Vagina Party : (noun) : the endstages of a mixed-gender reality show in which the gender-balance of remaining contestants has become either entirely or overwhelmingly female (cf : The Apprentice UK 5, Strictly Come Dancing 10, The Great British Bake-Off 4)
1. As it was Pastry Week, Mel & Sue commenced this week’s proceedings by trying to remember all 6 types of pastry. Apparently they are “suet”, “puff”, “sweet-crust”, “short-crust”, “hot-water-crust” and “choux”. If that’s the case Mel & Sue, then explain the Iceland 75 Piece Pastry Platter. 75 individual pieces, and not one of them would come even remotely close to being described by those categories.
2. The type of pastry we hopped on first on this week’s magical merry-go-round of flakiness was suet, as the contestants were tasked with creating a “family-sized” suet-pudding. Frankly it’s a wonder that Ruby got hers finished, given that I fully expected to stand muttering “but what IS family, really?” philosophically to herself, as the marquee burned behind her as her suet set alight. In the end, she just about cobbled together a right-on Emo-Ruby vegetarian Plum Jam Roly Poly. Vegetarian in that the suet was imitation suet – not made from icky sheep bits but instead from the highly ethical, non-controversial, and friendly to animals, palm oil. Frances also made a suet roly poly, but it was a FIG ROLL-Y POLY DO YOU GET IT, FRANCES IS BEING MAD AGAIN!!!!!!!!! LIKE A FIG ROLL AND A ROLY POLY TOGETHER AT LAST AND ALSO IT’S GOT GOAT’S CHEESE IN IT!!! *jazz hands* Really I think the only two contestants who properly entered into the spirit of the round FULLY were Christine and Kimberley, and by “entered into the spirit of the round”, I mean they made spotted dick. Surely the whole point of the entire round was just for people to make dick innuendo? The peak of course being when Sue told Christine that “nobody wants a ginger dick”. I can think of many who would disagree.
3. I’m separating Beca out into her own special enclosure because she was the one baker who decided to take the option of doing a non-sweet pudding, sticking to her WELSH ROOTS (that she hardly ever mentions) and doing a meaty lamb pudding, without any fruit in it other than a redcurrent jelly, that seemed to disappear without a trace as soon as her mound went into the oven anyway. This show so rarely caters to those of us with a savoury tooth that I feel Beca deserves a special Monkseal-Only Star Baker : MEAT EDITION. Actually this was a bit of a good week all round for Beca, as she came tantalisingly close to becoming Star Baker for real. Which, to be honest, felt a bit wrong, given that Beca’s always been the B – student of the show, sat at the back of the class utterly ignored by the teachers, doodling pictures of sausagemeat plait penises, showing them to fellow B- student Glenn and snorting her face off til Paul Hollywood asks her what’s so funny and she says “NOTHING, MR HOLLYWOOD *sotto voce* your face”. For her to receive recognition and join the Smuggins Four of Ruby, Christine, Kimberley and Frances, all sat bolt upright at the front with their arms wafting in the air going “ME, MARY BERRY, ME, I KNOW WHAT A CHAUFROITER IS, PICK ME, I’M EVER SO SMART!” would have been unnatural. So fortunately Frances came and fucked it up for her HOORAY.
4. This week’s history bit also focused on suet, with a particular focus on the Isle Of Mull, where apparently they only eat suet, all clothes are made out of suet, and every year they burn a virgin alive inside a giant clootie dumpling. Ah, Scotland. Anyway, this week’s history bit was an example of the show giving back to the nation’s health. Where before the Great British Bake-Off contributed to the nation’s ever-expanding girth by inspiring us all with visual culinary delights to take up our whisks and baking trays and bake ourselves fat (/give up five minutes in and instead scoff down a full 6 pack of Mr Kiplings Bakewell Tarts and chase it down with a packet of butterscotch pieces whilst muttering about how we’re doing a daring flavour combination), this week the show decided to show us minced up bits of sheep being mashed together and baked before an open fire. MMMMMMMM.
5. At one point during the suet round, Sue asked Christine what her earliest memory of suet was. I have to confess I have no earliest memory of suet. If you do readers, please feel free to share them in the comments section.
