Economy Gastronomy

I watched a hilarious programme last week, which I’d seen advertised when I was on holiday in France (TV from the Channel Islands, gotta love it) but forgot about until I browsed through the On Demand section of BT Vision, looking for a cooking show. I sort of knew Economy Gastronomy was going to be lost on me when I heard one of the presenters, Allegra McEvedy, claiming you could make three or four meals out of one £16 fish, one of which was evidently composed mostly of bones… Anyway, I watched the second episode, which followed a family that spent £17,000 a year on food, and still managed to eat crap. Magically, Allegra and Paul Merrett reduced their outgoings by something like three hundred quid, down to over two hundred a week. Needless to say, having spent an average of £15 a week on food and household stuff like cleaners, shampoo and toilet rolls, for two people for the last three months, I was unimpressed.

In a way, I feel sorry for the presenters, as obviously their hearts are in the right place, but the concept’s had to be jazzed up for TV so it sounds more exciting. But still, when Allegra McEvedy cooked up over £20 of beef for a daube which was supposed to last three meals, and then added in a tonne more other ingredients which surely doubled the price, and then one of those meals turned out to be lunch, I totally lost the will to sympathise. It must be a really hard gig, but surely they could have reduced their weekly bills by a lot more than they did. I want to see suffering. Blood, sweat and tears. And don’t even get me started on the marinade recipe which appeared to call for just the juice out of a jar of preserved ginger…

Economy Gastronomy is on BBC2 Wednesday at 8pm, or can be watched on iPlayer at If, you know, you want a laugh.

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