I’ve become very keen on watching Ed Balls cook. Turns out the former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer knows his way around a kitchen. At home, he takes on most of the cooking. He’s very good with a Mexican-style breakfast. I suspect most of us will not sample Balls’ breakfast.
All this is only clear because he and a number of other celebrities, including Ed Byrne and one-time Big Issue columnist (top of her CV) Rachel Johnson, are on a TV show. It’s celebrating the best of home cooks. Like a MasterChef for those with profile but limited ability. Though Rachel is very confident with venison.
Ten famous faces are challenged to serve up tasty home-cooked food! ????????????
— BBC One (@BBCOne) January 14, 2021
It is curious to see the arc Balls has followed, from Oxford and Harvard, to big-brained policy wonk influencing how we all live while advising then-PM Gordon Brown, to going Gangnam Style on Strictly, and now here, fretting about the crispiness of his roast potatoes.
During the show he has become, briefly, a signifier, indicative of a change in behaviour. ‘Look, LOOK, he could have been Chancellorbut he sorts out the cooking at home. See, SEE, men are takingmore responsibility.’
This is greeted, in my home at least, with a polite, but knowing, shrug. Ed is an outlier.