IMBB 12: my own entry
i was ready for it. this was going to be my entry for IMBB 12:
a nice picture of two packs of horse meat and rabbit meat baby food i bought in italy for isabella last year.
an erudite dissertation on culture and taste was to follow along with the detailed description of the contorted faces and gagging sounds produced by my british friends at the idea of feeding those to their kids (btw: isabella ate them with gusto).
then on thursday morning I get a call from a london tv production company.
they: "would you be available to cook for a couple in the pilot for our new reality-makeover-docu-whatever series to be broadcast on big national tv station?"
me: "i need to carefully think about it. let me call you back"
2 seconds later i call back and say yes.
then on thursday afternoon I get another call:
they: "we have changed our minds. sorry".
then on thursday evening the phone rings:
they: "actually we have decided we want you after all: we wont pay you but you will have your five seconds of fame"
me: "it's a deal"
further conversation follows, in which i am informed that i will have to cook for a couple who needs some pampering and good food.. oh and by the way they don't like: fish, shellfish, venison, ham, risotto, asparagus, courgettes, parsnips, salame and a few more things i have forgotten.. not particularly fond of cheese either..
"what a bummer i think". then i realize the wonderful sinchronicity of it all: it is a perfect chance for an experiment along the lines of IMBB 12.
if you are what you don't eat what sort of people are they going to be?
and how will they react to the forbidden food i will cheekily sneak into their plates alongside the agreed menu? (i wouldn't normally do this but it is for the sake of science and more important- of IMBB!)
the agreed menu: tuscan crostini and aubergine mini pizzas as starters, linguine with pesto, lamb cutlets with breadcrumbs and thyme, mascarpone cream with cantuccini.
the forbidden food: goose ham, smoked swordfish with orange juice and coriander roots, risotto with squid ink and bream with capers and mayonnaise (yes i had all that available because i am *that* kind of guy) all to be added to the mixed starters.
i meet the couple: very nice hard working people with three kids, a passion for candles and a fridgeful of heavily processed and heavily packaged supermarket food. 95% of food distribution in this country is in the hands of 4 (four) big supermarket chains so no surprises here.
this is the most important reason- along with harrowing work ethics, long commuting times and pub culture - for the sorry state of british eating habits. the results are an extremely poor quality of everyday food and an absurdly narrow and homogenized range of options.
the point i am hoping to prove is that the british like bad food because they only know bad food and have long lists of dislikes only because we all tend to fear and reject what is alien and unfamiliar.
i prepare the starters, then the pasta with pesto, potatoes and broad beans. the lamb is quickly pan fried so the meat will still be quite rare.. i warn them because this is another big no no.
i must say this has been one of the most gratifying experiences so far.
they both decided to take the plunge and tried (almost) everything and liked (almost) everything. they were sincerely enthusiastic about this new flavours they had encountered for the first time and would have rejected in every other occasion. since they had no choice the ate their lamb rare and it was fantastic (their words).
they were happy. i was happy.
there is hope.
ps: the number of contributors has been lower than usual. i have therefore decided to leave a few more days for others to try and test their tastes (or their friends', or unsuspecting couples'). full report of contributions will be published wednesday (or thursday depending on your time zone and my unreliability).
Posted by carlo