|Curtis Marsh||Jun 3, 2012|
It appears the crux of the matter is not enough choice on the menu and certain cooks trying to force-feed dishes that have little or no appeal; such as sauerkraut.
Take Greece for example, where the humble gyros has been subjected to unsavoury adulteration - nothwithstanding the only obligatory ingredients are the pita bread and the gyros (pieces of meat vertically rotisserie grilled) - there are many variations on this national dish. However, in Athens there has been abject nausea to the Spartan addition of sauerkraut to the traditional ingredients in ‘pita gyro’, tzatziki, tomato, onion and fried potatoes.
Needless to say, conspicuous consumption is not the flavor in Greece at the moment, although the Syriza leader and frontrunner in the upcoming Greek Parliamentary Elections, Alexis Tsipras, is reported to be basing his campaign on reintroducing Kefi, the ancient practice where plates or glasses are thrown into a fireplace following a meal.
A practice banned by the military dictatorship that ruled Greece autocratically from 1967-1974, Tsipras has seized upon this (Kefi) as a strong sign of his nationalistic dēmokratikós and to demonstrate he is a changed man from his youthful Communist Party days; it’s also a middle finger to Brussels and the Deutsche Bundesbank with the plates being manufactured out of recycled Bartmann jugs with the € currency sign painted on them.
Even more distasteful culinary infidelity is the repugnant mix of Russian salad to the Middle Eastern version of gyros, the shawarma as it is known is Syria, much to the revulsion of the rest of the (sane) world. This intestinal abomination is now become a lethal rotavirus known as Escherichia Al-Assad coli.
Oblivious to these nauseous recipes and such ingredients, the Russians are spreading their cuisine (oxymoron) around the globe with Russian restaurants opening in metropolises everywhere. Yes, beetroot is the new caviar and apparently the Russians are turning a new leaf in the salad; it’s all about health, not wealth.
Still in the Middle East, determined to eradicate Persian cuisine, the Iranians are now obsessed with developing a microwave menu and insist their enrichment of aromas is purely flavor enhancement for human consumption. Despite some strong advice from the entire world that microwave is passé (not to be confused with Parsee); their continued obstinacy will most certainly end up with them in more sous-vide than they ever imagined.
And what are the Americans doing about it? Well, nothing. Actually they are eating Asian cuisine (at least almost the entire US Naval Fleet) and drinking more wine than the French - now that's a paradox. And any president who has the good taste to drink Peter Michael Chardonnay has my vote, well when you consider the alternative (candidate) is teetotal and that's a very dry argument; a man cannot live on bread and water alone.
And what are the Chinese doing about it? Well, nothing. Actually they are craving USDA Prime Cut steaks and hamburgers, in what appears to be infatuation with all things Western (read the American dream); it’s like the blind (lawyer) leading the blind. I guess it’s an appetite for ‘The grass is always greener’ (even if you can’t see it) and there is some delusion that Americans are eating in a good paddock.
Meanwhile, with more than a touch of déjä vu, Parisians reacted very badly to meagre rations of bread with the Robespierre guillotine coming out of mothballs, and the incumbent and wife packed off to the Tuscan countryside. Even if the French are partial to a bit of Charcroute, it looks like it is off the menu with Haute cuisine out and Soup a la Boulanger et baguette in.
And Italy, well the Italians have always enjoyed their food, no matter what the circumstances, although you have to wonder about the tastes of some of their famous politicians, one of whom ate macaroni and cheese all the time and the other Veal Milanese with a little bunga bunga sauce. The Italians have of course adapted to German cuisine in the past, however this time around it might be the Germans who don’t quite like the taste of insolvency in Italian dishes.
