. The strange concoctions that pass off for recipes on cooking shows. There can be nothing right about cooking eggs in condensed milk and calling it anday ka halwa. It doesn’t look or sound pretty and I don’t think anyone could stomach it (pun intended). How about doing a little homework and finding out what ingredients complement one another?
8. Speaking of recipes, all those who have just about had it with all the ‘iftar’ special episodes, say aye. We know it’s Ramazan. We know iftari is all about some heavy-duty artery clogging. So really, how many times are you going to tell us how to make samosas, pakoras and jalebis? Especially when you add nothing new to it.
9. The needless glorification of self. There are certain bandana wearing chefs that just love to talk about themselves and how absolutely wonderful they are as professionals. I’m sure you’re great. I really do. But I’d be further convinced if anyone other than you held the same opinion.
10. And finally, the assumption that every television channel is now a cooking channel. I don’t want to see how to make a Black Forest cake on a news channel.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.