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Delia’s Cheat Ingredients


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Say what you like about Blessed Delia, at least it's her own conservatory :biggrin:

Apparently this series is actually filmed in her kitchen, not the studio set up in her conservatory, and I understand that we'll be treated to some docu day-in-the-life-with-Delia segments, since this seems to be the only way to make a cookery programme these days. :hmmm:

Oh its not going to be the same if not in her conservatory! The one the BBC built for her didn't they?

S

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Likewise the standard 'champagne sales at Sainscos were up by 200% in the week before Christmas...'

amazing given there's yearly champagne shortage warnings issued :laugh:

Yup, weird how easy it is to get stories in the tabloids...

This was rather my point. Sainsbury had begun selling an own label olive oil prominently branded as 'New Season' with a vast facing* at around the time Jamie started name checking it.

But is this 'corruption' on Jamie's part or even on Sainsbury's? If they weren't selling it before he mentioned it, he can hardly be blamed, and its not traditional product placement.

A lot of the ingredients in the Delia programme were either only stocked in a small number of stores or weren't stocked at all till a month or so before the programme publicity started (hence even more reason for the '200% increase' figures---of course there is, they hardly bothered stocking it before). This isn't product placement as its traditionally understood. Rather its the Sainscos becoming aware of an impending demand and reacting to it. I'm not saying there aren't hefty conversations about what's available and what might become available, but its not a simple one-way process as was, say, Coke paying for a can to appear in every episode of Neighbours back in the late 90s.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Likewise the standard 'champagne sales at Sainscos were up by 200% in the week before Christmas...'

amazing given there's yearly champagne shortage warnings issued :laugh:

Yup, weird how easy it is to get stories in the tabloids...

This was rather my point. Sainsbury had begun selling an own label olive oil prominently branded as 'New Season' with a vast facing* at around the time Jamie started name checking it.

But is this 'corruption' on Jamie's part or even on

Sainsbury's? If they weren't selling it before he mentioned it, he can hardly be blamed, and its not traditional product placement.

A lot of the ingredients in the Delia programme were either only stocked in a small number of stores or weren't stocked at all till a month or so before the programme publicity started (hence even more reason for the '200% increase' figures---of course there is, they hardly bothered stocking it before). This isn't product placement as its traditionally understood. Rather its the Sainscos becoming aware of an impending demand and reacting to it. I'm not saying there aren't hefty conversations about what's available and what might become available, but its not a simple one-way process as was, say, Coke paying for a can to appear in every episode of Neighbours back in the late 90s.

I think we're agreeing violently. I'm certainly not saying it's 'corruption' and I completely agree that product placement has evolved imeasurably since the old days of a 'a-can-of-Coke-in-shot-in-Neighbours' with all the attendant backhanders and dodginess that went on back then.

OTOH. I think it is vitally important that we don't forget that subtle, modern, planned PP is now taking place throughout these shows, that, as informed and interested viewers, we discuss and understand its extent and that we keep its existence in the public discourse at all costs.

The cheery rejoinder that this is all paranoid nonsense is not simply naiive, it's positively dangerous. I can't fathom how anyone can argue against this.

Advertising and sponsorship are the only ways we can make decent programmes today, that much is self evident, but people have a right to know when they're being sold to.

As far as I can see, the fact that anyone argues that rampant PP isn't going on in these shows means they've already managed to get it under the radar.

That means that intelligent informed, food-interested individuals of the quality that contribute to this board are already being heavily advertised to in a way they cheerfully admit they can't see.

Am I alone in finding that pretty frightening?

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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I think we're agreeing violently. I'm certainly not saying it's 'corruption' and I completely agree that product placement has evolved imeasurably since the old days of a 'a-can-of-Coke-in-shot-in-Neighbours' with all the attendant backhanders and dodginess that went on back then.

OTOH. I think it is vitally important that we don't forget that subtle, modern, planned PP is now taking place throughout these shows, that, as informed and interested viewers, we discuss and understand its extent and that we keep it's existence in the public discourse at all costs.

The cheery rejoinder that this is all paranoid nonsense is not simply naiive, it's positively dangerous. I can't fathom how anyone can argue against this.

As far as I can see, the fact that anyone argues that rampant PP isn't going on in these shows means they've already managed to get it under the radar.

That means that intelligent informed, food-interested individuals of the quality that contribte to this board are already being heavily advertised to in a way they can't see.

Am I alone in finding that pretty frightening?

Is it frightening? Not sure we're the only people that can see it/understand it, in which case its already being deconstructed. Not sure its even that unusual. Take something like The OC, famous for using 'hip' indie music throughout. Both the bands and the programme benefit from a shared feeling of hipdom, but whats actually going on is a pretty blatant sales process.

