Support group for disgruntled fans of Delia

(89 Posts)

I was brought up by an ardent fan of Delia who owns everything she has ever written and I learned most of my own (admittedly limited) cookery skills from her books (esp. the fabulous Complete Cookery Course). In fact, given the amount of Delia meals I've eaten in my lifetime, I am substantially her creation.

And what has she done to me in return? Spawned some ghastly book and TV series where she harps on about the delights of frozen and processed foods (presumably while pocketing a ton of cash from the maufacturers and the supermarkets). At the very time when I am trying my best to give my family the benefits of organic home-cooked food and reduce the amount of waste and packaging we produce. And to encourage my child to enjoy creating delicious food from scratch.

Doesn't she care about anything except her own bulging pockets? angry

<off to lie down and breathe deeply>

I have a theory. It is not Delia, it is her evil twin.
The real Delia is locked in a larder somewhere shouting 'Let me out!' and attempting to pick the lock using a key whittled from pork chop bones.

elliott Tue 11-Mar-08 13:10:52

No. I came to the conclusion that this must be the only reason for doing it. Then I thought perhaps she can't bear seeing Nigella compete with her and has decided to try and take her on on her own terms - doesn't quite work though does it, hardly an aspirational lifestyle....

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Tue 11-Mar-08 13:11:01

I am a lazy cow, but even I wouldn't use frozen mash.

However, I did like the look of some of her stuff last night - even though I really didn't want to, iyswim.

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 13:11:35

have frozen my own shepherd's pies therefore have made frozen mash <<superior smile>>

TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 11-Mar-08 13:13:02

It pisses me off too.
Similarly I used to be a fan of Ramsey until I saw U.S.A Kitchen Nightmares. The only reason he would act in those so clearly set up scenes is for money.

Twinkie1 Tue 11-Mar-08 13:13:55

DH reckons she is trying to be all Nigelaish - but drew the line at wanting to watch Delia get all sexy with the ready mades!

Though it was ok programme - although would be concerned about amount of salt in some of the stuff she was using - she actually looked quite embarrased throughout the programme - maybe because this is going so strongly against the grain!

And she really didn't have to show the drunken ramblin 'Lets be avin ya' again!

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 13:15:34

Actually, some of her ideas are really good. There are some spanish recipes such as Patatas Arequila (dodgy spelling there) and Gambas Pil Pil, plus some italian recipes and very good ideas for one-pot ropasts that I am looking forward to trying. I agree that the idea of using tinned minced lamb (urgh) is beyond me, but not all the recipes are full of processed crap.

Botbot Tue 11-Mar-08 13:16:45

It's all very odd.

I reckon she's been pushed into it by the programme's producers. I can imagine some wanky commissioning meeting where someone shouted 'I know! How about "doing fancy things with shit food"? That hasn't been done yet!'

And all that lifestyley stuff was so cringey - it was horrid with Jamie Oliver five years ago, and it's horrid now.

It also had a vague air of swansong - is the BBC trying to pension her off by deliberately putting her in a shit programme guaranteed to cause controversy and ruin her reputation?

Or yes, she could just be trying to make more money.

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 13:17:50

barf @ tinned mince

last night bunged shoulder of lamb into oven on bed of potatoes, carrots, onions with glass of red wine, water and stock

easy peasy and not an e number in sight..

FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 13:17:59

Message withdrawn

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 13:18:18

DWP - you are so right about Ramsays Nightmares USA, that programme is terrible. He acts up so much in it (pretending to throw up etc). It's embarassing to watch.

It's such a typical american crap tv show, terrible editing, constant repeating, daft aerial shots and zooming in on 'shocked' faces. I think he has really let himself down badly on that one.

Goorrdooon, I used to lurve you, now I just think you're a twat!

Loving the evil twin theory - still don't understand Nigel Slater's involvement though. And what's with all the backgournd scenes from Delia's life anyway? I don't care if she's best friends with Nigel/Fanny Cradock/the Archbishop of Canterbury. I just want Delia, making nice food and talking about it in that very soothing voice of hers.

