BBC’s ‘Two Fat Ladies’ Was the Perfect Fat-Positive Cooking Show

I typically really don’t enjoy a large amount of food stuff television. Soon after considering about foodstuff and ingesting all day at function, the final point I want to do is listen to far more from cooks as they prattle on about their astounding imaginative talents and individual struggles on an episode of Chopped.

It doesn’t assist that the format has been warped and abused in excess of the earlier decade, with cooking displays expanding ever a lot more absurd in their makes an attempt to appeal to viewers. From Guy’s Grocery Online games to Gordon Ramsay’s Next Level Kitchen, I have no authentic tolerance for fucking all over with the by now-spectacular process of cooking by, say, making chefs change kitchens in the middle of preparing the entree. Which is probably why I have an unrelenting adore for the tranquil simplicity of Two Fat Girls, the best cooking exhibit in tv history.

Premiered in the United Kingdom in 1996, the BBC exhibit follows Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright as they climb aboard their Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle — pushed by Paterson with Dickson Wright using shotgun in a sidecar — and go on adventures, like scallop fishing on a boat in Cornwall, all ensuing in a slew of dishes that variety from drool-inducing to absolutely confounding.

Two Body fat Females — syndicated on the Meals Network in the U.S. — is pure ease and comfort tv, excellent for binge-looking at on a lazy weekend. It is not accurately a present for those people wanting to extend their possess cooking repertoire: You’re extra viewing the hosts cook than finding out how to put together the recipes, and it does not offer the exact same variety of stage-by-phase instruction you’d see on Every single Working day With Rachael Ray or America’s Examination Kitchen area films. Alternatively, the sequence is like sitting at the counter of your charming British aunties, seeing them put together a hearty food.

Much more than that, though, it’s 1 of the several optimistic representations of body fat women in foodstuff media. From the commencing of the sequence, Paterson and Dickson Wright exude an incredible, genuine pleasure with out the glitz or large-priced creation concerned in the contemporary cooking show. It is a very little little bit cheesy, a entire whole lot charming, and perhaps the only cooking demonstrate in record that does not shy away from the truth that its hosts are, in simple fact, fat.

“Grab that crab, Clarissa! Take in that beet Jennifer!,” the jaunty intro tune goes. “Well does not that pheasant appear enjoyable? Fasten your tastebuds for a gastronomic ride, ‘cause us two fats females are itching to get into your kitchen!” At the conclude of the concept tune, cartoon versions of Paterson and Dickson Wright on their motorbike smash into a wall like the Kool-Assist Person.

These two excess fat ladies put together and consume food stuff with joy, and with no apology. There’s no guilt or disgrace, which is exceedingly scarce even when slim individuals are having on monitor. In the planet of the Two Fat Women, any delightful, lovingly geared up bite is “worth the energy,” as Excellent British Bake-Off decide Prue Leith may possibly say. Only right here, it in fact goes devoid of the reminder of the pernicious impact of diet regime tradition on our pleasure of rich, delectable foodstuff.

This mind-set, of course, earned the present some scorn in the ‘90s, at the peak of the minimal-body fat trend, with its critics complaining that Peterson and Dickson Wright ended up “encouraging” weight problems. The backlash was so major that Dickson Wright later stated that the two faced loss of life threats, but the duo remained on their own all through Two Unwanted fat Girls’ 4 seasons. When the “body positivity” movement was nonetheless incubating, these women of all ages have been already residing it.

The display also dispelled some of the ideas that men and women have about fatness, and fats people today in standard — that we’re lazy or lonely or incapable of taking pleasure in even basic bodily activity. Instead, Dickson Wright and Paterson live daily life to the fullest, their fatness under no circumstances stopping them from jumping on a crabbing boat with a fisherman who sings sea shanties, or riding their motorbike into the countryside to cook dinner wild match. It is a refreshing crack from the relentless competitors and created drama that dominates modern cooking displays, and most likely extra importantly, the obsession with dieting and “health” that is contaminated even Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, whose whole brand is built all-around indulgent, lavishly prepared meals.

Regrettably, the clearly show was tragically lower small following the fourth episode of its fourth season in 1999, when Paterson died months just after getting identified with lung cancer at the age of 71. But it lives on for good on YouTube, in which nearly all of its 18 episodes are readily available to stream for absolutely free, presenting an totally new viewers to practical experience the unmitigated pleasure — and celebration of fatness — that Two Fats Women introduced to the monitor.

It’s a disgrace that fashionable food items television, with its intensive storylines and glossy output, does not appear extra like the homey, normal convenience of Two Fat Ladies. Possibly, then, it’s time for a reboot. Our screens could use a lot more of that easy, laid-back vibe, and it would be so refreshing to see two people who couldn’t treatment a lot less about how quite a few calories are in an entree or whether or not their bodies are “fit for tv,” as they build and enjoy the wonders of food.