Ritualistic ablutions

Posted by Jeni in Great Food Live | 4 April 2007

I have over one hundred cookery books in the flat, and even more at home in the cottage, so when the Hairy Bikers Cookbook arrived on my desk, I was less than overjoyed at yet another tome I had to absorb. After the shows I have so much to do. I do think I am some sort of workaholic, which is why the programme coming off is a little scary. All that time to think about myself. Oooooee terrifying.

But whatever I do, I have my bedtime ritual which is always the same. Sometimes I brush my teeth, depending on whether Jim is around for a good night smacker, remove all my makeup, remove my pyjamas, put on my reading glasses, plump up the pillows slide into bed and read my notes and whatever book we are doing. So, apart from my teeth, it's pretty much routine. But let me just tell you the routine of keeping myself televisual which is a pain in the proverbial.

I have a wonderful beautician, Amanda Day, who has her Chilstern Clinic in Tunbridge Wells. Every month I lie down on her chair/bed, she covers me in a blanket and then proceeds to hurt me. With enzymes, and potions, she sets about dealing with my ancient skin. Considering I have 83,000 tons of crap ladled on my face daily, Amanda does a very good job in keeping my derm and paciderm elastic. The ceiling fan whizzes round like a Moroccan bazaar - the cold air is theoretically meant to reduce the stinging. Yeah, and pigs might fly. New age music - a loose term - is played through the tasteful speaker, and then I lie very still until the stuff on my face dries - hard, and pinchy. If I move an eyebrow, it can make my face itch, so I remain comotose. The slightest twitch can destroy the calm. Sometimes Amanda administers reflexology on my feet, which does wonders for my soul and heels. By the time the concrete has been washed off, I am so relaxed that the car drives itself home.

When I've done a day in the studio, however tired I am, I have to justify those facials so I take my big brush and scrub my face with the washing solution, then spray herbs and minerals over the top, pat on five drops of serum, press a little cream on top and waddle into bed.

I know it sounds like a pain but it takes less than 5 minutes. All the products are completely organic and developed by some Californian nutter (where else?) who uses pure ingredients and is trusted by Amanda, and since I love and trust my inner being with her, I do as she says.

Now, the reason I tell you this is because once my face is as shiny as a Nun from Nice, I am in that bed ready to sleep. So, when the Hairy Bikers cookbook stared at me I wasn't sure I could be bothered.

I opened the first page which started in India. I then travelled with them to Argentina, Belgium and Morocco. By the time it was 1.30 a.m., those boys could have thrown me in their saddle bags and biked me over the Yurals and I wouldn't have made a peep. They are wonderful.

The book reflects their generosity and their vitality. And yes, they are big and very hairy but they are like the Big Friendly Giant in duplicate. They made a Belgian dish called Blind Finches in Gravy on the show today, which has got nothing to do with talking the eyes out of tweety birds but harks back to some daft game played by the Belgians. So impressed was I, that Jim and are going to Bruge for a break on the back of those bikers.

Alex Mackay is also big. He cooked salmon and langoustines in so much butter that none of us could talk for a moment, which let me tell you was almost a first on the show! The delectably French Isabel Legeron looked me straight in the eye and told me in no uncertain terms just how cool and trendy Reisling was so we both put up two fingers to my husband who derides me for drinking what he considers a girlie slurp. And in the middle of all that was the tiny, but perfectly formed, Sophie Wright who made us a Thai salad with griddled chicken. So, by the time we completed the show, I was full from all the food and fun.

And then the very articulate Alan Coxon, or Alex Colon as we like to call him, entertained us with his ice cream making. And then it was all over.

It is now 23.15. I am a bit wobbly. Well, it would be abnormal if I weren't. I am overwhelmed by the lovely women who want my clothes, and touched by all the flowers and cards that are coming in. I don't know what I feel, but my gut instinct is that something wonderful will turn up and you will be the first to know.