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 13:19:41

have not watched the Delia programme (can't bear to, she is too earnest) but mum got me the recipe book for my birthday (cheers, mum) and it's not bad.

WowOoo Tue 11-Mar-08 13:20:41

Yep, what I saw of it looked minging. But, people feel so guilty about using processed stuff these days. We just had frozen food and will have a nice steak later if I can get to the shops!

WowOoo Tue 11-Mar-08 13:21:38

PS It was nice frozen food prepared by me!!

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 13:22:23

only saw soup as flicked over

ok apart from the frozen mash hmm

ruddynorah Tue 11-Mar-08 13:24:57

i watched her programme literaly open mouthed. i could not believe it. my dear old gran is a big delia fan, has all her books (well not this most recent one) and yes she does love things like lazy garlic and so on, but dear god not discs of mash or feking cheese sauce in a tub. or ready grated cheese.

i do my omelettes the delia way, now if she shows me how to open a pack of frozen omelettes i will just barf.

captainmummy Tue 11-Mar-08 13:25:18

Can't stand Gordon - he might be a good cook, but he's a complete misogynist and a terrible actor. Even in those crapppppp ads for radio.

serenity Tue 11-Mar-08 13:26:04

Didn't she originally publish this book back in the early 70's? This is just an updated version, and surely all the books/TV series have been about making money?

Incidentally, my mum has a copy of the original "How to to Cheat at Cooking". I'll check it out next time I'm at hers - I'll bet there's no fecking frozen mash in there.

SheherazadetheGoat Tue 11-Mar-08 13:29:49

she has always been shit on the telly, all that prissy moueing at the camera. her books are great though. think i will be giving this one a miss. sounds v. retro 1950's 'isn't corned beef and powered milk thrilling'

captainmummy Tue 11-Mar-08 13:31:24

I'm sure there are books for this sort of cooking already - i remember seeing a book for students, involving cans of soup/beans/pasta that could get turned into something else vile.

But that was for people with no money/clue/tastebuds. Students, like I said.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 11-Mar-08 13:32:26

Getorfmoiland. Indeed, it is classic american documentary style. They have to spoon feed everything and bring up a visual for every single word in the commentary. I really think he has demeaned himself.
Plus it's hardly like he needs the money.

ruddynorah Tue 11-Mar-08 13:32:58

'busy mums' (hate that term btw) do not need this shitola. what they need is franny doing a couple of shows about batch cooking and how to make 10 meals out of two dishes etc. not how to line aunt bessies and mr mcain's pockets.

next we'll have delia in conjunction with cow and gate showing us the easy way to feed our babies. harumph.

CatIsSleepy Tue 11-Mar-08 13:34:14

most of the food looked pretty gross I thought- I had to stop watching when she made the sauce for that potato wedge thing as it was making me feel a bit sick

excessive and unnecessary use of frozen mash

not good, really

And I may be an idealist, but having read some of her older stuff, it doesn't seem that she was always just about the money. She started out by filling a gap in the market for easy-to-follow recipes for wholesome family food. I don't have them to hand, but she sings the praises of fresh and unprocessed ingredients in a lot of her earlier books.

In my view she has been losing her way for while since How to Cook Books 1-3, when she started to introduce a lot of fanciful and hard-to-obtain ingredients seemingly for the hell of it. Now she seems to have abandoned any idea of trying to get people to eat well in favour of making herself richer.

But maybe I'm taking this whole thing a tad too seriously? hmm

CatIsSleepy Tue 11-Mar-08 13:36:30

ooh agree about Gordon ramsay and Kitchen Nightmares USA
too much blathering (analysis of every single little thing by all and sundry every other minute), not enough about the food
disappointing as I really like the UK version

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 13:40:30

Why do those fools in the US programme called him, reverentially, CHEF Ramsay? It's not as if he is Escoffier, fgs

fedupwasherwoman Tue 11-Mar-08 13:41:36

If the OP owns everthing Delia has ever written then surely you have a copy of her original "how to cheat at cooking" which uses lots of preprepared/long life stuff.