Spain, well the big problem in Spain is not a lack of tapas rather, finding a credible bank that can process the credit card to pay for it. The Spanish Minister of Finance, Cristobal Montoro Romero, in response to questions on the 19 billion euro bailout of Bankia. produced some ‘back of the envelop figures’ detailing that the whole situation was completely under control. In fact the actual amount was small, showing his scribbled calculations that 19,000,000,000 euros divided by the population of Spain, 47,190,493 equalled 402 euro for every man, woman and child; which is the equivalent of 160 churros y chocolate at an average of 2.50 euro per serve. So there’s really nothing to worry about at all.
The Germans' attempt to spread their cuisine (another oxymoron) around Europe has clearly upset both chefs and patrons, even more so with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble indicating his strong interest in becoming chairman of the eurozone finance ministers' regular meetings, with more than a whiff of Charlemagne recipes and Frankishly (sic), leaving a bitter taste in the mouth.
The United Kingdom however, drawing on their Longchamp ancestry, has rediscovered their indigenous cuisine. Indeed there's in intriguing mix of Henry VIII and Sir John Wallace about the place with localism in cuisine all the rage where fresh produce sourced only within a 50km radius (or stopping short of the mainland Europe coastline) is used and the Borough Market concept spreading throughout the UK. Sauerkraut is most definitely off the menu, and needless to say, churros y chocolate, have been removed from the banquet for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee.
That said, United Kingdom inhabitants have also reported sightings of the Sherriff of Nottingham, although there is some debate whether he is back from the dead or just returning from a long secondment to the ATO in Australia.
Speaking of Australia, or Melbourne, where the second largest Greek community outside of Athens lives, and incidentally where you can get the best Gyros and modern Greek cuisine outside of Mykonos, at George Calombaris’ www.georgecalombaris.com.au Hellenic Republic restaurant www.hellenicrepublic.com.au; Greek/Australian citizens would appear to be stomaching some of the highest taxes in the world, which negates Christine Lagarde’s theory, and I quote “And I think they should also help themselves collectively [by] paying their tax." Perhaps it is not so much individuals avoiding tax but the system itself, or dysfunction of. (Note to Alexis Tsipras, priority meeting with Singapore Government on taxation user-friendly policy)
And maybe that’s where the problem really lies; that this whole (global) cuisine and menu is completely dysfunctional and there are way too many cooks in the kitchen.
And have the chefs lost their way -- with globalisation and fusion cuisine, or “confusion” as master chef Tetsuya Wakuda laments -- when what the diners really want is local produce and traditional (nationalistic) dishes.
Are we at the point where the menu has to change and accept the recipe of (European) union was never appetizing; and has any union ever worked?
Just look at the Un-United States America culinary repertoire and the food cost, as the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Timothy Geithner, would have us believe, in a somewhat unnerving similarity in recipe to the Spaniards - US$15,000,000,000,000 divided by the population of America, 312,780,968 equals US$47,956 for every man, woman and child; which is the equivalent of 15,985 hotdog and drink serves at 3 bucks. So there’s really nothing to worry about at all.
According to sources at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) the main issue of contention with the Supreme Court of Justice judges with Obamacare is a change to the Constitution where newly born children have to take on oath, upon delivery, raising their right hand, or foot, whichever comes first, and swearing to pay $47,956 towards the National Debt, or abstaining for 15,985 hotdogs, which wouldl in fact contribute more to the healthcare budget in savings of processed meat and obesity related illnesses.
Clearly there is a campylobacter epidemic in Greek gyros with the acute symptoms of verbal diarrhoea spreading rapidly. What is worse, the virus is mutating and becoming resistant to all drugs, as viruses are known to do when the course of antibiotics is not fully completed. And it’s going to take more than Nana Mouskouri giving up her Greek pension to find a cure for what is fast-growing into a global outbreak.
I am escaping all of this and heading to New Zealand for the summer (northern hemisphere school holidays) and I have to say, I am relishing my homeland's remoteness, irrelevance, prosaicness and close proximity to Antarctica, with a discernible lack of population and thankfully removed from molecular cuisine. Indeed, I am looking forward to good old fashioned fish-n-chips.
The Best Fish-and-Chips in the World http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4290&Itemid=635