Table manners are a funny thing, no? Once regarded as the epitome of a good upbringing, they seem – according to recent surveys – to have fallen by the wayside somewhat, with more and more of us committing an etiquette-related faux pas – and then not really caring about it. They’re sort of seen as really old-fashioned, uptight, not at all loose like we are in the 21st century. Word is, we’re quickly devolving into some kind of urchin Neanderthal species but with better technology.
Oh dear, le pauvre French. They do get their pantalons in a twist, non? In a panic-driven, typically reactionary fashion they’ve invented a new law – “Fait maison” – to help regulate the 135,000 nationwide restaurants who make a habit of reheating industrially-prepared food instead of cooking à la maman, which – as you know – is how all we tourists long to eat when we are ON THE CONTINENT. The little saucepan logo is meant to reassure the customer that there has been “no major modification” to the food on-site, ie, it’s all been freshly prepared and cooked by proper chefs. Unfortunately, the law is so desperate to please simply everyone, it’s laughably nonsensical: Vegetables can be prepared off-site, apart from potatoes; Frozen, smoked and vacuum-sealed food can also be considered home-made. Read full post
It’s long been noted amongst those who note such things that the more cookery shows there are on TV and the more cookbooks proliferate, the less we seem to be able to find our way into that strange and fantastic land known as “The Kitchen” to prepare a simple repast (Yes. Repast. Get over it.) for ourselves and our families. It’s cooking by vicarious means, if you like, as we sit stuffing things that are distinctly not part of our seven-a-day into the gaping national maw. Happily, being the resourceful species that we are, we seem to have found a solution. Read full post
We’re going to get a bit John Lennon on you today. Feeling pained already? Then imagine if there were no restaurant critics, only promo material. Imagine there were no food bloggers, only self-penned love-letters on TripAdvisor. Imagine there was no TripAdvisor!!! [silent yet heartfelt "YES!!!" echoes throughout Restaurant Land] or even us (Booooo!!!). Imagine that even – and let’s go all the way to 1984 with this – you couldn’t even voice your own personal subjective opinion on a restaurant because they will Sue. Your. Ass. Off. Read full post
Holiday season is nearly upon us and reportedly 60% of us are planning to “staycation” this year chez nous (apparently some of you are interested in something called the “Global FussBall Cup”…?). Whevs, this surely means treating you and yours to traditional British seaside holiday flavours, no? Walking hand-in-hand down Blackpool promenade with a newspaper cone redolent with the sharp tang of just too much salt and vinegar and the greasy, satisfying pull of fresh batter and chips; the unceasing magic of candy floss, no matter how old you are; the curiously grown-up cream tea from Devon or Cornwall which still has the power to make takers sit a little straighter and eat a little slower. Postcard memories ingrained in the patriotic DNA of every family in the country. Read full post
It’s not that there’s nothing going on, it’s just sometimes we like to give you a breather, move away from the rants for a while and just give you some nuggets (organic, free-range only) of foodie news and information for you to digest with a cup of coffee or – if you’re making like food dude Fergus Henderson – a mid-morning Madeira. Go on, have a wagon wheel while you’re at it… Read full post
Egotarian. Now there’s a word to conjure with; a semantic shiny boiled sweet of a word to suck on as we ponder this next wave in food culture. Invented by Alan Richman, who wrote eloquently and volubly in GQ magazine recently about the rise of the egotarian chef in America, it denotes quite succinctly one whose realm is not only the kitchen, but also your palate. No sir, you are no longer in charge; in fact, it’s not about you at all. Read full post