Come Dine with Me

We have been watching so much Breaking Bad that I haven’t been watching much British television, which I think has sort of become my de facto specialty here on this blog. There is just so much to say about it. It is so good. And so…English. A favourite has absolutely risen to the top in the past few weeks. Come Dine with Me combines everything I love about television and life in general, and, of course, the Brits: dinner parties, hosting, cheeky commentary, and a Β£1000 prize. I am dying to go on this show.

Here’s the rundown:

Four strangers are chosen. Each of them hosts a dinner party at their home for the group, where they are required to prepare three dishes: a starter, a main, and a pudding. (That’s how they say “appetizer”, “entree”, and “dessert” here, you classless Americans!) At the end of the evening, the three guests rank the experience from 1-10. That night’s host is judged based on the quality of the food, and the quality of the company and hosting, but it’s all rather squidgy. (That’s how they say “squishy” here, you classless Americans!) At the end of the fourth and final dinner, the results are all tallied and the person who has the most points wins the Β£1000. (That’s $1,550ish you…Ahem. Sorry.) Sometimes there are themes. Sometimes there are weirdos. Actually, there’s always weirdos. It is just so damn entertaining. And it’s on pretty much every day after I finish work and am starting on dinner, which I usually put aside, pour myself a glass of wine, and sink into the couch to watch the madness unfold. There is always someone horrified by someone else’s table manners, always someone who says they are “gutted” after they lose, always some amateur gourmand who is too smug to bear, and always a question of what the spouses of these people are doing and if they’re sad they don’t get to be on television, too?

Variations:

— Sometimes there are themes, and the host makes them dress up in costume, which they call “fancy dress” here. So don’t show up to a “fancy dress” party in black-tie. As you might guess, sometimes it is just an excuse for the host or hostess to wear something ridiculous and/or slightly revealing. I told you: weirdos.

— There’s one that I can’t tell if it’s a direct spin-off because I have only seen it once, but it’s a dating version. One person goes on three dates throughout the week, and the “contestants” cook for him or her in their respective homes. It really does add something special to the mix. I also don’t remember what it’s called.

— There was one on a few days ago that was filmed in Northern Ireland and I had to change the channel because I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying. And that includes the one American that was on it (a rare case). Some Americans who have lived here for a long time start to take on really strange accents that aren’t really of either land. I don’t get it.

So once I get a better handle on the type of food these people really go for, I am going to get myself on this show, for sure. I would SO win!

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