The Supersizers Go... Is the Best TV Show You're Not Watching

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I was digging through Hulu for old episodes of Kitchen Nightmares -- the best TV show to fold laundry to, bar none -- when I found it: my new television obsession.

The Supersizers Go... is shamefully hidden deep within Hulu's bowels, when it should be front and center. It's far more than just a food or cooking TV show. It's not simply an idle way to pass an hour, like flipping between Chopped during the tedious commercial breaks.

It's a sharp, smart, funny look at the history of food through the ages, examined decade by decade and era by era. So of course it's from the BBC.

I understand that the 12-episode show was aired briefly (and with commercials) on the Cooking Channel in early 2012, but watching it commercial-free on Hulu is surely more enjoyable -- so I'm not too sad about only finding it now.

Food writer Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins are the history teachers you wish you always had. The seamless way that the show -- helped along by Perkins and Coren's exposition -- weaves together historical events and food is a fascinating way to explore the past. A typical 5,000-calorie-a-day diet during the days of the French Revolution is interesting enough, but the show goes beyond the simple, titillating gluttony of a Versailles spread to provide context and perspective for how and why those 5,000 calories were consumed.

Would you eat a breast of peacock, or neat's tongue with caul, or Camembert in aspic? These are the foods that Coren and Perkins work their way through each episode, complete in the attire and lodging of the period. Medieval times? They live and dine in a castle, while Coren sports heavy chain mail armor. Post-war 1950s England? They take their meals in a suburban tract home furnished in Formica and entertain Coren's boss at a dinner party that quickly escalates into drunken shenanigans.

Each episode focuses on a single period in British history -- from Roman times and vomitoriums straight up through the 1980s and cement mixer cocktails -- and sees Coren and Perkins live that period for a week straight. Much of the humor and interest comes from seeing the effects this week-long historical exposure has on modern-day Britons. Constipation is a constant concern during the Restoration, lethargy and hunger (for Perkins, at least) during the diet-happy 1920s, caffeine headaches during the coffee-and-tea-free Medieval years.

The era which Perkins and Coren eventually decided had the best food (and fun) to offer surprised me, but I'll leave that for you to find out on your own. It's too enjoyable of a journey to spoil.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.