Whether you’ve always had a pinny hanging in the kitchen and are a committed baker, or you’ve been swept up the rise in popularity of home baking, this post is for you. SavvySave take a closer look at why so many of us are shunning shop-made cakes, bread and biscuits and are rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves.
It’s no secret that there has been a phenomenal increase in people who are now baking their own buns, breads, biscuits, cupcakes and cookies at home. You can’t even open Pinterest without seeing recipes and photos of stunningly arranged, artfully decorated cakes. (In a similar vein you may also have seen the hilarious posts that focus more on the disasters when eager wannabe chefs have tried to copy something yummy looking that they’ve seen on Pinterest and failed - epically!)
Chances are you may well attribute the craze for home baked goodies to the success of the BBC’s (and now Channel 4’s) TV show, The Great British Bake Off where contestants battle it out in the now iconic tent to see who will be crowned Britain’s best baker. It’s true that GBBO as it’s affectionately known by its fans, has been taken to heart by the nation and is hugely responsible for the surge of people rushing to their local supermarket to stock up on eggs, milk and flour, there are a few other factors in play too.
Other television shows have also had an impact on the UK’s collective interest in baking and in cooking in general. Just look at the spike in popularity that MasterChef has seen since its initial airing when it was helmed by Loyd Grossman (who can forget that accent!) and ran from 1990 to 2001. It was popular then but was nothing like the show that we watch today which is all high octane glamour and state of the art kitchens. It even comes in a number of formats such as Celebrity MasterChef and MasterChef: The Professionals.
Cooking shows in general have become increasingly popular over the years. When a young Jamie Oliver started showing the nation that cooking didn’t have to be stuffy with his Naked Chef series that premiered back in 1999, broadcasters were quick to cash in his popularity and other celebrity chef programmes swiftly followed. Nowadays even food bloggers are getting their own TV programmes!
So why the sudden rise in the popularity of cookery shows? After all, only a generation or two ago people were still making a lot of meals from scratch. So what happened? Did people stop baking and start buying bread and cakes from the shop instead? And how did we suddenly reinvent ourselves as a nation of foodies who can’t wait to show off our creations on social media?
You could blame the reason for the decline in home cooked meals and baked goods on the rise of fast food, the microwave and our increasingly busy lives. More homes than even just a few decades ago now have both parents, or the single parent, out at work. And honestly, who has the time or inclination to create a meal from scratch, or start making fairy cakes at the end of a busy working day - especially when there are now other alternatives?
But we’re talking about the increase in the popularity in baking, so what happened? If you want to point fingers, you could do so at the recession that affected so many of the UK’s inhabitants in 2008 and 2009. It goes without saying that in times of hardship, people look for ways to save money, and replacing eating out with home cooked meals and dining in became the norm as people cut costs.
There is also the theory that in recessions or tough economical or political climates many people hanker after more traditional activities, such as making their own clothes, spending nights in with a bottle of wine and a DVD or board game rather than going to the pub, or indeed baking sweet treats that don’t cost a fortune but feel somehow indulgent.
Undoubtedly The Great British Bake Off has had a helping hand in getting people into the kitchen to don their aprons, grease their baking tins and wield their rolling pins - after all it first aired in 2010 when the effects of the recession were still very much being felt by people throughout the United Kingdom. The show is now on its eighth series and shows no sign of slowing down, and is extremely popular with all ages, in particular the under 35 years old demographic. Producers say they’ve also seen more men tuning in - possibly due to the number of popular male Bake Off contestants. Its former judge, Mary Berry, in an interview about the popularity of the show in the Guardian newspaper attributes its popularity to the fact that it is “gentle”. Again, something it would seem is natural for people to yearn for after a period of tightened belts and financial uncertainty.
The baking movement seems like it’s here to stay, regardless of how much money you’re making now in 2017 or who’s running the country. In fact there’s even a social network for keen bakers called We Bake. It’s a sort of Facebook for those that want to connect with like minded lovers of icing and glace cherries!
Baking products and accessories have also made their mark and can be widely found in the aisles of your local supermarket, in more upscale cook shops, and even in your town’s myriad of value or pound shops, as retailers of all shapes and sizes help themselves to a piece of the proverbial pie.
The thing that we really love about baking here at SavvySave is that not only can it save you money, but it’s a real family activity too. Kids love cooking and the amount of food blogs, and the rise of the ‘mommy / daddy bloggers’ means that you and your mini masterchefs should never be short of inspiration for something to create.
Even better, if you find you’ve got a knack for whipping up culinary creations, you could even turn your baking skills into a business. Now isn’t THAT just the icing on the cake!