Tuesday, September 14, 2004

march of progress

From Sauté Wednesday, a roundtable in the new Saveur:
Darrel Corti: 'They prepare food; they don't cook. Americans are always talking about saving time. I don't know what they do with all the time they save, however'.

Mimi Sheraton: 'They watch cooking shows'.

Richard Melman: 'And they read cookbooks. I'm amazed every time I go into a bookstore that there are so many new ones'....

And, on the other side of the pond, the Observer interviews Fergus Henderson:

'Well, in one sense, there's so much food in the media, cookbooks, people knowing things... but it's pornography. You look at it and you think you've done it, but you haven't. I think there's some hope. There does seem to be a growing number of fantastic farmers. But instead of that being the norm, it's a treat for restaurant kitchens.' He has never visited the Tesco Metro near his home in Covent Garden. 'The nightmarish nature of it. Everything is there, but in a strange, ersatz form. An avocado will be organic, but it's been flown in from Peru. It's all rather confusing.'

Here's my question: is the point to make everyone into a "gourmet chef"? Fuck that. I don't want to question Saveur's motives, but their advertisers' point is (obviously) to sell everyone a glass-topped induction range and a matching set of All-Clad measuring cups. But that is not the point. The point is to improve the quality of the food that everyone eats. Then, perhaps, to teach the dining classes to pay attention to something besides the volume of caviar and foie gras.

By the way, the mâche mentioned earlier was as good as any shrinkwrapped salad mix I've had before, but that's not saying much, I'm afraid.


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