The move from 'oh, we;re making a cookery programme and need to mention we need Oil' to 'oh we're making a cookery programme and need to mention some oil--can you ring round the big four and see what they'll offer us in terms of advertising to mention their particular product' is only a small (and fairly sensible) step. In programme terms it benefits both sides. Not sure, as long as its as obvious as we're all saying, that it actually matters that much. We became the society of the spectacle decades ago, after all.

And not sure who the 'they' you refer to are?

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Is it frightening? Not sure we're the only people that can see it/understand it, in which case its already being deconstructed. Not sure its even that unusual. Take something like The OC, famous for using 'hip' indie music throughout. Both the bands and the programme benefit from a shared feeling of hipdom, but whats actually going on is a pretty blatant sales process.

The move from 'oh, we;re making a cookery programme and need to mention we need Oil' to 'oh we're making a cookery programme and need to mention some oil--can you ring round the big four and see what they'll offer us in terms of advertising to mention their particular product' is only a small (and fairly sensible) step. In programme terms it benefits both sides. Not sure, as long as its as obvious as we're all saying, that it actually matters that much. We became the society of the spectacle decades ago, after all.

And not sure who the 'they' you refer to are?

So far, you and I are the only people in this thread that accept that it's happening (but then I suspect we both have some experience in the area) :biggrin:

It is a really interesting question who 'They' are.

There's certainly been a history of exactly the kind of ring-round you describe which helps raise revenue from bands, retailers etc in a general sense.

If a food programme results in more people buying ingredients, that's to be expected. If retailers benefit, it's natural and if the programme makers can claw back a portion of that profit in advertising, sponsorship or PP revenue, then so much the better. I'm not enough of an old Trot to make the argument that 'They' are 'those making a profit'.

The point I'm making with the NSOO issue is that Jamie is clearly recommending a particular product which - via some manipulation - is to the benefit of a particular retailer*. In this case 'They' are very clearly one company.

There's a rule of marketing (of which I obviously don't need to remind you, though I will for the non marketing geeks out there) which says that marketing activity which benefits your competitor equally is not just 'of no value' but will actually cost you**.

Part of the problem for food shows has always been that encouraging people to cook benefits all competitors equally. One of the most pressing problems in food programme sponsorship is how to get round the fact that it, in classical marketing terms, it can only make a loss***. When I see stunts like NSOO I'm positively dumbstruck at the sheer marketing talent that can came up with it.

*The argument as to whether the viewer benefits in any way from the recommendation of NSOO over any other EVOO is interesting but probably too involved to get into here.

** If all competitors profit equally but only one has invested in the marketing activity a net loss results

***A situation which could be avoided if the Big Four agreed that all food programming benefitted them equally and that they should therefore sponsor some each - but that would be tantamount to a cartel and that never happens in British food retail

****Yes. This week I are mainly been readin' too much David Foster Wallace. :)

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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I think that most people fully accept the impact of celebrity endorsement, it works, and for this reason it is a route that multiples and brands with deep pockets are going to continue to take. Unfortunately I’ve missed most of Jamie’s programmes, so am not sure about what may have been mentioned, surreptitiously or otherwise.

But the case with Delia is different.

She has selected what she considers to be the best larder loading ingredients and in reality, how different is this from say Fergus Henderson recommending M&S for pigeon breast and Tesco for minced beef in last Sunday’s OFM meat survey?

The difference is the Delia effect.

Her word carries so much weight that it has a huge influence on consumer habits, and it is equivalent to winning the lotto from a brand POV. If there is even a small shift in behaviour among people who would normally be getting takeaways or ready meals, I think it will be a good thing. There are plenty of people who really can’t cook and this entry level introduction is what is needed (accepting that not all of them will watch the programme or buy the book). However, I do have concerns about some of the quick and easy branded goods getting too much of a foothold in the larders of people who can cook, can make a cheese sauce, mashed potato and fry a piece of pancetta; people who have come up the Jamie and Nigella curve who may slip into Delia’s trusted apron to save ten minutes.

And yes, I find this a bit insidious and I would be astounded if the multiples didn’t all get together to discuss the expected buying bonanza, if only to agree with the publishers on what label to use for the lauded ingredients (pick your reason to avoid a cartel discussion: wording, size of label, glue etc, it would all have had to be discussed in advance). Without a doubt, there’s a ‘Them’. ‘Them’ just got lucky because Delia doesn’t do sponsorship deals, but the impact is huge and it is certainly a model that will be pinned up as the Holy Grail for shifting product in the future.

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But the case with Delia is different.

She has selected what she considers to be the best larder loading ingredients and in reality, how different is this from say Fergus Henderson recommending M&S for pigeon breast and Tesco for minced beef in last Sunday’s OFM meat survey?

