Presenter personality is a crucial element in lifestyle shows. That explains why Nigel Slater: Eating Together, which concluded on BBC One last night has been such a success.
Slater's insatiable gluttony can make the most ordinary dish appear irresistible and the most slight TV format entertaining. Each week he has celebrated the variety of cuisine to be found in multicultural Britain by sampling how a single ingredient is prepared by several home cooks of different nationalities. This week: the noodle.
When Spanish grandmother Maria moved to Narberth, Wales, some 40 years ago, her first taste of Britain was a Fray Bentos pie and some Nescafé coffee. Fortunately, the town has turned into a foodie destination since then, and Maria gave Nigel a tour of the Spanish deli owned by her son before demonstrating how to cook paella with fideo. "I've never known pasta soak up so much flavour! What a joy!" was Nigel Slater's verdict.
Like Spain, Germany is not a country particularly associated with noodles, but Steffi from Stuttgart served up her comforting spätzle dish, with a side of charming childhood tales.
"The word 'spätzle' means small sparrow", Steffi explained while expertly forming the individual noodles. "So if they got too big my mum used to take them out and say that's not sparrows, that's pigeons!"
Still, it was probably Mickey and his crunchy Thai noodles that pleased Nigel the most. At one point Mickey exclaimed, "I'm not a chef, I'm just one boy who loves to cook!" And it was then that Nigel knew he'd met a kindred spirit.Reuse content