Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ok, so I'm slightly obsessed with food, dear reader, with chefs (celebrity and otherwise), food programmes, food channels, recipes, food writing, recipe books, food magazines, eating food, trying new foods and, in general, gorging.

In my obsession, I see a lot of hypocricy. In one programme that I saw this afternoon, the woman, living on Skye, spoke at length about eating foods produced locally and in season. She then made a sweet potato risotto. How much risotto rice do you suppose is grown on Skye? And how many sweet potatoes do you imagine are harvested each year? None and none.

She was a food snob.

I wish chefs (celebrity and otherwise) wouldn't jump on bandwagons, spout off about sustainability, freshness, local ingredients and farmers' markets all the time.

Please, keep it real.

I like to eat seasonal produce, too, and look for things grown, if not in Scotland, at least in the UK or Europe in order to cut down the impact of food miles. I'm doing my bit for the planet. I feel less guilty about taking an aeroplane half way around the world now, as most of the food I've eaten has not gone on a journey as long as that.

But, some recipes do require ingredients grown outwith my own locale. Have you ever treid making Yam Boo Chim Gae without a yam? You can't. So I buy a yam when necessary and have no guilt trip over it. However, I don't buy a yam every week. Perhaps only two a year. Guilt free.

I do enjoy foods from around the world, but I also enjoy Scots dishes, too. Vegetarian Haggis is to die for. I adore its peppery bite. The traditional meaty haggis was, as tradition says, crammed full of pepper and other spices to disguise the meats included within it. What began as a disguise is now part of its make up.

Spices and herbs should be treasured and used with gay abandon. Should you use them to enhance your dishes? Yes. To disguise them? No.

See, even I contradict myself. Why is there so much contradiction in the world of food?

Is pepper used to enhance haggis or to disguise it? Or is it such an integral ingredient that it falls into neither category?

Oh, and what about the neeps and tatties? Anyone who turns their nose up at a turnip or any other root vegetable wants their head testing. Root vegetables are fabulous. Why the hell would you want to serve haggis with aubergine, courgette or tomato when you could be having neeps and tatties?

These people are food snobs.

They like to go to a restaurant and see some poor beast deboned and fiddled with, cut into a two square inch shape and served like a high-rise tower block with accompaniments stacked in between, surrounded by dots.

I've eaten like this. I look at the dots and wonder what they are, then realise that it's the sauce, so deliciously described in the menu. But there's so little of it, I can't taste it.

But the food snob will think that this is divine. He will sneer at swede and turnip. He will adore baby sweetcorn.

I loathe and despise baby sweetcorn.


CoffeeBigPlz said...

I never understood the logic between those little baby corn on the cobs on salads and chineese food and such? And mushrooms! another thing! My goodness what did someone do? Oh look darling! Fungus, lets dine on it! Oh delightful such texture, it tastes just like dirt and walnuts and yet squeaks when my teeth hit it as if it is squealing in pain as I chew on it.

No I can not eat mushrooms. But hey, my hangup maybe?

Minge said...

What about Quorn?

graham said...

Oh I agree. Fancy schmancy food is all well and good, but we have to live in the real world. You can't get more real than good old home cooked peasant food. Ok, the presentation may not fill your mouth with saliva at first sight, but once you smell and taste it, well you'll be drooling for weeks :-)

Turnip, butter and black pepper Yum yum yum. Ok, so it's impossilbe to get locally grown pepper, but in theory we could all bring pepper back with us from the hot countries we visit. It's not exactly heavy. So I just pretend that my pepper was stowed away in someone's suitcase when they returned from holiday. In fact, all of the spices I currently possess were brought back from India for me by a friend who obviously knows exactly what to buy for me :-)

Minge said...

You are very lucky, Graham. Ever fancy going to India yourself? I would love to.

Any tips on what I can bring back from Japan?