Verbose garbage from author chefs

In 1970s Derby Simon Jardine would have been happy with a roast, mashed spuds, and a few peas; Dave Green, anything washed down with a pint, but he had a real hankering for sausages and bacon; and Tom Freeman, a Chinese takeaway after a long night at the turntables.
Why do I mention this? I have just read a few recipes in my Sunday newspaper and had my long-held view that wordy chefs really should dismount from their superior steeds and join us in the real world. I am, like a lot of the blokes I know, a dab hand in the kitchen, or, better put, I can make a boeuf bourguignon any time … I just call it a beef stew.
My gripe is the verbiage of these anally exploring cooks. Take the beef stew with a potato lid in today’s newspaper. Quite simply that is a Lancashire Hot Pot using a bull or a cow instead of sheep. Reading on, the recipe calls for two glasses of ‘good red wine’. I’ll not repeat that, but feel free to join me in dropping one’s jaw vertically. Who in their right mind, or even their addled mind, pours good red wine into a stew to cook and bubble away? A good red wine is for a good crystal glass to be then glugged down a good throat. Red plonk will do for the pot, trust me.
Turning the page another recipe calls for Venezuelan chocolate. OK, good dark choccy can enhance lots of dishes, especially a chilli con carne, but why be so specific? And if you’re going that far, is it grown east or west of Caracas? Who picks the cacao pods? Rubbish. Cheapest possible from your supermarket of choice does the trick.
Then there’s that really, really silly instruction, nay, demand, that the salt be Maldon Sea Salt. Why? What’s wrong with Cheshire’s finest – as long as it’s not the stuff they throw on the road? Why the outer reaches of Mondeo-man in Essex? Alright, I’ll give a little about sea salt as even the taste buds of my three score years-old plus body knows the difference between that and the drizzle from the plastic container with the flip up slot, but why Maldon?
Don’t get me wrong: I like some chef authors and celebrities. Anthony Bourdain is a particular favourite, but he is capable of putting anything in his mouth (yuk); and Delia is a goddess, despite supporting the wrong football club. TV chefs are different. Jamie Oliver was great when he was a ‘cheeky chappy’ and not a millionaire; the Hairy Bikers I loved until they started acting silly and lost weight; Nigella Lawson … but I can’t see her in the same light now, i.e. without a little stain of white powder above her top lip; and my all time favourite – now no longer with us – Paul Bocuse. That Lyon restaurateur was irascible, a perfectionist and didn’t speak a word of English – well, not when I tried to interview him.
Back to basics please lads and lasses. What’s the best way to open a can of beans, and which way up should bread be buttered?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *