Escaping to the Great British Bake Off Tent

Darcie wrote a post today entitled “Small things bring huge satisfaction” which encouraged me to write this piece that has been inside my head for a couple weeks. Trust me, it is very crowded inside there and I am happy to let these words go. While thousands of Netflix viewers are holding a dusty relic that they unearthed from the depths of their closets trying to determine if that item “sparked joy”, I have been finding joy rewatching all the seasons of The Great British Bake Off. 


I proudly admit to being addicted to all things British. Since last July’s post on which contestants have written cookbooks (updated recently), I’ve continued my quest to escape to the tent. In September of last year, I gave up many television programs, cooking and otherwise, because they were not sparking joy but in fact were creating agita. 

Living with a teenager with mental illness is stressful enough without finding myself gasping for air and grasping at tissues while watching This is Us. No, that isn’t us. I don’t have two rich brothers, a wonderful mom and a dead saint of a father. I found my heart breaking over a well-written fictional character and while it was great for clearing out my sinuses, I just didn’t have the energy.

Have you noticed that the GBBO contestants really like each other and help one another when they can? On certain competition cooking shows the trash talking and absurdity of the challenges (Worst Cooks in America anyone?) is mind numbing.  Why can’t we throw together a show that teaches contestants to cook without having one of the them running around like the Tasmanian devil, shrieking when presented with a whole fish, gagging at the thought of cracking an egg or even humiliating the celebrity chefs with incessant cheap graphics and ridiculous costumes?

When I watch GBBO, I learn something new on each show and even re-watching them I catch things I miss the first time.  I revel at their kindness to each other and soak up their energy. We’ve gone from learning how to cook from the greatness of Julia Child to watching celebrities rehashing recipes. Give me a show that demonstrates Asian or Indian cooking or one that deals with complicated pastry techniques, I already know how to put together a yogurt parfait. 

My view is that it is okay to surround yourself with things you love and it is okay to let go of those things that you don’t love. If you need me, I’ll be in the tent learning to make a perfect Victoria sponge.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Cassoulet, A Journey
The New Pie
Cookbooks – 2019

Eat Your Books Digital


Photo of the tent from



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  • smartie101  on  January 27, 2019

    Well done you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ToPieFor  on  January 27, 2019

    Brilliant! Thank you for writing this and always speaking from your heart.

  • hihothepatio  on  January 27, 2019

    I totally understand about This is Us, my minister husband can't do it either…My thoughts exactly on the new cooking shows, yikes! GBBO is refreshing! If you haven't been, England is a fantastic place to visit if you ever have the opportunity!

  • talieUS  on  January 27, 2019

    I'm 100% without on this! Thanks for writing this.

  • Amdona  on  January 27, 2019

    I'd love to escape into that tent for a while (until 2020)

  • cake17uk  on  January 27, 2019

    I think this years contestants were the kindest to each other so far – it is one of those programmes that just feels so good

  • trudys_person  on  January 27, 2019

    We love GBBO too! We've also tracked down the Great Australian Bake-Off (skip the first season), the Great Kiwi Bake-Off, the Great South African Bake-Off and our own Great Canadian Bake-Off. We love the baking inspiration, kindness and humour of all of them! There are apparently Bake-Offs in 27 countries. I think the only English one we haven't watched yet is the Great Irish Bake-Off … oh, and the Great American Baking Show?

    The world needs more Bake-Offs!

  • pumpkinspice  on  January 27, 2019

    Preaching to the choir! Love the bake off shows for their pure entertainment and true civility.

  • Lem9579  on  January 27, 2019

    I never tire of watching any of the seasons. It is a lovely show, the contestants are dedicated to their baking, they are not mean nor are they putting on a spectacle. Not doing it for any money, just for the love of baking. It's just real. I've learned from each of the contestants and judges as well. Plus I am a sucker for all things British!

  • mjes  on  January 27, 2019

    I'm escaping not through the telly but through

  • Jenny  on  January 28, 2019

    mjes – yes I added that book to the library a month ago – and ordered it – and then I saw that you ordered it as well! Still waiting for my copy.

  • annmartina  on  January 28, 2019

    GBBO has taught me to try to be more forgiving of myself in the kitchen when something doesn't turn out the way I want it to. I imagine Sue or Mel beside me finding a redeeming quality in what I've made.

  • KarenGlad  on  January 31, 2019

    Couldn't have said it any better! And I could watch GBBO or the Canadian version over and over and over.

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