All DS is doing is updating that book bearing in mind that some of the products in it are probably no longer available and there's so much new stuff on the market now.

clumsymum Tue 11-Mar-08 13:46:04

You know, I was most shocked by Delia using TINNED MINCE to make the shepherds pie!!!!

Tinned Mince FGS. I would be very concerned about that, I mean surely tinned mince is all the grotty bits of gristle & yuk left over from all other meat processing, ground up with lots of salt and e-numbers

And who is honestly going to do this 'cooking'? If you can't be bothered to fry up some mince with onions, you are not going to buy tinned mince & frozen mash and do a "lego kit" meal in your kitchen. You are going to buy a pre-made shepherds pie.

Will check it out as soon as I can, washerwoman. Think I am just having an allergic reaction to last night's programme - it may subside.

Although I'm not as annoyed as some

TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 11-Mar-08 13:48:37

lots of 'fresh' mince is just that Clumsymum.

girlfrommars Tue 11-Mar-08 14:03:26

Always had an irrational hatred of Delia, and now everyone else is joining in.
Now to convince the world of the evils of carnations......

<<exits thread cackling>>

clumsymum Tue 11-Mar-08 14:03:41

TheDevil, I know, that's why I buy mince from a proper butchers shop.

But the tinned stuff could be worse, because they have the opportunity to cover up the 'gross-ness' of it by cooking it up with onions & stuff first.

MrsPuddleduck Tue 11-Mar-08 14:15:13

I now have the show on series link on the basis that it was so funny. Were they aunt bessies frozen mash btw? - DH and I were in stitches!

I must admit that some of the receipes would have been nice had she used fresh ingredients and they weren't that labour intensive -you could have boiled a pan of spuds in the time it took you to open the various jars of pickles she put in the salmon dish.

I liked the idea of putting the leeks and grated cheese on a shepherds pie but again it doesn't take that long to fry off some onion and mince with a stock cube rather than buy a tin of mince.

It also struck me that they would be v expensive to make.

Can't say I fancied the chocolate cake with mash in and as for the potato cake......

clumsymum Tue 11-Mar-08 14:22:21

yeah, the potato bread was wierd.

Buy a bag of frozen Rosti (hey I never knew they SOLD frozen rosti, not something that had ever crossed my mind) then break them up (but you've paid money for them to be squashed together), and make bread out of them.


GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 14:25:41

I don't see the point in buying ready grated cheese. How long does it really take to grate some bloody cheese?

Also, frozen potatoes, like wedges and frozen roasties, have got a wierd, spooky tecture, all woolly and not like a real potato.

I think Delia had been at the cooking sherry again, got lost on the way to Waitrose and ended up in her local Farm Foods or Iceland instead grin

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 11-Mar-08 14:26:29

We will see her advocating the delights of Big Posh Prawns a la Karry Katone next!

MrsPuddleduck Tue 11-Mar-08 14:32:50

The whole thing was a bit weird. If I watch a Delia programme I expect to be instructed on how to cook something - it's what she does. I didn't like the snippets into her personal life - in fact I don't think it did her any favours.

DH and I came to the conclusion that she was a drinker (ifkwim).

And when she was getting the camera man to slurp the soup - I thought the whole thing looked set up and a bit false. Poor bugger (the camera man, that is).

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 14:33:15

so that's why Delia goes to Iceland...

captainmummy Tue 11-Mar-08 14:36:21

Downbutnotout - lol at the fancy house with diamond leaded windows. I've inherited diamond leaded widow and I hate them.