From what I read Fergus did not reccomend anything, he took part in a blind tasting of pre -selected meats and stated which he thought was best.

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Personally, I haven't cared much for any of her shows and do not own any of her cookbooks, although I am an avid collector of cookbooks, those simply never appealed to me.

I know people who quote her often and think she is marvelous and others who can't stand her.

For people who are short of time, I like and recommend Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food My Way" ... both book and program, and "The Short Cut Cook" - Not exactly on the same plane as Delia and do not rely greatly on "instant" foods, but include mostly very easy and certainly very tasty recipes.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Is their actually a product called "Sainsbury's New Season Olive Oil"? Otherwise I think you might be giving the poor old internationally famous, multi-millionaire a hard time over nothing.

This was rather my point. Sainsbury had begun selling an own label olive oil prominently branded as 'New Season' with a vast facing* at around the time Jamie started name checking it.

"Sainsbury's New Season Olive Oil" is not available to buy via their website and is not stocked in their West Hove branch (I've just checked), which is the largest store in my local area. Where did you see it and how recently?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Delia really knows how to cook - and what she seems to be doing here is doctoring store bought ingredients rather than start from scratch - but you can see how it would be very easy to use fresh ingredients instead of frozen. The potato leek soup would be snap with fresh potatoes rather than frozen mashed.

But - you can see underlying food knowledge. Really - I think the 'doctoring' portions are are actually more difficult than the main event - having fresh herbs and spices on hand, chopping aromatics, etc...

Comparing her to Sandra Lee is offbase. Sandra Lee is truly horrible - her recipe for chocolate truffles using canned frosting and powdered sugar is mind blowing for its sheer disgusting-ness.

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i dont have a problem with the shortcuts, its just seems that the whole show is promoting waitrose or marks & spencer.

i never had a problem with jamie oliver for example used canned things in naked chef, its allright when its done with moderation and what she is doing is beyond moderation. Then we say why the people dont know where the meat comes from, coming from cans is a step back from the meat coming in plastic packets.

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Delia herself with her mixed bag of recommendations and also her confusing stance on battery chickens (which are OK for those who can’t afford better).

Well if you can't afford free range it's battery or bugger all isn't it?

I think we here tend to forget that we are better paid than many and so have better choices.

S

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Delia herself with her mixed bag of recommendations and also her confusing stance on battery chickens (which are OK for those who can’t afford better).

Well if you can't afford free range it's battery or bugger all isn't it?

I think we here tend to forget that we are better paid than many and so have better choices.

S

I didn't see last night's show, but I'm getting more confused at exactly what market is being targeted. It doesn't seem to be low income (high production values on the cookbook and not a giveaway price), more the middle class time poor sector. So the message is a bit muddy.

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As someone living on the other side of the world - I am curious as to what demographic is being reached out to by this new Delia program?

On the one hand - the British cooking shows that make their way over here all seem of very high quality and target an informed consumer. But then I've seen episodes of the River Cottage Experiments where they have Londoners that seem so disconnected from their food - they could be eating anything as long as it was sausage or patty shaped.

Is there a large population of food disenfranchised?

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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As someone living on the other side of the world - I am curious as to what demographic is being reached out to by this new Delia program?

On the one hand - the British cooking shows that make their way over here all seem of very high quality and target an informed consumer.  But then I've seen episodes of the River Cottage Experiments where they have Londoners that seem so disconnected from their food - they could be eating anything as long as it was sausage or patty shaped.

Is there a large population of food disenfranchised?

Any trip to a supermarket and a peek at the contents of most people's trolleys will confirm this.

Delia's new book is a direct confirmation that much of what is written in "Bad Food Britain" (Joanna Blythman) may actually be correct. According to her (Blythman), we have excellent cook books and cooking programs, but most people would rather read/watch them than use them. Preferably, whilst tucking into their re-heated dinners (like the diners in Terry Gilliam's Brazil who eat sludge whilst looking a stunning photo of the meal it represents).

I spent a year living in the suburbs where my local supermarket stocked a range of sushi ingredients. For most of that time it was impossible to buy sushi rice (when querying, Sainsbury's didn't have a supplier) making all the sushi ingredients redundant. It was more about the 'idea' of making sushi than the reality, I'm sure both managers and shoppers felt they offered and enjoyed a more 'cosmopolitan' shopping experience as a result. This seems very important nowadays.

Edited by MoGa (log)
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...The difference is the Delia effect.

Her word carries so much weight that it has a huge influence on consumer habits, and it is equivalent to winning the lotto from a brand POV.

