Wednesday, August 10, 2005
who’s killing the great chefs of europe was a movie that impressed me muchly when i was young. it was about food, it featured several beautiful european cities, and best of all it had jacqueline bisset* in it.
bits that I remember:
* the bombe alaska that exploded
* the pressed duck
that’s it. and the chefs were being assassinated one by one, dispatched in the manner of their signature dish. hence, whichever chef it was who did the pressed duck had his head crushed in a, yep you guessed it, a duck press.
the bombe alaska was jacqueline’s signature dish, plus I seem to remember she was a tv cook? [a forerunner of today’s tv chefs]. and the murderer had planted a real bomb somehow in it while she was cooking on camera. not sure how that happened come to think of it, because i think she made it from scratch on-air.
anyway this movie perhaps sparked my interest in all things food.
while thinking about preparing a list of 10 turn ons and offs all to do with food, I realised it was too one-dimensional and would be an absolute insult to food to take such a simple approach. food demands better treatment. what you find sexy in someone I can just about squeeze into ten, but not food. no, THAT’S serious.
therefore I have taken a different approach and made groupings:
items I truly love, though not necessarily on their own
oysters – tasmanian not sydney rock. the latter can be too high in toxins.
ice cream – current fave is the streets traditional choc chip
blue castello cheese
danish feta cheese
good olives, be they kalamata, green, stuffed, etc. cannot stand spanish olives.
cherries but only from a certain tree on the mornington peninsula
good italian cheese, like Grana Panado or Parmigiano Reggiano
[see this cheese place]
greek-style yoghurt, plain, thick and creamy
tinned RED salmon. forget pink, and medium-red or whatever it is.
almost all vegetables except not that fond of okra
heavy-duty, grained or sour-dough bread
vodka [oh sorry, that’s not a food. luckily I am creating a subgroup of alcohol. food and alcohol go together. just like alcohol goes with talking, sitting, watching tv, going out, having fun with friends and family. breathing.]
now some subgroups:
processed foods I love:
* kettle plain chips
* potato gems
* flakey sea salt
foods I love which require some preparation:
nicely cooked fresh fish [white flesh] or salmon. but the fillets, not the steak cut.
mushrooms cooked in butter with a little salt
now the neutral foods:
I know you’ll think I’m crazy but I am not that partial to pizza. sorry.
also curly parsley. it’s alright, but prefer the flat-leaved.
another one you won’t believe. chicken breast. to me it’s just the rubbish part of a chicken.
some meals I love:
> soft poached eggs on good toast
> spaghetti marinara [a really good seafood pasta is to be had here]
> a really good salad is hard to find when out, the best are made at home. they are heaven, for example salade nicoise, or a green salad with fetta cheese [danish] tossed through, a good rice salad…
> soups of all descriptions. love them with some cheese stirred through.
> Turkish food
> Japanese food
> Italian food
> a roast chicken with all the trimmings. [yes, and use of the indefinite article ‘a’ here DOES mean one whole one for myself. No only joking, I will share. You can have all the breast. Just an aside, one of Nigella “Use heaps of oil and butter, don’t worry about your hips, thighs and tummy, but I’m a goddess with a beautiful face so it doesn’t matter if I happen to be fat” Lawson’s mini-recipes is this:
> cook some plain spaghetti which you toss through all the scrapings and herbs and hot fat that you find at the bottom of your roasting pan once the chicken is cooked. You take out the chicken first obviously. Add some parsley and salt, or not. Eat. I have done this once. Gloriously decadent, but again, not something you do every week. [Or month. Or year even.]
> bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers and thinly-sliced red onion. oh my god, if I could, I’d be getting a stiffy right now.
> bolognaise sauce cooked my way on pasta or sometimes on rice. with a dollop of greek yoghurt. it is heaven. sheer heaven.
> a good steak – mignon or porterhouse [a rare treat]
> a tray of vegies baked in the oven with whole garlic in the casings and lots of olive oil. then tipped over rice. sea salt. eat.
> the best pasta – spaghetti, olive oil, garlic and parsley. and the variations, a bit of blue grenadier and chilli. or some prawns. or some flaked fresh salmon.
> a good spaghetti carbonara. definitely a rare treat but so decadent.
carbs in order of preference [these are my friends] :
1st best-friend = pasta
2nd best-friend = rice
3rd best-friend = bread
4th best-friend = potatoes
restaurants I want to eat at before I die:
food I want to try before I die:
truffles in some form
what I don’t need to eat before I die [ie, ever]
deep fried tarantula [ I was considering it before I saw it on Survivor. That made up my mind]
and finally the hates:
> bad potato or pasta salads, you know the ones with the cheap mayonnaise. I just will not eat them.
> the orange part of scallops.
> badly-cooked eggplant
> badly-cooked rice
> offal of most descriptions
> margarine/soft spread butter
PS You’ll notice an absence of sweets. I also appreciate a good baked cheese-cake, plus other desserts. And there is no chocolate listed. That is because desserts don’t rule my life. For me it is savoury all the way.
And finally, the faithful companion to food:
martini – vodka only. gin makes me cry. plus a tiny bit of dry vermouth, shake and pour into the largest martini glass available. there have to be as many olives on the tooth-pick as you can get on. I have found four is usually the max. and they have to be stuffed. the can’t ever be stone ones.
wine – usually white
champagne - not too cheap but to tell the truth i can't taste the difference between the really expensive stuff and the $15 bottle
beer – just the local stuff
coffee – espresso or percolated or plunged. café au lait is wonderful. heat the milk in a pan and add to the strong coffee. this is the only coffee I have with sugar and it has to be partnered with a sweet pastry of some sort. for me, coffee is never, ever of the instant variety. I can do without. yes, I’ll put up with the headache, thank you very much.
* check here for jacqueline's impressive movie list. she was a '70s darling with this one being the best one.
** check here for a nice site on movies that feature food. something that really appeals to moi. though they could have included the thief, the cook etc, chocolat, oliver, 9 1/2 weeks, Tess of the d'Urbevilles.