But right now I need to go to bed to read up about tomorrow's show, and deal with my ritualistic ablutions. Now you know what they are, you can see why I have to leave you. Cu2morrer.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At April 5, 2007 4:39 AM christian wrote:

OK OK the picture of you on the back of a hog......that's what they cal Harleys here in LA LA land is just too much.......

Ermmmmmmm could be the start of a new reality show.........

"How Jeni earns the bacon"

good job I'm a vegetarian

C xx

2. At April 5, 2007 6:59 AM Jo wrote:

Dear Jeni,

I have been away, and have just found out that Great Food Live was being cancelled. It is the only funny, always interesting and intelligent cooking show on television (especially on Australian Television) - entirely due to you, and it was the highlight of my day. It was the one thing my family all agreed upon watching. What possessed the idiots who cancelled it, to cancel it, is beyond me.

I will miss you like a friend, and I would like to send you all my best wishes for a wonderful future in whichever direction you choose. I just hope that you are back on TV in Australia soon. If you and your family ever travel to Australia you are welcome to stay at our place (my 72 year old Italian mother is a brilliant cook, and our best friend is a Rabbi, so you should feel right at home!)

Regards and many, many best wishes from Australia,

Jo

3. At April 5, 2007 8:27 AM Pamela C wrote:

There once was a show called Great Food Live,
The presenter our Jeni, like a Star she did arrive,
It was educational and fun,
But sadly it is done,
Broken hearted, how will be survive?

Will miss you loads Jeni!

Lots of love

Pamela C
From Glasgow

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing" (GBS)

4. At April 5, 2007 8:36 AM carol fenton brown wrote:

I have only recently found your website after discovering GFL was to end. I cannot believe the shortsightedness of the programme makers and will be sorry to see you go. GFL is instructive and informative whilst being witty and entertaining and never talks down to its audience which is a hard combination to achieve. This is down to your ability as a presenter and your obvious bond with your chefs!!! bless them! I love it and will be sorry to see it (and you) go. You are crazy and brighten up my day!!!!! I was afraid I would miss the last show as I am generally at work during the daytime but I will be with you on Friday. The children will be banished and the T.V turned up loud. Hang on in there...we are all with you. Good luck in all you do and I hope we get to see you again very soon. Carol x

5. At April 5, 2007 4:33 PM JOHND wrote:

Dearest Jenni

Just wanted to wish you, along with your production team, a wonderful final broadcast - I have loved your bubbly enthusiasum for 5 years now and what ever the reasons for scrapping their best ever programme - UKFOOD are just wrong - I - along with millions will be there watching tomorrow with glass of Pino Gricio and a box of tissues - enjoy it you wonderful woman, and every success with any future projects - you bring joy every day making my shuffle thru the week worth staggering thru

fondest wishes & great respect

JohnD x

6. At April 5, 2007 7:51 PM Rhianon wrote:

Only one more to go. I have no idea how any of us in the watching public will stay dry eyed. I think I'll join with John D above, open a bottle of something Irish and warming, and drink a toast to you, Jeni, and to the 5 and a half years we laughed and learned along with you. Thank you. Thank you.

7. At April 5, 2007 8:12 PM Pamela C wrote:

Of course the last line of my limerick should be:

Broken Hearted, how will WE survive?

Doh!

Pamela C

8. At April 5, 2007 8:18 PM Phil wrote:

Hi Jeni,
Another of your many gay fans here!
Just wanted to write you a message as there is only one show left to do.
I will really miss you and the show as you have become part of my life over the past few years.
After a hard or bad day at work I always knew you would be there to cheer me up when I got in, but sadly that will happen no more.
What am I going to do now, and where will I see you again on tv (and for that matter where will I see the 'Bulgarian Beauty', Silvena Rowe?).
Jeni thanks so much for making me smile and at times laugh out loud over the past few years, and tomorrow please try not to cry because you will have all of us in tears darling.
With much love,
Phil xx.

