Wednesday, July 06, 2005

TEMPEST IN A TEA KETTLE

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Jaque Chirac, le Prez de France, was overheard joking with the ever humourous Putin, known for his smiling face in public, a face trained by years of KGB interrogations and spying to be oh so expressive...from the Euro Observer:
"One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad", French daily Le Monde quoted him as saying in hushed tones to the laughing German and Russian leaders.

"The only thing they (the Brits) have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease", added Mr Chirac. "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food".
OK! Making fun of British cooks---most don't cook, they boil everything---(a very old joke, that!) is normal for the French, to say the least. But the dig at Finland?

What did they do, make Chirac a blue plate special of reindeer jerky and old birch bark? I wonder.

My mother's family is old English stock. Even when they fled England after the Glorious Revolution went up in flames they brought to the New World Old World cooking habits. Namely, they boiled everything to death.

I remember this from my own childhood. If a vegetable showed any spine or stiffness, back into the pot! We even added oil to the hamburgers, another fun thing from our Brit cusine. My mother kept a beaker of oil next to the stove which was next to the sink. One day, she left the country on her many (mysterious) journeys and told me to cook for my brothers. She didn't tell me she switched the soap and oil beakers on a whim. So I put the oil in the pan to cook hamburgers, my brothers took one bite and spat it out at me. Pfui. Hey!

I took a bite and yeowled. My mother had quite a laugh over that one. She also had a stiff upper lip.

Back to international food relations: at no time has Britain been hailed as a destination for gourmands. Indeed, the same was true of American cooking until ethnic foods became a big hit. Many ethnic foods have many spices. British cooking is very spice-low. Bland.

My son loves bland food. He adores British cooking. He also loves Japanese minimalist food preparation, a fancy way of saying "sushi!" He would be repelled by much of French cusine. Maybe there is a Brit bland gene? If so, it definitely runs in my own family. All my siblings love boiled, bland foods. I do say, it doesn't bother me that much, though I tend towards the French in this matter.

When I was growing up within the Lutheran Church, all socials featured various forms of jello. Mixed with odd things like carrots and marshmallows. This was done by Scandinavians. Did poor Chirac get served this dish when in Finland?

Time to pray.

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