Monday, 21 March 2016

You Are What You Eat 7

Posh snack sellers are distraught to find that the UK government’s Sugar Smart app, designed to help people monitor their sugar intake, is laying bare the calorific content of their artisanal snack bars and sodas. According to the Telegraph, the app “fails to distinguish between natural and refined sugars” – a nutritional distinction that Feedback suspects may exist largely in the minds of upmarket shoppers. Helenor Rogers, whose company makes toasted grain breakfast snacks, complained to the newspaper that the Sugar Smart app “puts granola in the same box as Coco Pops”. Perish the thought. New Scientist March 2016

There's something majestic about the Guardian expressing quantities of sugar to its readers in quinoa- and mung-bean-based units. (Damian Counsell ‏@DamCou)

"Did chicken Kiev ever go out of fashion at home? I don’t think it did. But it never stayed on the menu," says Jesse Dunford Wood, chef at Parlour in Kensal Green, north London. "Everyone knows what it is, everyone secretly eats it at home, it sells really well in supermarkets, but you can’t buy it in a restaurant. And that’s weird. Why not?"
Telegraph September 2015

Upwards eat exotic food not because they like it, but to show that they are better than other people. (We had shi’itake mushrooms – delicious! You mean you’ve never eaten one? You’ve never heard of them...?) They are falling over themselves trying to stay ahead of the superfoods game. Freekeh! Chia seeds! There’s a new one every few weeks!

Middle-class food continues its tradition of being unpleasant, tasteless and difficult to eat. Quinoa, rocket, salmon fillet, no dressing... There’s nothing to stick the quinoa together with and it goes everywhere. Doesn’t taste exactly exciting. Nobody cuts up rocket so you end up with bits sticking out of your mouth like a manatee browsing on seaweed. And it’s not very satisfying if you’re really hungry.

In the 70s, we had to pretend to like food that was utterly nauseous (steak Tartare), unbearably hot (chicken Madras), or unbelievably dull (polenta). I wonder why steak Tartare and escargots went out of fashion?

Now 30-year-old Upwards are obsessed with coffee oneupmanship. (In the 18th century it was snuff.)

Fussy food is aspirational, rustic food is middle class. The Upwards are secure enough to be able to eat dull peasant food without losing caste. “Aspirational” is of course code for “lower down the scale than us and trying to be something they are not”.

Upwards can eat Battenberg cake – in fact they’re fond of it. But they never eat Angel Cake – layers of the same white, yellow and pink cake with icing, and syrup on top. Too sweet? Battenberg cake is at least swathed in marzipan and held together with apricot jam, which are both slightly bitter.

The new Spar in Brockley is so posh! It's full of food I've never even seen before. (@MarkOneinFour)

Stow Crats can only eat thick cut marmalade (Cooper’s Oxford).
Upwards make their own (delicious – but it must be thick cut, and not too sweet).
Definitelies eat Silver Shred.

“I’ve watched Stella do the simplest things – like eating an apple. She'd peel it in one piece, round and round till the whole peel fell off. Then she'd cut the apple and dice the quarters, getting it all ready before she ate it… She must have seen how people do things here, but it never occurred to her that she ought to copy them.” (John Le Carré, A Murder of Quality)

You were supposed to break, not cut, a piece off your roll, butter just that little bit, and eat it. You couldn’t cut your roll in half and butter both halves. Was it too like preparing food, which was what servants did? Maybe that was Stella's faux pas. (This is all very old-fashioned.)

About 30 years ago, about the same time they bought crumbling Victorian mansions in unfashionable Crouch Hill, Upwards suddenly all became wine buffs. They went on about years and terroir and “nose”. They bought wine racks. Now they just neck the stuff, and are furious about the latest alcoholism figures.

Those in middle age are more likely than young adults to exceed alcohol limits and develop serious health problems, finds charity Drinkaware Guardian hed May 2015

In Weybridge Waitrose: Last Saturday they were offering samples of biscuits and booze. A woman reached for a beaker. "But darling, it's cava!" said her husband, in a very pained tone of voice. (She took it, nonetheless.) (JP)

On nature documentaries, animals never have breakfast, dinner, lunch or tea, because if they’re having tea at six pm the middle classes will be offended. (The watching middle classes wince at every use of the word “meal”.)

When I was small, eating or drinking on the street was really, really bad form. (Professor Susan Jebb, Obs April 2015)

Food crimes: supermarket or corner shop fusion food. Ramen burrito. Frozen French bread pizza. Sloppy Giuseppe (basically a mince pizza).

Kettle chips used to be the posh ones, and now they come in pumpkin pie flavour.

As Morrison’s open a chain called My Corner Shop, the BBC is helpfully explaining what corner shops are, and how you visit them three times a week, possibly even on foot, and buy only a few things.

Meanwhile, Liz Kendall’s final campaign rally is a few friends round her place for prosecco and gnocchi. (JeSuisREDTORY @twildun)
Nope, Malbec and steak. (Liz Kendall)

George Orwell suggested centralised cooking, with meals delivered and dirty plates taken away. It never happened, but became supermarket microwaveable ready meals, and takeaways. And thanks to dishwashers, constant hot water and fairy liquid, washing up isn’t the chore it used to be. (He once worked as a washer-up using liquid soap, cold water, and bunches of chain.)

More here, and links to the rest.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I was young I was terrified of bringing the wrong wine, something downmarket that would show me up. My impression now would be that everyone loves a bargain, that if you brought cheap wine from Morrisons everyone would shriek 'how clever'.