Oh and the 75% mince in the mince. gak!

captainmummy Tue 11-Mar-08 14:36:43

Windows, not widows blush

ecoworrier Tue 11-Mar-08 14:40:18

Bit of a disaster really wasn't it.

She's just perpetuating the media myth that we're all just so so busy and cooking is oh so hard and so time-consuming.

If she really wanted to help people prepare quick, tasty and healthy meals there are better ways to go about it. She could show people how to batch-cook and make full use of their freezer. Why buy grated cheese at a premium when you can grate your own, freeze it and use it straight from the freezer.

Does she not know many meals cook brilliantly from the freezer - yes, even shepherd's pie, and not an over-packaged, over-priced product in sight.

That soup she cooked in what, 30 minutes or whatever, funny thing is, many many soups only take that amount of time from scratch. And the potato bread - paying all that money for rosti then pulling them apart to get, well, grated potato. Does it take that long to grate a potato?

Why not show people how to build up a repertoire of quick meals from scratch that they can use on busy days. That's what I do, so swimming lesson night is always a faithful old standby, often home-made soup which is made in batches and frozen in family-sized portions. Defrost overnight, reheat in 10 minutes when we get home. Not exactly hard is it.

Then more time-consuming meals can be saved for when you have a bit more time. You make your meals and your cooking fit your lifestyle and available time, it's not rocket science.

It's also a bit hypocritical Delia spouting off that we 'need' cheap chickens etc to feed the poor masses. Has anybody costed any of these 'cheating' meals of hers? I can't see 'the poor' rushing to stock up on roasted peppers in a jar or quails eggs.

It would have been so easy for Delia to produce a book and TV series showing that actually you can feed your family well on a budget and that you don't need to devote hours a day to doing so or need a catering degree.

Rose Elliott, now she really does have the right idea. 'Cheap and Easy' rules!

ecoworrier Tue 11-Mar-08 14:42:43

And those 'lifestyle' bits - yuk! They just emphasised how little of substance there was in that programme, they could have shown it over 10 minutes not half an hour.

Countingthegreyhairs Tue 11-Mar-08 15:06:59

Couldn't agree more Ecoworrier

and Cod (did I just say that?? grin)

ditto what everyone has said:


if I had eggs & frozen chips in the house I'd make egg & chips fgs not serve up a wierd platter of unrelated ingredients dressed with cat sick.

What on earth has happened to the poor woman??

I'm with girlfrommars - I've never liked delia and always found her a bit creepy tbh.

IT was the first time I read one of her cookbooks. She promised an exciting version of mashed potato - she delivered a spoonful of mustard. I knew we were never to get on.

But I am actually shocked by this and wonder if she is in financial trouble.

MyEye Tue 11-Mar-08 15:39:43

kathy's theory made me lol.
this really was massively distressing television.
I thought there was a definite froideur between her and her husband. Wondered if he was thinking, 'not that hideous rosti bread again, please.'

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 15:40:54

lol myeye

lovin' the use of froideur too wink

JackieNo Tue 11-Mar-08 15:51:39

We found it pretty strange too. The bit where she showed us her shed made me laugh - there's Nigella with her retro-chic warehouse done out like a house, and Delia has a shed in the garden full of crockerygrin.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 11-Mar-08 16:01:04

I am wathching this online now. What person who is too stretched for time to cook has cornichons, capers and dillweed to hand.

Ecoworrier, that was a top rant!

SirDigbyChickenCaesar Tue 11-Mar-08 16:48:15

have not read thread (and didnt' watch the prog TBH) BUT I like the fresh pesto from Tesco. the last time i bought it there was one of those farking 'Delia;s Cheats' stickers on it. AIBU to think twice about buying it again?? completely unreasonable i nkow, butd it kind of put me off...

NAB3wishesfor2008 Tue 11-Mar-08 16:53:58

My MIL phoned earlier and mentioned the Delia programme. I think she had bought me her new cook book.........

FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 17:27:02

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FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 17:28:21

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TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 11-Mar-08 17:30:24

icod, we could even make our own to stick over them.
That simply read


I have a some sticker paper for my printer, I may just do it.

FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 17:31:04

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FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 17:32:04

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pointydog Tue 11-Mar-08 17:32:37

One look at delia and you can tell she lacks depth.

bundle Tue 11-Mar-08 17:37:42

did you get the pattern pointy?

pointydog Tue 11-Mar-08 17:39:26

oh yes, thanks, bundle. I think I mentioned it on another non-knitting thread but maybe you didn't re-visit.

My mum is so fuddy duddy in her knitting tastes, she looked non-plussed. So I either ask nicely as a favour or I'll be taking up the needles again. \ /

There are posters at the railway stations saying 'Who makes pastry? Not Delia!' and I was tempted to make some stickers that go over them to say, 'Me! It's really easy, just two parts fat to one flour and a splash of water, you can do the rubbing in with a food processor.'

She must be stopped! Lock her up in her crockery shed, I say, before she ruins my childhood nostalgia entirely.

<wanders off muttering to fashion voodoo doll from frozen mashed potato and tinned mince>

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:15:57

Kathy grin

I must admit I am surprisingly distressed about it all

I used to TRUST Delia

In fact I think this thread should be under Relationships...

Carmenere Tue 11-Mar-08 20:18:57

Me too, I am disproportionately upset with her. I feel like my mum has taken a job in a strip joint frequented by my bin men.

FluffyMummy123 Tue 11-Mar-08 20:19:51

Message withdrawn

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:21:46

AND also

when questioned about all the excess rubbish that the processed ingredients are generating, she said something like "Ohhhhh I'm not really political"

I mean FFS really that is SOOOO lame, we KNOW you're not an IDIOT Delia, so don't pretend you are


morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:22:43

Have we already read Caitlin Moran on Delia's new show?

PussinJimmyChoos Tue 11-Mar-08 20:24:43

Morning Paper - I can't agree more!

I'm traumatised at tinned mince I tell you...!!

Maybe she's aiming the prog at people who give their kids turkey twizzlers so she reasons that frozen mash maybe the lesser of the two evils....but then, people who give their kids turkey twizzlers wouldn't be watching BBC 2 would they???

Yes, I am generalising a lot here blush

hairtwiddler Tue 11-Mar-08 20:41:04

I am watching the tinned mince at the moment on iplayer.
Surely not! Delia! Even worse, I can't believe Nigel (God of the Kitchen) Slater is in cahoots with her over this.

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:46:47

Guardian Blog: "I think there is a bigger problem here. It's not just that the pre-prepared food Delia is flogging is an environmental nasty - in all its unnecessary processing, packaging and transport. Or that such stuff props up the "value-adding" idiocies of the food industry giants, which have brought them vast profit at the expense of farmers and traditional producers. It's more that just as the nation started to eat better, she's asking it to eat worse again. And that really is selling out."

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:48:05

Guardian telly review: "There's worse to come, in the shepherd's pie: tinned mince. Yuk. Now that really is wrong. When was the last time you opened a tin of mince? 1945? Look, Delia, your cat thinks it's for her! Why not sprinkle a bit of powdered egg on top while you're at it... Relax, the war's over."

Carmenere Tue 11-Mar-08 20:53:06

With success comes responsibility and she has stuck her head in the sand re all the food issues just to make a few more quid and remember she is one of the wealthiest women in the UK. If she had just churned out another ordinary, well written book she still would have made a mint. She DOESN"T need the cash she is getting from the product placement.

As I said in an earlier thread today -I fundamentally object to her promoting industrially produced slop foods. Industrial food producers are responsible for many food related health issues(additives, trans fats ect) and all of the morally bankrupt intensive farming that goes on. I am disgusted with her.

