When I was a new mother with my first child in 1989 and I was home for the first time during the day, there was a cooking show on TV that I would watch. It was reruns of a cooking show from the BBC. I loved it so much that I started taping it. I felt like I was the only person watching it. Years later, I took that tape and had it transferred to DVD because it was so important to me and no one in this country seemed to know about this cook. To this day, I still think it's the best cooking show I've ever seen.
The cook was Keith Floyd of Great Britain and the shows, "Floyd on France" and "Floyd on Fish", were shown extensively in the U.K., where he was a household name. They were wonderful travelogue type of shows, with Floyd traipsing all over the countryside, taking over people's kitchens and cooking outdoors a lot. He had a great sense of humor and was so fun to watch, slurping from a glass of wine while he was cooking, arguing with his cameramen, and always flirting with the women he would be cooking with. He was ahead of his time, lecturing about all the things that the "eat local" movement is talking about now. He always referred to the viewers as "gastronauts". The theme music from "The Stranglers" set the tone. To this day, the shows make me laugh out loud.
And he was an amazing cook. He was, so many times, set up in difficult circumstances to cook - he would be outdoors on the banks of a river, whipping up some fish on a hotplate or in some tiny galley kitchen on a boat, cooking up a feast for the crew. He made you think that if he could do that in those circumstances, surely you could whip up some tasty meal in the luxury of your own kitchen. He made the point that it was the ingredients that were the star - if you had the freshest fish, the best quality olive oil, real garlic and herbs, you could make a delicious dish that was not at all complicated.
When I heard he died on September 14th, my heart sank. I read that even Marco Pierre White said that Floyd had the best cooking show that was ever made. I had always wished that someone, somehow would bring him to American T.V. Although I have those episodes on my DVD, they are not great quality, having been recorded onto a VHS tape and then transferred to DVD. But I am so glad I have them! I had looked for years on the internet to see if they were ever made into DVDs but I could never find them. Some segments of many of his shows have been put on YouTube, but unfortunately, you still can't find all of the "Floyd on France" or "Floyd on Fish" episodes. But if you are not familiar with Keith Floyd, I leave you with this video. I hope it inspires you to watch some of the others that are online. I guarantee you'll learn a thing or two about great, simple cooking. And you'll most definitely laugh.