... And yes, I find this a bit insidious and I would be astounded if the multiples didn’t all get together to discuss the expected buying bonanza, if only to agree with the publishers on what label to use for the lauded ingredients (pick your reason to avoid a cartel discussion: wording, size of label, glue etc, it would all have had to be discussed in advance). Without a doubt, there’s a ‘Them’. ‘Them’ just got lucky because Delia doesn’t do sponsorship deals, but the impact is huge and it is certainly a model that will be pinned up as the Holy Grail for shifting product in the future.

In one of the first two episodes - there is a segment where Delia visits the corporate office of a food company (I can't remember which one) and she tells them that canned mince is going to be the next huge thing - and what a great product she thinks it is. The corporate manager can barely disguise her flabbergasted joy at this declaration. It's a very telling moment.

As I say above - I find this new show fascinating. Even here in British Columbia, Canada - they have old Delia Smith shows on the a local government channel - and it's pretty clear she knows her stuff. It's no wonder that there is a little head scratching going on.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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I didn't see last night's show, but I'm getting more confused at exactly what market is being targeted. It doesn't seem to be low income (high production values on the cookbook and not a giveaway price), more the middle class time poor sector. So the message is a bit muddy.

I don't see this as a demographic thing. Viewers of lifestyle cooking shows and purchasers of the accompanying gift books come from all sorts of strata. For me this is more about segmentation.

By far the majority of consumers of books and programmes never cook at all so the recipes actually suggested are not so important. It's more about positioning the celebrity brand. What's happened here is that, by placing Delia in opposition to the undifferentiated food lovers (Jammie, Nige, Scrotum etc.) they are creating differentiation.

All the other chefs want you make an effort, take time, care about food and have some kind of hedonistic enjoyment in it - see, no difference!

No so St Delia who, by suggesting you take less time and stop making such a fuss about things like quality, taste and technique, instantly has a standout position.

Tim, we’re on the same page here. I agree on the differentiation thing, and Delia making outlandish statements/recommendations for standout, which I’d be fine with if they had a real purpose. I’ve tried to have an open mind on her ‘not from scratch’ approach (thinking it may broaden the market and help to engage those who don’t normally cook as opposed to those who buy books and cook the odd recipe), but in reality, I think it erodes much of the good done by Nigella, Jamie, Nigel etc. I just don’t get it.

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At first glance, this tweaking of supermarket junk does seem a bit grim. AWT ran a similar series bluntly setting out how to tart-up ready meals and, as already mentioned, Nigella has dripped her coquettish toe into the limpid pool of “cheating”.

However, climbing off the high horse, anything that tempts someone to cook has to be a step in the right direction. It doesn’t really matter what they cook – if they are engaging with food beyond the level of putting a curry in a microwave it has to be A Good Thing. If someone can be lured into buying, chopping and frying an onion to sex-up their tinned mince, maybe they’ll be more tempted to do the same to make a frittata.

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Teaching people to cook is one thing. But it has been pointed out that many recipes in this book/series do not save time, are more expensive, or require ingredients that are difficult to find (and are therefore no kind of timesaver). People have also pointed out the direct contradictions between what Smith says in this book and what she has said in other books she has written, concerning the use of fresh ingredients for example.

I've no particular dislike of Delia Smith - other than for her insistence on using the term 'freshly milled black pepper' in every recipe, and her apparent belief that the leek is the cornerstone of all good cooking - but the idea behind this series is pretty horrible. There are many ways to cook food that is quick, very easy, and inexpensive, without making the kind of absurd compromises she's promoting here or pandering to the repulsive lowest common denominator of British food.

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I watched one episode of this show -- the one where Delia hung out with Sr. Wendy. I watched it because I have long worshiped at the feet of Delia. I have her "Book of Cakes" and the Winter and Summer Collections, which I use often. Her lemon curd cake is a family standard now.

But this show? I don't understand how it's useful. She isn't teaching general rules of using "ready foods" -- she's presenting specific uses for specific ready foods. And since most of them aren't available here in the US, there's really no point in my watching. (I must say, those tinned meats, despite Delia's insistence that they are the wave of the future, look like cat food. Yuck).

She does know how to cook and I don't understand why she's not. People that don't want to cook aren't going to be interested in this, and people that do want to cook are going to hate it. I don't get it.

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I reckon that Delia's objective of getting people to cook and engage with food is more effectively achieved by the Sainsbury's ads/sponsored slots, whether they feature Jamie or not. Tasty, simple and plenty of repetition. But then, that's about selling food, not books.

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There are many ways to cook food that is quick, very easy, and inexpensive, without making the kind of absurd compromises she's promoting here or pandering to the repulsive lowest common denominator of British food.

Thank you, Ohba - this is exactly it.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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