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Baking bad It's a festive case of too many cooks on Christmas TV schedule

And if it's not being stuffed by Donal Skehan or pan-fried by Catherine Fulvio this December 25, it's being roasted by Rory O'Connell or marinated by Neven Maguire - and that's just the homegrown fare.

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We’re being force fed a diet of Christmas cookery shows

We’re being force fed a diet of Christmas cookery shows

We’re being force fed a diet of Christmas cookery shows

Forget the turkey - and prepare to be force-fed a diet of television cookery shows this festive season.

RTÉ, BBC and ITV were just some of the stations to tease their Christmas schedules during the week.

And if it's not being stuffed by Donal Skehan or pan-fried by Catherine Fulvio this December 25, it's being roasted by Rory O'Connell or marinated by Neven Maguire - and that's just the homegrown fare.

Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off, presented by John Torode and Gregg Wallace, The Great British Bakeoff 2021 Christmas Special, starring the cast of Channel 4 drama It's a Sin, and Mary Berry's Festive Feasts are just some of the other televisual treats being served up later this month.

What is it about the traditional turkey and ham dinner that releases the inner Hairy Baker in even the most bumbling home cook?

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Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan

I blame Marks & Spencer. Ever since the supermarket launched its first Christmas food TV ad back in 2000, all steaming slabs of meat, sticky puddings and tongue-tickling bubbles, Christmas Day dinner has become an 'event', which must be pre-planned, pre-ordered and par-boiled to perfection.

The British food-porn peddlers have this year even hired Hollywood star Tom Holland to voice Percy the Pig, for goodness sake.

In the age of lockdown home chefs and TikTok food stars, no longer does it cut the mustard to simply boil the Brussels sprouts.

The seasonal vegetable must be air-fried with garlic and balsamic vinegar, honey roasted with crispy bacon or, most controversially of all, smothered in Marmite.

Roast potatoes are now also a culinary oxymoron. Instead, the festive favourite is daintily arranged in gratin stacks, hasslebacked or smashed with brie.

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While, slow-cooked in Coca Cola, sriracha glazed or barbecued, the time-honoured 'baked' ham is anything but anymore.

Even the lowly turkey sandwich, the last refuge of unloved slices on St Stephen's Day, has been given a festive glow up in a kale pesto panini or spicy mayo slider.

As we face into yet another Covid Christmas, and the pressure to make the annual family feast the most Instagrammable yet mounts, the secret sauce to getting commissioned by the state broadcaster, it seems, is to stir in the word 'cook'.

In the space of just 48 hours on RTÉ One this Christmas week, viewers can learn how to Cook Well at Christmas with Rory O'Connell, join in as Catherine Celebrates Christmas and pay a visit to Donal's Family Kitchen.

Just bear in mind while binge-watching the specials that one in five of your relatives would secretly prefer a pizza for Christmas dinner, according to a survey this week, and that 27pc think it's perfectly acceptable to drink out of the gravy jug.

No amount of telly tutorials will transform me from No-gella to Nigella on time for December 25.

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