Let's have a demonstration

What do you do, or have you done, for a living? Is it an interesting subject? And is it interesting enough for people to ask you to hold sessions at which you demonstrate your prowess?
I’ve got a mate who’s an accountant and, while I’m sure most people who’d agree that accountancy is a necessary profession, it’s not one that stirs the blood of non-accountants. I’m sure that when accountants get together at their special accountancy convention away-day weekends, they all get very animated about net present value and corporation tax but most of us would be left cold, even after helping ourselves to the free sparkling wine and canapés.
So could you imagine, when seeking a little entertainment, going to a demonstration of cash flow forecasting? No, neither could I.
But people love to see certain jobs being demonstrated. Thousands have been mesmerised at the Sunderland Glass museum while watching experts blowing into molten glass to make round things. Many more have been to Beamish to see how things were done in the olden days. The BBC even used to show a potter making clay things on a wheel when there were unscheduled gaps in the broadcasting. And, of course, there are the myriad cookery programmes on TV which occupy the lives of so many of us.
I’ve often wondered why people love watching others cooking. I originally assumed that it was because they wanted to learn how to expand their own culinary repertoire. But when you realise that, as a percentage of the population, fewer people than ever cook in this country today, that can’t be the main reason. I’ve wondered if, like pornography, it’s a remote form of gratification based on the idea that if they can’t get it they’ll watch others doing it but I personally know many who watch cookery programmes – including my mother – so I sincerely hope it’s not that.
Is it that people subconsciously wish that they can do what is one of the most of the important things in life – prepare food to keep us alive and improve our quality of that life – even though they can’t, and won’t?
Whatever the reason, I’ve known for years that when we’ve held cookery demonstrations at our restaurants, we’ve never had a problem filling the available places. And I’ve always used the opportunity as a shameless attempt to promote our business.
And on that subject, it’s worth promoting that there’s Durham City’s annual food festival this weekend (Saturday 22nd October 20011). And guess what? There are cookery demonstrations and I’m on at 10am on Saturday. Come along to see some chefs cooking and be prepared for some shameless promoting.

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