15 Feb: The Delia Backlash

RERUN: TV chef Delia Smith built a stellar career on the success spawned from her first book, ‘How To Cheat At Cooking’ in 1971. So, when she published a reboot on 15th February, 2008, it seemed a shoo-in to sell bucketloads (which it did) – but not, perhaps, attract controversy (which it REALLY did).

By seemingly encouraging the chattering classes to buy ready-mixed and frozen food, she was accused of having betrayed her audience of foodies. And that was BEFORE she turned up on telly pouring tinned mince into a Shepherd’s Pie…

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly test out Delia’s ‘cheat’ Moroccan chicken; unpick whether the backlash was classist in nature; and reveal just how much culinary ‘cheating’ has changed since the first book in the ‘70s… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The demonising of St Delia: How her cheat recipes provoked an extraordinary backlash’ (Mail Online, 2008): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-533565/The-demonising-St-Delia-How-cheat-recipes-provoked-extraordinary-backlash.html

• ‘Happy 80th birthday, Delia Smith! 10 lessons she has taught us – from eggs to lemon zesters’ (The Guardian, 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/jun/18/happy-80th-birthday-delia-smith-10-lessons-she-has-taught-us-from-eggs-to-lemon-zesters

• ‘Delia’s How To Cheat: Shepherd’s Pie’ (BBC, 2008): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIoeEJTPpQA

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