On The Great British Baking Show, and the Glory of Politeness.

Another fun fact about me (are you taking notes yet?) is that I’ve been babysitting since I was about 12-years-old. After starting out as an awkward mother’s helper for the family down the road, I moved up in the ranks until eventually I worked as a nanny just after graduating from college. While I’ve given up the full-time nanny life (and trust me, it’s not nearly as glamorous as that Scarlett Johansson movie makes it seem), I still babysit fairly regularly for a number of families.

Baby on St. Martin's Day
One of my nuggets looking adorable and appropriately anonymous for internet purposes.

Of course, one of the things the world doesn’t tell you about babysitting is that there’s a lot of down time, particularly once the little ones are in bed. While the active hours are filled with running, jumping, and playing, when the kids are asleep and the house is tidied up, there’s only so much to do. Since you’ve got to be available and engaged if and when the wee ones wake up and need something, it’s imperative that you find a kid-friendly but interesting activity to occupy your time.

So while you know my deep love for books and newspapers of all kinds, sometimes even I require a change of pace. Thus, I’ve become something of an expert at finding appropriately bland but demonstrably hilarious television choices for evenings spent at the beck and call of kids.

Recently, a new option popped up on Netflix: The Great British Baking Show (known as The Great British Bake Off in its country of origin). It seemed like a safe bet — British folks, baked goods, and a pair of sassy-yet-PBS-appropriate TV personalities serving as hosts. So, this evening, while babysitting for 2 of my little ones, I decided to spend my down time watching the 1st episode of the 1st season of The Great British Baking Show available on Netflix. So buckle up friends, and get ready for the most polite cooking competition of your life.

The Great British Bake Off Copyright 2017 Radio Times
Don’t they just look like they’re about to serve you a cup of tea? Copyright 2017 Radio Times
  1. Wow! Birds chirping and everything
  2. “12 oven-fresh bakers” 🙄
  3. I’m pretty sure an American reality show would never dare to use a word like “scrutinize” in the first 30-seconds. Bravo, Britain, bravo.
  4. IT’S SO CUTE THAT THEY CALL COOKIES BISCUITS I KNOW THEY THINK THEY’RE RIGHT BUT THEY’RE SO WRONG.
  5. Even their opening music is friendly and adorable. American cooking shows are all “dun dun DUN” with a lot of bass and gongs and nonsense, and here are the Brits like “here’s some xylophone!”
  6. 1st ever Signature Challenge: Swiss Rolls!!!!!

    Red Velvet Swiss Roll
    Swiss roll: the classier name for a jelly roll. Thanks British friends.
  7. Ooooh, Roger Federer joke already??
  8. What is this food?
  9. Oooh, a jelly roll?
  10. Has anyone ever actually eaten a jelly roll? Like, in real life? Please advise.
  11. HER NAME IS MARY BERRY WHICH IS LIKE A FRUIT IT’S SO CUTE.

    Mary Berry
    Cake goddess Mary Berry.
  12. Even their ‘mean’ judge, Paul, is kind and fatherly. This would never fly on Food Network.
  13. If a Swiss roll is Swiss, can it also be Spanish? I don’t know about this, Luis.
  14. LUIS IS A RECREATIONAL BEEKEEPER. I LOVE ALL THE COMPETITORS ALREADY.
  15. Chetna’s hair is on. point. My hair never looks like that when I bake.

    Chetna
    Chetna, teach me your hair ways.
  16. Why do they constantly refer to normal looking cake as sponge? Like, that does not look like a sponge cake. This going to require some research.
  17. Is ‘builder’ the more adorable British term for a construction worker? Or does that refer to a contractor? Or an architect? SOMEONE TRANSLATE PLEASE.
  18. …what is a fruit machine company?
  19. They keep telling me where these people live, and I have heard of approximately 0 of these places. Awkward.
  20. Holy cow, the swirl is called a Catherine wheel? I AM LEARNING ALL OF THE THINGS.
  21. Just noticed the British flag pennants. IT’S LIKE PATRIOTISM IF IT WASN’T RABID AND SCARY AND IT WAS RELATED TO CAKE.
  22. Ooh, I’ve heard of Brighton! #geographywin
  23. IF THIS KIND OF SPONGE REQUIRES A TEXTURE LIKE NO OTHER CAKE THEN IT’S NOT A SPONGE CAKE.
  24. They used the words ‘sexy sauna’ to refer to the steam coming off a cake. This just keeps getting better.
  25. Ooh, Mary Berry doesn’t believe that Iain’s theory works. You tell him, Mary.
  26. Belfast and London are places I know! I feel so accomplished.
  27. Now they’ve used ‘inscrutable’. 90% of Americans have tuned out due to the use of a 4-syllable word.
  28. NORMAN IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL. Sorry, Lin-Manuel.

