leave the food alone

I was recently drawn to an article that appeared on the website of Perez Hilton about coloured bacon. I swear to you there are people who are making bacon in all colours of the rainbow. This is actually a porcine pride flag. I kid you not – and if you want to look, pop to http://bacontoday.com/colored-bacon/  and check it out. The guy that created it is a graphic designer and has come up with an idea that makes the bacon taste the same and retain its colour event after it has been cooked. This has got me to thinking about the changes in the way we cook and eat.

Rene Redzepi, recently named the best chef in the world, is from Noma in Copenhagen. Items on his menu include some interesting combinations of food. And anyone who has watched a moment of anything Heston Blumenthal would know that he has done some amazing things with food that most might find a little out of their realm of understanding.

But where is all this experimentation taking us? How long will food look like it does now and for how long will we recognise it as the stuff we know now? The father of Molecular Gastronomy, Herve This, suggests that these are the current objectives of the movement:

Looking for the mechanisms of culinary transformations and processes (from a chemical and physical point of view) in three areas:
1. the social phenomena linked to culinary activity
2. the artistic component of culinary activity
3. the technical component of culinary activity

Now I don’t know about your thoughts on all of this but I have some and it behoves me to share them with you here. So here are my ten commandments for leaving food alone.
1. If it aint broke – don’t fix it. Carrots should taste like carrots, not cocoa butter. Vegetables are great sources of important nutrients. Leave them alone.

2. Sausages are supposed to be cooked on a barbeque, or a grill. They are not to be cooked in a vacuum so they look like the raw intestines of a bovine and retain their raw texture. That’s why we cook them.

3. Food does not require ‘foam’ unless of course it is a cappuccino or a hot chocolate. I understand the technique, but just leave it as a sauce.

4. Sand is something that lives on the beach. There is a reason. Sand anywhere else is uncomfortable.

Like in your budgie smugglers or your bed. So keep sand off my plate. Whether it is made of liquorice root or the scrapings from the inside of a goats ear – it is still sand.

5. Feet, snouts and ears are body parts that have a purpose – and those purposes are supposedly not for human consumption. Some will say they are, and should remain, something that Fido or some other canine creature should chew on to leave your slippers alone. Unless they are cooked properly. Then they are the food of the gods.

6. Offal is not just something that Nana used to eat because, well it was a freaking depression and they had no money. Offal can be a main course. Tripe,  should be used to make pet food but brains, liver and sweetbreads are fantastic.

7. Food should be able to be thrown together in an hour or two. Anything that takes a day and a half to prepare is unnecessary and a waste of everyone’s time.

8. Food should retain it natural colour and texture – not be deconstructed, pulled apart, and remade to resemble itself. Why waste all that time pulling something apart only to remake it as itself? This is nonsense.

9. Most food should be cooked. People who live only on raw food are not right in the head. I don’t mind a plate of sashimi or a carpaccio of Wagyu beef, but on the whole, surviving only on raw food means you are slightly odd.

10. Meat and fish in tins is pet food. Whether the producers add some sundried tomatoes and basil, or it is in olive oil, brine or milk from cows that have been hand fed by nubile virgins. The end result is it remains fish and meat in tins and should only be fed to your pets.

That’s my take on it all and you may not agree.

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