9. At April 5, 2007 8:47 PM Judi4 wrote:

Hi again Jen (its Judi with an i)Its been my birthday today and weve had a lovely meal out. Just a note to tell u I'll be thinking of you all day tomorrow and watching the programme avidly for the last time (boo-hoo!) love to Jim and Jackson. Hope to see you on something else soon xxxx

10. At April 5, 2007 8:49 PM B wrote:

Hi Jeni,
Really can't believe the schedulers removing GFL from us, its the one prog I watch religiously. My son has stayed with grandparents this week of school holidays and i'm delaying fetching him so i can watch you and they guys on OUR final show.
All the best everyone.
Bx

11. At April 5, 2007 9:25 PM Karen Wilkinson wrote:

Just had to add a little to all the beautiful comments which I agree with entirely. My hubby and I watch you and the gang late at night and lunchtime if we can manage. You have seen us through some tough times and some wonderful times (the birth of our 3 year old Emily). We will miss you so much I cannot find the words. Will be glued to the finale tomorrow and we'll both have hankies - the children are away for the day so we are free to indulge!!
luv u lots and all the best for a fab future
Karen and Dave in Bury, Lancs
xxxx

12. At April 6, 2007 1:42 AM anna hodkinson wrote:

Hello again Jeni,

Just wanted to give some support for Friday's show, i shed a few tears last night, so i would imagine i will be blubbing into the early hours of Saturday!
Jeni, I will say once again what a wonderful show GFL was and that I am going to miss you more than i could ever put into words.
I beg you to come back to our tv screens before too long. Jeni, you got me through a really tough time after an ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed me, you were my laughter during a very bleak time in my life.Much love and wishing you all the luck in the world for your future career.(not that you need it)x xxxxxx

13. At April 6, 2007 2:27 AM GENIE MARSHALL wrote:

HEY JENI YOUR SO FINE, YOUR SO FINE YOU BLOW OUR MINDS, HEY JENI, HEY JENI. I'M VERY SAD TO SEE YOU AND THE TEAM GOING, YOU BRIGHTEN UP MY DAYS. THANK GOD FOR THE UKTV WEBSITE AS I TEND TO MISS THINGS ON THE SHOW BECAUSE YOU'RE MAKING ME LAUGH SO MUCH AND I FORGET RECIPES. I LOOKED IN THE CUPBOARD AND SAW A TIN OF BEANS AND THOUGHT OF YOU AND FELT SAD, BEANS NORMALLY HAVE ANOTHER AFFECT ON ME. I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WILL MISS YOU, MY TEN MONTH OLD ALASKAN MALAMUTE (BIG HUSKY) FURY HEARS YOUR VOICE GOES UP TO THE BOX AND HOWLS AT YOU (PUPPY LOVE). ANYWAY JENI THANKS FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS. IF YOUR EVER DOWN ILFORD WAY AND YOU FANCY A CURRY POP ROUND, MY HUBBIES A GREAT COOK.
LOVE TO YOU, ALL YOUR FAMILY AND THE GFL TEAM.
BEST WISHES AND THANKS FROM,
GENIE.

14. At April 6, 2007 2:56 AM sue wrote:

just one of the many thinking about you tonight......with all good wishes for tomorrow........just 'do it' with your usual flair and flamboyance......
and know we all love you..
ni' night

15. At April 6, 2007 7:42 PM Kay wrote:

Well done Jeni, today's show had all the dignity and style, with the fun and sadness expected. We will miss you but I'm sure it wont be for long. Good luck in whatever you do next. GFL was the best.kay.
PS.Stick with the real Jim, he looks a cracker!!!

16. At April 6, 2007 10:25 PM Phil wrote:

Hi Jeni,
I'm with Kay on that one, you were a true star right to the end, and I even got to see the Bulgarian Beauty as well!
Hope to see you back soon, as I still need my fix of Jeni.
I'll be watching this web site for news.
Love ya,
Phil.

17. At April 8, 2007 4:01 PM Graham wrote:

Hi Jeni,
GFL was the best cookery programme ever, and the last one will stick in my mind for a long time. I really hope you'll be back on our screens with a similar show soon. We'll miss you

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.