<I know it is wankery to quote yourself but I couldn't be arsed writing it again>

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:54:35

<link to earlier thread please so I can rant in two places as well>

morningpaper Tue 11-Mar-08 20:55:48

It is like Alan Bennett delving into chicklitt

hairtwiddler Tue 11-Mar-08 20:55:50

Tinned mince is something I would have found in the back of my Granny's cupboard 20 years ago. Even she wouldn't have used it, she would have been stockpiling it for times of hardship. I can see it now, with a rimful of dust...
It's all just so wrong!

lol morningpaper - too right, this thread should be under relationships - that's one more dysfunctional one to add to my family.

Carmenere Tue 11-Mar-08 20:56:03
bozza Tue 11-Mar-08 21:14:51

My Mum asked me if I wanted this book for my birthday (she knows I have a penchant for cookery books). So I politely replied no thank you and explained that I know how to cheat, it's the cooking I am interested in working on. Little did I know! I didn't realise that Delia would come up with such elaborate and pointless cheats.

bozza Tue 11-Mar-08 21:19:02

My Mum asked me if I wanted this book for my birthday (she knows I have a penchant for cookery books). So I politely replied no thank you and explained that I know how to cheat, it's the cooking I am interested in working on. Little did I know! I didn't realise that Delia would come up with such elaborate and pointless cheats.

CatIsSleepy Tue 11-Mar-08 21:37:31

it was the marriage of fancy ingredients and processed crap that was so odd. hard to see who it was aimed at really.

the shed full of crockery was confusing, too.

scaryteacher Wed 12-Mar-08 10:59:30

She has written a book on how to cook on a budget called Frugal Food, but it seems to advocate lots of offal, and cider instead of wine in the sausage casserole!

I learnt to cook from the Complete Cookery Course back in the late 1980s, and still use her books, especially Christmas and Winter, so I was a bit dismayed by the programme. I would make the fish pie, but make my own sauce, and my own mash. I have a copy of the original How To Cheat from the early 70s, and it uses tinned mince in some recipes, but not all. the cheats there seem to be stock cubes and tinned/frozen veg. However, in the 1990s I worked with someone whose idea of a shepherds pie was a tin of Fray Bentos with Smash on top! So if this does get people to try 'real' food in some things with their familiar frozen/ readfy meal style ingredients in there as well, it may be a case of weaning them on to real food - you could use a baby analogy, or someone breaking the ready meal habit?

My DH went pale at the shed as my eyes lit up, as I have way too much cooking equipment, and he's always on at me to 'rationalise' it. He didn't like it when I spotted cookbooks on her shelves that I haven't yet acquired either....

I don't think you're going to wean people off ready meals like this - but I think it's clear where I stand!!

captainmummy Thu 13-Mar-08 10:03:30

I don;t understand the point of her books - yes teach us to cook proper food cheaply or to cheat using, say, bought pastry or fish-in-butter-sauce, but not tinned stuff full of artificial gunk.

I use tins/jars of pasta/curry sauce all the time, sometimes it's not practical to make a korma from scratch. I suppose that's cheating.

Maybe MNers could write their own cookbook, How To Cheat At Making Decent Meals from Jars and Packets. No frozen mash.

Overrun Thu 13-Mar-08 13:32:45

We obviously all feel strongly about Delia, this must be the 5th thread about her new Cheating style.

I think I made my feelings plain on all of them, RUBBISH!!!

Katisha Fri 14-Mar-08 12:08:35

Apologies if this has been posted on another thread (or even this one) but if you read this and then scroll to the end where they cost up the ingredients for each dish it's an astonishingly expensive way of going about things. Guardian Delia article. The chicken and leek pie comes in at over £15...

Overrun Fri 14-Mar-08 17:20:38

thanks for that really good link Katisha.

Scramble Fri 14-Mar-08 23:38:39

Delia has went tothe dark side and I am not impressed. I like Jamies simple style, OK he is a simple boy grin. I always respected delia but the image of her opening a tin of mince and putting on frozen mash was so wrong, Ok I use smash but I need something to aspire too.

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