Make Doris & Joel’s ‘one minute platter’ a one-ingredient Babybel-fest!

The Skinny • No. 69 – Doris Makes Our Day

What are we skinning? What is apparently 2021’s very first online meme: the prolific-and-horrific collection of home cooking videos forming part of ‘Doris & Joel’s Kitchen’.

Why are we skinning them? Because they are addictively terrible. Because the backlash was both gleeful and gleefully classist. And because, apparently, Doris played a small role in the Egrant inquiry.

Wait, what?! Yes. Malta in a nutshell.

But… Egrant? Oh yes, our Doris served as deputy registrar to inquiring magistrate Aaron Bugeja back in 2017. A job she apparently lost after uploading a Facebook status praising Joseph Muscat upon his election victory that year.

That deflates the fun vibe of the whole thing. When was this column ever about fun? We are a serious operation probing the inner workings and squishy subconscious of the Maltese nation.

That’s news to me. Shall we get back to talking about horrible food filmed under terrible lighting?

If we must. What’s interesting is that Doris’s creations slide comfortably into an audiovisual canon which seems to be forming with worryingly exponential speed locally, evident also on certain programmes presented on the channel F Living.

What are the parameters of this canon, then? Well, mainly people who believe they can cook but who seem to only be generating monsters, like Victor Frankenstein if he had none of the moral scruples or disgust which otherwise animate that story.

So you’re saying it’s about broadcasted delusion? I would be wary of applying such aggressive terminology, but a lack of self-awareness certainly appears to be part of the deal.

Sounds to me like an exercise in adequate presentation tactics is in order. Yes, and while of course it is only ‘Joel’ who’s in a position to deliver a definitive verdict on the taste of the food, all signs point towards the dishes being very hard to recommend.

The million-dollar question: have the do-gooders already killed our fun? It would appear that they’re gaining ground, yes, with some identitarian rumblings about Doris being a ‘non-elite’ target for fun-poking.

But I agree that one should never cut too close to the personal bone or indulge in cruelty. No arguments there. In fact, Doris is a figure of fascination - and national pride - for me, if nothing else.

How so? Which other country can claim to have a viral-sensation ‘bad chef’ who also happened to play a role - albeit a small one - in one of the most defining moments in recent political history?

Can’t beat that for uniqueness. Viva Malta u l-Maltin.

Do say: “Bad culinary habits should never be encouraged, much less in a country which seems to have absorbed far too little from its Mediterranean counterparts on that front, and far too much from its most recent colonial overlords (the British). Poking fun at whoever decides to jump on a public platform should also be fair game, though being mindful of punching down and personal insults should also be a consistent caveat. Let’s approach 2021 with a modicum of kindness, before the deluge (inevitably) picks up in earnest.

Don’t say: “Make Doris & Joel’s ‘one minute platter’ into a one-ingredient Babybel-fest. That should shut the haters right up.”