Is it ethical to watch Delia Smith?

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

Dear Ethan,

Is NOTHING sacred?! Delia Smith used to be such a respectable British institution. She was meticulous, well-spoken, a real example to the fat feckless majority of the population who would eat McDonalds’ poison fare morning, noon and night if they had a chance. But in her new TV show she is encouraging people to cook with FROZEN and TINNED products!? Ethan, what is an ethical domestic goddess like me to do? I have a stack of Delia’s books and DVDs – but is it ethical ever to read or watch this woman again? Help!

Magda Duke-Forwittingsley

Dear Magda,

THIS is why I don’t own a TV. The stuff they show on the box these days is beyond belief. Wankathons. Reality TV stars masturbating with wine bottles. The Great Global Warming Swindle. Now, worse than all of those things mashed together and served up with a side order of snuff and hardcore porn, we have an apparently respectable woman giving TV viewers – who are insanely impressionable to the point of being Pavlovian at the best of times – permission to cook with tinned mince (if there is a more grotesque invention than that, I’ve yet to come across it) and frozen potatoes (words fail me). This is without doubt the most rash, rotten, irresponsible thing ever aired on British TV, and heads must roll at the BBC. I mean that literally. I want to see heads.

Magda, it is unethical in the extreme to read a book or watch a DVD made by that woman ever again, or even to utter her name unless it is followed by ‘devil’ or ‘disgusting’ or ‘degraded’ or some other alliterative D-word that captures the deadly D-woman’s moral duplicity. From now on, alongside drilling for oil in Alaska, killing whalekind and bottlefeeding your child, watching or reading dangerous, demented, discombobulated Delia is one of the most unethical things a human being can do. We must deny this kitchen fanatic the oxygen of publicity, and preferably deny her oxygen itself. Let’s see how long she survives on a diet of chocolate cakes made from Smash and shepherd’s pie filled with tinned min… eurgh. Excuse me, I just dry-heaved. I cannot type those two words again, so this will have to do: t****d m***e.

Let’s get one thing straight, Magda. The people who will suffer most as a result of doolally Delia’s disgraceful TV show are THE POOR. Just when brave souls like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and my close friend Rollo Bournviere-Windsor-Oakley, whose TV show You Are What You Shit will begin on Channel 4 later this year, were prying apart poor people’s eyes and showing them that it’s far healthier to have a Waldorf salad than eel-and-turkey-twizzler pie drizzled in dripping, ketchup and pig’s blood, along comes Delia to say: ‘Hey, Social Classes V and VI, ignore those trendy chefs with their fancy dishes! It IS okay to eat the flesh of imprisoned cows that have been forced through a mincing machine and then stuffed into a tin! It IS okay to munch on broiler chickens who have been debeaked, gassed and ripped limb from wing for your culinary pleasure! It IS okay to eat frozen potatoes even though they are an abomination against nature, nurture, morality, dignity, history, honour, valour and common sense! Tuck in!’

In one fell swoop – or one foul swoop – Delia undid years of mine and other people’s hard graft in showing the uneducated, obese sections of society that their ravenous devouring of junk/frozen/processed food is not only destroying their bodies and their souls (such a destruction would, of course, be no bad thing), but is also decimating animalkind and the planet itself through emitting a carbon skidmark the like of which Delia probably leaves on her own toilet bowl after eating Patatas Arequipo made with frozen oven-ready potato wedges (!!!!!????).

Magda, you and I know, and Jamie and Hugh know, and intelligent organic farmers who transport their produce only by bike, coracle or donkey know, that to consume tinned or frozen food is to commit a mortal sin against Nature herself. Such grub is so mechanical, so soulless, so industrialised, so whiffy. You might as well eat the tin that the tinned mince comes in – it will have the same nutritional content as the mechanical mince itself! (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that some people do eat the tin. I once saw a broad-shouldered, suede-headed man with a picture of a pitbull terrier and the words ‘I LOV MY MUM SO FUCK OFF’ tattooed across his naked, pasty, rotund belly bite the lid of a beer bottle… I have never forgotten that sight, Magda; it is burned into my reluctant memory forever – or 4EVER, as our tattooed ‘friend’ might put it. It convinced me that there is nothing the uneducated classes will not put in their mouths.)

So it is imperative that we counter Delia’s dystopian dissemination of dodgy information about tinned food and frozen spuds. Magda, it is not enough to stop reading Delia’s books and watching her DVDs – you must DESTROY them, and the more publicly you destroy them, the better. Some friends of mine are holding Delia Book-Burning Bonanzas, where you hurl her dusty tomes on to a bonfire and watch as the flames lick and laugh and eventually devour her insane propaganda. Book-burning is, of course, one of the better ideas thought up by the Nazis – alongside their promotion of organic food, compulsory breastfeeding, brown bread, holistic and alternative medicine, and financial fines for monopolistic superstores. (Actually, now that I think of it, probably the ONLY bad thing the Nazis did was set up the gas chambers! All that Zyklon B was a nightmare for Mother Nature.) Magda, if you do organise a Delia Book-Burning Bonanza, be sure to CAPTURE AND CONVERT any carbon emitted by your fires of fury.

If, like me, you LOVE the idea of burning books but you’re worried about the eco-consequences of starting a paper-based fire in a forest or field, then why not take a leaf from my friends Rafe and Emine’s book (no pun intended). They have been organising Two-Minute Delia Hates in their eco-cottage in Rochester. Instead of burning their Delia cookbooks, they have dismantled them and used the pages to create a huge, imposing image of Delia’s smug face on their garage wall. Once a day, Emine, Rafe, their two kids and any of their friends who feel like getting their rocks off, enter the garage and engage in apoplectic paroxysms of rage as they scream and spit bile at Delia’s image. ‘DOWN WITH DELIA!!’ they wail, occasionally reaching such a frenzied and high-pitched level of fantastic fury that Emine and Rafe’s youngest child – little Tarquin, five years old and already his favourite foods are beetroot and lentil and his top hate figures are Ronald McDonald, Martin Durkin and, of course, Deranged Delia – has broken two of his finger-nails after leaping forward and scratching and biting at Delia’s face. There’s nothing like youthful exuberance, am I right, Magda?

OR you can copy mine and Sheba’s favoured method of Anti-Deliaism. We have organised a series of Dunking Delia trials by the river behind our Kent cottage. Our two boys have made a papier-mâché model of Delia (unfortunately we couldn’t afford Delia herself: she charges £10,000 per hour for a public appearance and does not take part in any appearances that might involve getting wet, being publicy shamed, or being put on mock trial. WHAT A KILLJOY.) We stick papier-mâché Delia into a makeshift dock to decide whether she is guilty of Crimes Against Gastronomy. (Of course, we already know she is! The trial is a formality.) After finding her guilty, we put the Delia dummy in a ducking stool – made from ethically sourced wood – and dunk her into the river until she confesses to her sins and swears never to cook with tinned, frozen, processed or otherwise mechanised food products ever again. Of course, being papier-mâché, she is unable to speak, so we keeping ducking her until she ‘dies’. Then we dance around and hurl bits of bloody tinned mince at the dummy Delia’s drenched, distended and dejected body.

Why not join us, Magda? The next Ducking Delia takes place at 4pm on Saturday. Visit my new website for more info:

Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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