6. Coming off the back of a Signature Round where every single contestant did well, and warmth and love and light filled the bake-off marquee, obviously Mary had to kick it up a notch and take the Technical Bake to new levels of terror. She did so by making the contestants bake some nuns, as she retired to what Sue referred to as her “love dungeon”. Doesn’t really bear thinking about does it? Sue also announced that she’d never eaten a nun. I’ll take her word for it, although I find it hard to believe that we live in a world where she hasn’t bumped uglies with Anna Nolan. Add Rhona Cameron and you’ve got the only three famous lesbians before Claire Balding CHANGED EVERYTHING. Anywho, baked nuns are basically a bunch of profiteroles stacked on top of one another sort of made to look a bit like nuns. The round’s DEAD LAST LOSERS were Christine (burnt) and Frances (runny creme pat), whilst the stars were Ruby, Beca and an all too rare these days time-lapse shot of the nuns coming to life in the oven. Most adorable though was Glenn, giggling and kicking his heels up over coming 3rd of 6, thus getting a (imaginary) bronze medal despite being mediocre, literally speaking.
7. I feel at this point I should highlight what is growing to be an increasingly obvious antipathy between pristine queen Christine and Mary Berry. Christine corrects Mary neatly and gently on a technical issue ; Mary sweetly says that Christine’s roly poly sounds very “traditional” and “simple” ; Christine saves herself from potential elimination at the fists of Mary with a classic and perfectly executed round of Eccles Cakes and Fruit Baskets ; Mary back-handedly compliments her on her excellent strategy and game-playing ; Christine starts announcing everything to camera like she’s auditioning for a Guest Spot on Saturday Kitchen ; Mary glowers. Personally I’m working on a theory that Christine is in fact Mary’s long lost baby sister, who has set out on a path of revenge, desperate for the baking stardom that her older sibling managed to achieve but which always eluded her, all revelaed in a bloody incident in the finale involving a cream horn. You work on your own ideas.
8. Finally, having sampled both suet and choux, we landed on a puff. Three types of puff. One type filled, one type iced, one type versatile. Contestants were asked to produce 12 of each, in a positive orgy of puff. Oh if only Howard had been here (BECAUSE OF HIS WEED CAKE, I’M NOT BEING A HOMOPHOBE). Sadly this round was where Beca came unstuck, given that her entire platter, whilst tasting nice, looked like the sad remnants of a wedding buffet. All that was missing was a little cheese & pineapple with the cheese missing. It was wonky corners and invisible fillings all over the shop. This round also saw Ruby taking on Mel Giedroyc as a life coach in order to help her through yet another self-inflated meltdown. Mel went about this mostly by yelling “GET A GRIP! GET A GRIP! GET A RUDDY GRIP!” right in her face as she turned out her (sadly burnt) Portuguese Custard Tarts. Would that we all of us had a Mel Giedroyc to do the same for us. Or at least record it so we could use it as a ring-tone. Kimberley meanwhile had a middling round, with excellent galettes, mediocre custard tarts, and collapsed mille-feuille. Nothing really exciting there, but I needed to mention Kimberley somewhere, and she didn’t really have an exciting week on the whole.
9. Star Baker, finally, after weeks of striving was Frances who finally managed to marry style with substance with her musically themed round of Cream Horns, Bass Clef Palmiers, and Sheet Music Mille-Feuille all looking gorgeous and tasting amazing. And when you add in the fact that Ruby‘s Excuse this week wasn’t “I’m poor” or “I’ve got my exams” but “I’ve just got a new cat and I can’t stop playing with it, HIS NAME IS RUPERT!” it’s not surprising that she picked up the win. Personally, whilst I appreciate that since I last wrote about the show the Evil Internet has moved on to picking Kimberley as the villain (after a brief dalliance driving Ruby off the Internet temporarily), I still like her least. The reasoning best encapsulated by her saying her pastries were inspired by Edith Piaf, without actually saying why. She was French and done music innit? WHIMSY AHOY. (Also she put goats cheese in her fig roll-y poly. NON).
10. Leaving us, inevitably, was Glenn. Bless him, he must have been aware that the tides of gender inevitability were against him at this stage. When there are this many women in one place, the Vagina Party can’t be too far away. Still, he bought his full array of tricks to bare – a massive bottle of booze and his own container for his Signature Bake of Prune And Almagnac Pudding (the container trapped his pudding, burning it slightly, and the booze was too much for even noted alky Mary Berry) and his own secret special technique of the “inside-out puff” for the Showstopper Round (Paul sneered it out of court, actually saying “SO THIS IS YOUR MAGIC PASTRY IS IT?”). In the end, Glenn just couldn’t master the finesse and steady hand required to be a winner of the Bake Off, and so our last man standing sadly petered out in 6th place. Of course immediately his besty Beca was sparking up saying she’d proper DO OVER all the other contestants in his honour. Or at least as much as anyone can ever say that on the Bake Off. I think she just went “oooh I think there’ll be a different atmosphere in the tent next week probably” and gave a bit of a stern look.
WATCH YOUR BACK KIMBERLEY!
Next week : Steve takes us through Emo Ruby smashing shit and yelling that she’s The Incredible Hulk. It was only a matter of time.