He annoys me in the same way that Jamie Oliver does, who I actually like more than Hugh. I get tired of being hectored about expensive (and it is invariably more expensive than not) organic food by a couple of blokes who, though well intentioned, have no idea what it means to live as most ordinary people do; within the confines of tight budgets.
Sometimes, depending on my mood, I get fed up seeing their wonderful gardens, perfect set-ups and their license to print more money by extolling us to live as they do. Goodness, I could probably have a kitchen garden to rival Jamie's if I had such an expert gardener tending it.
I realise it's probably unusual in the gardening world not to love HFW, after all he's very enthusiastic about getting us to grow our own. I caught a bit of his River Cottage Autumn programme on Thursday night and was intrigued by the scheme allowing people to grow veggies in others' gardens for a share of the produce. It is, I think, something my very green village is in the process of setting up (that and apparently more allotments!) but was less enamoured with the squirrel stew, amongst other dishes, he was preparing.
By some coincidence I was also surfing at the same time (oh, I'm good at multi-tasking) and stumbled upon this article by critic AA Gill about River Cottage Autumn. I don't agree with everything he wrote but I did have a chuckle at this:
Mr Gill also seems very anti-self sufficiency. I think he feels we should be concentrating on helping each other and not on helping ourselves. He even goes as far as to call it "small-minded, selfish, mean and ultimately fascist". Goodness, who knew trying to rely on big multi-nationals less and eschewing the rampant consumerism found today would engender such vitriol?"His shows rely on the cosy repetition, the absence of surprises, the huggable sense that bad things happen only in cities, and that somewhere just off the M25 is a never-never happy valley where Hugh lives, surrounded by smiley, monosyllabic peasants who knit those appalling jerseys and turn slugs and stinging nettles into delicious fizzy pop."
"Growing your own vegetables is a bit like making your own fridge or whittling a car. Possible, but stupid," according to Mr Gill.
Which doesn't make me angry but does make me sad. For poor old Mr Gill who looks likely never to feel the magic of growing plants from seed, never feed his family from his own hard graft instead of someone else's and will never experience that special feeling gardening, particularly veggies, can give you - empowerment.