Saturday 4 April 2015

You Are What You Eat 6

Happy Easter

For anyone too afraid to ask where the quinoa is in case they say it wrong, it's ‘keen-wah’ and it’s in the rice aisle. (‏@Tesco)

Dining room furnishings have gone the way of dining rooms. (Flog It!)

Dinner-parties and dining rooms are a thing of the past. I can't believe it! Where do people eat? (David Barby on Flog It!)

I doubt there will be many mourners at the grave of “fine dining”. The very phrase, with its genteel fussiness, makes me feel a bit itchy. (Jemima Lewis, Daily Telegraph 2014)

I wondered out loud in front of some foodie friends: “What the hell is a middle-class vegetable?”
“Avocado,” replied one. “That’s a middle class vegetable.”
“Oh no,” countered another. “Avocado is definitely lower-middle class these days.”
O Hades, open the ground beneath my feet and swallow me up. Can we not even eat our tea without a side order of snobbery?

(Henry Dimbleby, owner of the Leon café chain)

Huge chocolate Easter eggs full of chocolates are of course terribly vulgar. And expensive. Upwards dye real eggs using natural ingredients like onion skins and beetroot. “I never really cared for the usual colourful Easter eggs most people make. They're too gaudy for my taste.” (Web)

When vegetarianism first came in, veggies had to eat fake steak, mock duck, nut cutlets and sausalata because society couldn’t cope with difference. in the 70s and 80s people still thought a “proper meal” was meat and two veg. And you just couldn’t say you didn’t like melon. It appeared in every dish. But we could only get unripe melons, and nobody waited for them to ripen, and unripe melons are quite nasty and bitter. Of course they were the middle-class fruit par excellence, and saying you didn’t like them was almost like saying you preferred white sliced bread, or shopped at Costcutter.

Now the government wants to make motorway service stations “less monotonous” with natural light, open spaces and farm shops. Make them more middle-class, in fact. I love motorway service stations for their bland classlessness and you can usually get a latte macchiato if you want one.

Lauren Laverne in the Guardian nails it: “Culinary talent was one of those skills I admired in others, like smalltalk, ballroom dancing, jujitsu and nuclear physics... Ingredients are chosen for their cachet as much as their flavour; people change dietary preferences along with their hair... Reading cookbooks unlocked the middle-class attitude to food – which I had not grown up around, and always found anxiety-inducing (I remember, in my early 20s, being scolded by a TV exec for ordering a “builder’s breakfast” before London started fetishising that kind of thing). I realised that the middle classes cook (and eat) like they decorate: expertly, heavy on borrowed authenticity, low on perceptible effort and frills.”
Upwards and Weybridge use food to make their children’s lives a misery – with the best of intentions, of course. It’s absurd to carrying on cooking, laying and eating formal meals twice a day when you no longer have servants, and it’s the holidays. Stated objective: children must learn how to behave in formal situations. As if they’re going to spend their entire adult lives lunching at the Ritz and dining at banquets. They’re going to spend most of their time eating a sandwich for lunch and coming home and cooking pasta. It will be much more use to them to learn how to behave in those situations. You may have to eat in a very formal situation (wedding? business lunch?) about once a year. Is this an adequate excuse for putting your children through a time-wasting ritual surrounding food twice a day? TV presenter Matt Allwright asks on Twitter “How do you get children to eat food they don’t like?” Matt, it’s easy – give them food they like.

The real British diet

Arrive at work, eat croissant/toast/porridge/latte with sugar. Eat biscuits all morning.
Lunch: A very small salad.
2pm-4pm: Eat biscuits.
4pm: Eat cake.
Dinner: A small portion of meat and veg.

Middle class parents painstakingly train their children to eat middle-class food – and then they fly off and eat junk food just like a chav.

When did Upwards decide that curry powder wasn’t good enough, but curry paste was OK? (Of course you really ought to buy all the spices and fry them...)

My parents thought white sugar was terribly common - even the cube sugar was coloured (shades of beige?) - and the same for white bread. (SP) And there were those who thought white sugar was poisonous because... it was “just chemicals”? Who said that? Toyah Willcox? “We’ll have no killer whites in our tent, Candice Marie!” (Nuts in May, Mike Leigh)

It used to be social death to clean your plate or mop up your gravy with a piece of bread. But then Upwards began to travel to France and picked up the habit. (You should use your knife and fork to do this, however. Most of the time.)

"Fast food is so fatty, and fizzy drinks are so sugary." This means they’re common. Upwards and Weybridges aren’t allowed to like Ribena or Rock’s lemonade “too strong”. If you put “too much” Rock’s in your glass, someone will shout bossily “You won’t want that much!” And “fizzy drinks” mean Coke, not sparkling elderflower. However, “Middle-class” soft drinks contain most sugar" said a Times headline in June 12 2014.

Upwards think that in the Middle East everyone eats humous the whole time. Actually they eat crisps, madeleines and wafer biscuits. Likewise Upwards think that Italians love peppers – Italians adore sugary instant peach tea. Polish cuisine remains resolutely un-Upward.

Definitely kids eat chicken nuggets; Upward children eat chicken goujons.

Greggs’ version of a “rustic” roast beef and cheese roll: very soft roll, almost too soft, with flour dusted on top. Finely-cut soft beef that you can actually chew (how do they do that?), lots of cheese, lots and lots of onion jam and very sweet pickle. Bliss. (Of course no middle-class person would be seen dead in Greggs.)

Caro Stow Crat is probably one of a dying breed who understand the difference between tablespoons and dessert spoons (though she would never say dessert for pudding). Why are recipes still written using tablespoons as a measure? Jen calls a spoon used for serving food a “serving spoon”. But I suppose aristocrats never served their own food.

A hipster has been spotted on the Tube drinking porridge from a jam jar. (Hipster cafes serve coffee in jam jars or small pudding basins, sometimes accompanied by a miniature glass milk bottle full of milk.) Somehow a Rose’s lime marmalade jar, with the labels still on, wouldn’t do. It has to be an “industrial design is so simple and beautiful” bog standard jar, preferably made of recycled glass.
And if you ask for a cappucino in a Look Ma! café, you get offered a flat white because cappucino is soooo last century.

More here, and links to the rest.

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