There is (at least I hope I can still talk in the present tense) a radio show called “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue” that has been running on Radio 4 for over 30 years. The premise of the show is that the 4 comedians will be ‘given silly things to do’ and will largely improvise the results. The games are legion and varied, frequently made up and usually fully in compliance with the objective of the show of being silly. Each listener will have their own favourite game, moment or line from the show- one of my favourites comes from the game where the contestants had to (incorrectly) complete a well known phrase: The expression supplied was “Too many cooks …” and most english speakers will correctly complete this as “spoil the broth”, but not on ISIHAC: the expression that is now indelibly imprinted on my mind is “Too many cooks …. on television”
Which is not to say that all cooking shows are bad or that many of the cooks on television are not engaging characters, but the wall to wall exposure to cooking shows does tend to dilute the fact that in many cases they are serving a very valuable public service, as well as entertaining us. In the UK Jamie Oliver is as well known for his campaign to improve the quality of food served to our children in school as he is for his restaurants, Delia Smith has taught a nation to cook and Gordon Ramsey has… well OK, Gordon Ramsey is a bit of a tosser, but you get the idea. What this massive exposure to all these cooks has done is improve the awareness of good food- as far as I can tell this is happening all over; certainly the UK, Canada and Netherlands now have far more restaurants serving quality food than ever before (Of course, with the impending economic crisis that statement may not be true for much longer, but that is the future- I can only comment on what I see)
I have eaten at a handful of high end restaurants, a whole load of middle range establishments and my fair share of places that may provide sustenance but really do little to provide a pleasurable, sensory experience. Which makes it all the more wonderful when you try something new and are stopped in your tracks. Now this is nothing like the experience that Julia Stiles had: She had been a vegan for a while but then reverted to omnivore. When Conan O’Brien asked her what the first post-vegan bite of a hamburger was like she responded, “The word orgasm comes to mind.”
My experience was not so earth shattering (or should that be earth moving?) but I certainly uttered a moan of pleasure this evening: I was doing my duty to my body and eating some smoked, oily fish (cold smoked mackerel for anyone interested. Nope, thought not). Not a great delicacy by most peoples definition, but this one was seasoned with honey and soy. Not only was I not expecting it but the mixture of these two tastes on the fish was outstanding.
And that is all I have to say on the matter; hey, what can I say? It was a slow news day