Monday, August 25, 2008

Where are they now? Jamie Oliver Edition

Remember that slight pudgy cutie pie British chef from like, oh, five years ago? He was like the Pooh of cooking. Jamie Oliver, yep, that's it. Also known as the Naked Chef. Anyway, it's been a while. Last time I thought about him was when I was buying his line of semi-decent pre-made pasta sauces at my local Albert Hein when I lived in the Netherlands in 2005. So, apparently now he's popped up yet again, this time pontificating on British food habits. Sort of interesting:

"Jamie Oliver has launched an extraordinary attack on the British - portraying them as more interested in getting drunk than eating well.

'Unlike French people, and I regret it, we lost our traditions. In gastronomy, the world evolves and changes. And right in front of us, isolated from everything, you have France where nothing changes.'"

Here's the article.

For me, much of the same could be said about American food habits, but, oh wait, we never had an interesting food history to begin with..... Or did we? Something to think about.

Also, I would contend with his point that the tradition of French food never changes--while there are, undeniably and absolutely, many culinary techniques and traditions that remain connected to the culture and will never die, there are also many new Americanized habits that are slowly creeping their way into mainstream French culture. Of course, as always, I'm talking about McDonald's--the one in my Parisian neighborhood always had a line when I would walk by, day or night, and the kids I nannied would BEG me for it. Just like American kids! And, of course, other things too...Pringles in the grocery store, more processed and canned items, more eating on the run than the tradition of sitting and relaxing with your meal, American companies enforcing hour-long lunches, etc. etc.

Mr. Oliver, I would also like to simply say that the British culinary tradition that you are grieving is lacking flavor and style and furthermore many of your recipes were for post-pub grilled bacon and peanut butter sandwiches and the like, so claiming that people are more interested in 'getting drunk at the pub' than what they eat is not quite accurate--they are interested in both, just maybe sequentially is all, at least according to your previous cookbooks...

1 comment:

CoachDub said...

Good post, but just so you know, Jamie has a fantastic new-ish show on Food Network called Jamie at Home. It is my favorite show on Food Network--Jamie cooks from his farmhouse using all the ingredients that he picks or grows himself. It is on Saturday mornings, and I DVR it every week. Check it out!