I’ve always had a passion for good food and drink (see here) but unlike many, that interest has never had anything to do with fads, or indeed following any particular food fashion trend. I like what I like, not what someone tells me I should like…
Perhaps if there had been a few less dedicated followers of fashion, we might not have witnessed the previous decline in the appreciation of British food?
I’ve always found it amusing how so many people blindly follow fashions, lemming like they rush headlong to avail themselves of whatever fad is dictated to them. And make no bones about it, dictation is the methodology often being employed here, be it subtle or overt.
Irrespective of where the direction originates, we allow our choice to be dictated by others. The ‘advice’ may be offered by an ‘expert’ or sometimes, it can also result from a ‘celebrity’ product endorsement. But many of these influences are paid for by producers and, too often, we’re happy to allow others to make our choices for us.
Ask any marketing executive worth their salary and they we tell you; you can sell snow to Eskimos just so long as the Eskimo believes he was the one making the choice in the first place!
It’s bad enough when a fashion fad relates to clothing, resulting in us all rushing lemming like to get our hands on the latest must wear label. But worse, we often allow ourselves to be persuaded into eating and drinking things we don’t actually like the taste of. Simply because someone told us it’s ‘cool’ or, it was actually on the menu at a recent charity bash; an important social event attended by “simply everyone who is anyone darling!”
Far too much ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ syndrome for my liking!
But it would appear we’ve eaten our fill of the delicate (small) portions famous within Nouvelle cuisine. The (expensive) Haute cuisine of many Le Cordon Bleu qualified chefs in their (expensive) Michelin Star restaurants is now almost passé for many foodies, even if it did happen to get washed down by a nice bottle of Oz Clarke recommended Claret.
The adventures of people like Si King and Dave Myers in The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain have helped to raise the profile of British food. Other TV shows like The Great British Menuand Britain’s Best Dish, along with Chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, of River Cottage Cookbook fame, have helped us rekindle a desire to cover our tables with more rustic (as opposed to artistic) fayre.
British food is quiet rightly fashionable’ again but, as a result of television programs, more widespread travel (actual or virtual), the history and diversity of our nation dictates that our food preferences are also the result of a cultural melting pot.
In addition to all that diversity, finding two cooks who will agree on what ingredients go into food legends like the ‘traditional’ Lancashire Hot-Pot for example is unlikely. Indeed, it’s about as likely as finding strait-talking politicians from opposing sides of the house, prepared to agree about public spending.
Our tastes are far more cosmopolitan today than they once were. They are also far less indicative of social standing and/or personal wealth than was previously the case.
The secrets to understanding and enjoying good food at reasonable costs are; read cookbooks, watch foodie shows on TV, experiment with recipes but above all taste different things. Be a little more adventurous with your eating habits, don’t just munch on what some pompous self-important food critic dictates!