    Norman
    Norman: The grandpa we all deserve.
  29. Lincolnshire is…a place I do not know. Are there hobbits there?
  30. ROLLING THE CAKES. TENSION IS SO HIGH.
  31. Iain has failed. I’ve been watching this for 15 minutes, and I already know Mary Berry is never wrong.
  32. #NORMAN4LYFE.
  33. And we’re on our 4th Swiss watch joke.
  34. This music though. American reality TV, please take note. Oboes deserve love too.
  35. Challenge over, and no ominous sound effects!
  36. Martha’s lacking a proper swirl; bad news y’all.
  37. But it’s okay, ’cause it’s delicious.
  38. They used the word moist, and it wasn’t even awkward, because British accents make everything better.
  39. OOOH DON’T SASS BACK TO MARY BERRY.
  40. Iain is being quietly schooled by Mary Berry and I love it so much.
  41. I don’t think I can say ‘Mary’ without ‘Berry’ ever again.
  42. NORMAN PLEASE COME ADOPT ME AND BE MY HONORARY GRANDPA.

    Norman - Swiss roll
    There is nothing Norman can’t do. #norman4prez
  43. Kate is winning the swirl game. BUT PLOT TWIST: DRY CAKE.
  44. Awww, everyone is so shocked the builder is good! I still don’t know what his job title means, but hey, he makes good cake!
  45. I love how their confessionals are in the forest, and also, they’re pleasant and adorable and have nothing to do with their fellow contestants.
  46. On to Phase 2: Technical Challenge!
  47. Oooh, blind judging.
  48. …what is cherry cake? Is this another thing America has been deprived of?
  49. Oh, it’s a bundt cake with cherries inside! That…actually looks kind of vile. Sorry Brits.

    Cherry cake
    I…don’t want to eat this.
  50. ….There are more flag pennants, but they’re not the UK flag and I don’t know what they are. Clearly I could have used a more in-depth geography curriculum.
  51. THESE SPARSE DIRECTIONS ARE SO MYSTERIOUS.
  52. Oh my God, Norman is seriously everything good in the world.
  53. No baking time. Y’all, disaster may strike.
  54. Dude, reading the recipe is like YOUR ONLY JOB.
  55. Awwww, baby sheep!!!!
  56. High-stakes almond toasting here folks.
  57. I don’t know what the Brits have done to these cherries, but I don’t support it.
  58. Cherry puns. Yes. This show is spectacular.
  59. Girl, you can’t make 2 dry cakes in a row! Bad form.
  60. DO NOT DISPARAGE NORMAN, YOU FIENDS.
  61. These judges are incapable of insulting people. I love it.
  62. Norman deserves so much more than 11th place.
  63. Chetna’s hair is still perfect. What is this witchcraft?
  64. Martha has frizz after my own heart.
  65. Norman WILL put in that “wee bit of extra effort” y’all. Just you wait.
  66. Showstopper: your own choice of British cake!
  67. BUT WAIT
  68. They have to be miniiiiiii
  69. Glad to know the Brits agree that miniature things are exponentially cuter.
  70. I feel like Victoria Sponge is another thing I should know more about. Harry Potter, you have failed me.

    Victoria Sponge
    What makes this Victoria sponge? Was Queen V a fan?
  71. Speaking of which, what in the hell is a Jaffa cake?
  72. NANCY MADE A CAKE GUILLOTINE. GET IT GIRL.
  73. Who knew there were so many kinds of sponge cake??? Answer: not me!
  74. Considering the amount of baking I have done over the course of my life, this is somewhat sad.
  75. When is elderflower going to catch on in the States outside of cocktails? Just saying…
  76. MARY BERRY DOES NOT BELIEVE IN PIPETTES, LUIS. GET IT TOGETHER.
  77. Although, my roommate K works in a medical lab, and now I want to make her a birthday cake involving pipettes.
  78. Norman is so damn chill.
  79. Norman continues to be my spirit animal.
  80. I would eat Ewezor’s cake. Get it Ewezor.
  81. Why are they pronouncing the ‘e’ in ‘mascarpone’? Not in the Italian way, but as a hard ‘e’. It is weird, British people. Please stop.
  82. NORMAN JUST USED THE PHRASE ‘TUPPENCE A POUND’. MY LOVE FOR HIM ONLY GROWS.
  83. Oh my God, Norman constructed his own muffin tin. NORMAN IS THE BEST.
  84. Claire is on the struggle bus. For real.
  85. PSA: Sprinkles don’t actually make everything better. Sorry, not sorry.
  86. Frosting butterflies are the best butterflies.
  87. CLAIRE, STOP WITH THE SPRINKLES.

    Claire cake
    Oh my God Claire, get it together.
  88. Use of the word ‘scrumptious’ – 10 points for Gryffindor.
  89. Iain’s cake may suck, but wow, his beard is a delight.

    Iain
    His cake may be gross, but his beard is luscious.
  90. They love Norman, and I love Norman, and all is right with the world.
  91. Is it really a British TV show without an artsy tea kettle shot?
  92. UGH THE VOCABULARY IS SO GREAT.
  93. Cake guillotine for the wiiiinnnnnnnn.

    Nancy Jaffa Cake
    It’s a little baby cake axe!
  94. GOD DAMMIT CLAIRE, THAT’S WHAT YOU GET FOR USING ALL THOSE FREAKING SPRINKLES.
  95. Bye Claire.

In conclusion: Cake is delicious, the British are adorable, Norman is our savior, and J.K. Rowling did not teach me nearly enough about her people. If you’re looking for some good, clean, fun, go watch The Great British Baking Show. It’s babysitter approved.

— S

Day 60: March 2, 2017

 

 

 

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