Last week on the 22nd September after an eye rolling broadcast from our Prime Minister, the Great British Bake Off started its new series. I was thrilled at this and my eyes were glued to the telly ready to analyse every last crumb and tray waft.
There are many reasons why I adore this very sweet (excuse the pun) British show and more so this year when it is much needed. I remember thinking around April time in the depths of lockdown about whether they would be able to make the show so I am so thankful they made their bubble and persevered. Bake off is needed now more than any year before it as it allows us to delve into a silly world of overcooked bakes and shake our heads disapprovingly at any smugness a baker may possess rather than think about the dreaded words unprecedented or social distancing. It's an escape in these difficult times and I for one am grateful for it.
An obvious reason as to why I love Bake Off is because I really enjoy baking. I find it therapeutic and rewarding, a way of showing my love to others through my cakes. When I watch the show I am in awe of the baking talent and know I have a lot to learn so I always take in any tips along the way too. I can't deny when things go wrong its equally as entertaining. Lets face it, it creates comical drama but also shows that they are human - everyone makes mistakes!
I'm part of a fantasy bake off group with some friends this year which we also created last year to much enjoyment. We choose 3 contestants we ideally want to back and between us share them out so we don't all have the same bakers. This year I have the bright eyed Peter, and both Marc(k)s. To be honest I would have liked at least one woman in my team - maybe Lottie or Hermine but overall I'm pretty pleased with my picks.
We have someone in the group with a very impressive spreadsheet where they will rate the contestants in various ways and we count up scores at the end. There are the obvious points for getting top 3 in the technical, good flavours and of course star baker (well done Peter!) You can also get some lovely points for helping another baker or even making an innuendo - c'mon we all love an innuendo.
However, negative points come in thick and fast in our fantasy game - tears?
There's no time for that Sura = minus 3 points. Maybe a baker takes a sneaky shortcut that the judges disapprove of = minus 2 points. The main aim of the fantasy bake off however is to hope that your picks make it through each week. After watching one episode it is difficult to choose who you think will go all the way in the competition but I suppose that's what makes it exciting when watching the journey of those that you back. So fantasy Bake off definitely makes watching the show even more entertaining as you wince or cheer at any points you get throughout - I really recommend doing it if you are Bake Off nut!
When speaking to my mum (another big fan) about bake off, she described it as a big warm blanket around you when you watch it and I agreed. Its light hearted, it takes you away from any daily troubles you may have and provides you with some satisfying content (although what on earth was that judging decision getting rid of that contestant in week 2?!)
So thank-you Bake Off - you do make me happy. From the brilliant bakers, the fantastic hosts (Matt Lucas has gelled so well like jam in a Victoria sponge) and the ever judgey judges - it is THE show needed during a worldwide pandemic. Now to find some chocolate cake...