Feb 17, 2021: At My Wicks End

Carole has recently purchased a cookbook by the nation’s sweetheart, Joe Wicks.

To say this book has become my new obsession would be an understatement.

Not in a good way, though.

First and foremost, he’s very much trying to be pre-sanctimonious-git-era Jamie Oliver with dollops and scrunching and whatever else he says. He may as well end each recipe with a final step that just says “Bosh. Job done.” That grates me slightly. But there are worse things.

For starters, calling tender stem broccoli “little trees” is just… he’s a fricking adult for chuff’s sake, and one would assume the books is for adult humans as well. But there he is referring to broccoli as trees. Oh he’s so whimsical. Eating his trees, like a good little boy. Little trees. We’re having that recipe next week. I refuse to refer to the vegetable part of the meal as little trees. Why not go the whole hog and call them ickle while you’re at it?

For seconds, one of the steps in one of his recipes – the entire step – is “boil the kettle”. That’s it. Boil the kettle. In all his other steps, he does about fifty things which – incidentally – are usually taking place in a 3-4 minute window while something else cooks. But this, nope. Step 2, boil the kettle.

For thirds, he explains how to beat an egg. He doesn’t just say “beat an egg”. He tells you to crack an egg into a jug and then to use a fork to mix the white and yolk together. That’s beating an egg, Joe. Just put beat an egg. Otherwise you’re going to need to really flesh out the kettle boiling thing a bit more. And some people might consider eating actual little trees. I genuinely can’t work out what level this cook book is pitched at.

There’s another where he tells you to preheat the oven – it’s a hot pot – but at no point tells you to put anything into the oven. The dish starts it prep on the stove top, and never actively tells you anything different. He tells you, later on, to crank up the oven to a higher temperature to crisp up the potatoes, but if you’ve stuck with it the pan is still on the hob and those potatoes aren’t getting any crispier.

And there’s another with a chicken breast in a brioche bun. He tells you in the recipe to cut the chicken breast in half when you’ve cooked it (having already cut it to see if it’s cooked) but I have no idea why you need to do that. All you’re doing is making it easier for half a piece of chicken to slide out of your brioche bun while you’re eating due to the lubricational abilities of the condiments you’re adding.

And don’t even get me started on how he really likes his vegetables served with lashings of butter…