Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation

'Pace yourself dad, we've got 8 weeks to go yet.'

David and Si, TV’s favourite Keith Floyd/Two Fat Ladies mash up, are back. And they’ve decided that what’s been missing from the world of TV food is biking and baking combined.

Baking, on vacation. Get it?

‘Trust me,’ promises one of the bikers,  ‘you’re gonna see a lot of yeast on this journey.’

Indeed.

But we’re not just talking bread here. Don’t be fooled. This is ‘cakes, pies, pastries. Almost anything that can be cooked in an oven.’ Almost anything: an important distinction. Probably not reheating last night’s takeaway pizza. Or the fraught defrosting of a bottle of wine you left in the freezer compartment to chill for a few minutes several hours ago.

Bakeation is like going away with your dad, dressed in his floral shirt and Converse, in excitable holiday mode. He spends the entire trip throwing around comedy: ‘We’re off to meet some master bakers. Careful how you say that. Wahey!’ and facts (lead singer of A-Ha = Morton Hackett).

You spend the entire trip half listening / humouring him, and comfort eating throughout.

In the first stop of their 5,000 mile cakeathon, the bikers visit Norway…and re-emphasise a great many Norwegian stereotypes. In no particular order we get: Ibsen, goats, Vikings, the fog and fjords. Oh so many fjords.

This isn’t a travel show, you see. It isn’t a cooking show either. It isn’t anything really, besides mindless hangover telly. It requires nothing from you but to look at the breath-taking location and gourmet cuisine and occasionally point and mumble ‘pretty!’ or ‘yum!’. It’s actually like being on holiday.

The bikers, guiding us through it, are equally laid back in their analysis:

Biker one: ‘Norway is so beautiful’
Biker two: ‘Yeah, that’s exactly it’

The recipes are fittingly vague. ‘Flour and water in the dough, olive oil and salt on the outside, and those delicious ingredients in the centre. So simple, anyone could try that one.’

They won’t though, will they? Sure, you can go and look at the recipes online. Or at least tell yourself you might…later.

No one is ever going to cook this stuff. This is lazy, eating-cold-roast-spuds-on-the-sofa-with-your-jeans-unbuttoned-tv. It’s a mess of dough, cinnamon, raisins and almonds. It’d smell bloody nice, if you could smell it. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe it’d smell of beards and tyres. Probably best to just imagine it.

The two beards have come to a new country with a basic grasp of the language (hello, please, thank you, beer) and intentions of eating all the food. They’re tourists who just happen to have access to designer hotels, Norway’s best bakers, and time lapse photography.

The rest is a blur of hot tubs, Ice Hotels, reindeer salami, 65 year old waffle irons, and authentic Norwegian knitted pants. There’s momentary excitement on a visit to Lillehammer to meet Jan, who drives a snowless bobsleigh for a living, but sadly Jan is a spoilsport and makes precisely zero references to Cool Runnings.

Bakeation is like reading a postcard, or looking at someone’s holiday photos. You smile, and nod, and learn a few facts. You think ‘yeah, that place looks nice. I might fancy that.’

And then you go to the kitchen and forget all about it while eating cheese straight from the fridge.

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The Hairy Bikers Bakeation continues on Tuesday night, 8pm, BBC2. You can catch up on iPlayer here

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4 Responses to Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation

  1. poodoo says:

    Just watched the first episode and totally inspired now to get baking and what an amazing place.

  2. Becky Merriman says:

    can anyone tell me where they got their biscuit stamps from? I want to get some but cant find them on the internet?

  3. Robert says:

    I’ve got a problem with the Hairy Bikers. My suspicion is that this view will not play well.

    I was born and bred in the south but have chosen the north as my home for over 25 years now so the accents are insufficient to charm me.

    Here’s my beef – Si has some, no – a lot of – charm about him but the other one (sorry – name evades me, is it Dave?) is…er…just a bit thick (nice bloke I suspect, but that’s not enough for TV). It’s all “mega” and “awesome” and any other zeitgeisty words that the kids in the hood make temporarily fashionable. He adds little to the programme for me, simply echoing Si’s insights and being too reliant on a Geordie accent for getting him through.

    They can both cook well, albeit simply, but without researchers who dig out their foodie “friends” I can’t imagine that their journey, bikes or not, would have taken them so far. Great when they interact with us oiky fumble-fingers but their entertainment value has been in sharp decline for a couple of series now.

  4. Pingback: Our Food « TV Jam: telly is delicious

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