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View Full Version : Official: British are better at cooking than the French


Funko
23-03-2010, 15:52:32
Survey says Rosbifs spend more time in kitchen
Findings prompt disbelief and Gallic soul-searching


http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/22/british-cook-better-than-french

:beer:

MOBIUS
23-03-2010, 16:19:06
The thing about French cuisine is... it's so French! They simply don't have a clue how to make or enjoy any other type of food... Same with Italians and Spanish. Sweeping generalisation, of course!

What we have in the UK, because our domestic food culture isn't so strong, is a fantastic melting pot of cuisine from all over the world.:beer:

maroule
23-03-2010, 16:42:25
:lol:
I was sure there would be frog baiting today
actually I contributed to the reader comments on the Guardian this morning / quite a few of the comments are pretty funny, and at times insightful

the poll obviously is bollocks, since
1/ it compares readers of a eating-centric magazine (Olive) with a shitty fashion/general style magazine (madame figaro)
2/ it equates time spent in the kitchen with food quality...


However, as I stated before, the improvement in England has been spectacular, over the traditional industrial junk they were feeding you traditionnally (the spam syndrome). This is excellent news, the frogs shouldn't be threatened by that.

Don't boast too hard though, the best measure of quality food is the proportion of obese (which is a direct proportion of people eating industrial ready made shit), and the UK is clearly leading

maroule
23-03-2010, 16:44:32
What we have in the UK, because our domestic food culture isn't so strong, is a fantastic melting pot of cuisine from all over the world.:beer:

it's true, but you're talking about the restaurant scene, not people in their homes

people in Dorset didn't suddenly become expert cooks in all things thai and indian...

MDA
23-03-2010, 16:51:06
but they're really good at ordering Indian!

Cheshire Cat
23-03-2010, 16:52:44
yes Sahib

Funko
23-03-2010, 16:52:53
Don't think that's accurate. Lots of people regularly cook good Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish food at home. The ingredients are easy to find, recipes on TV all the time, cookbooks readily available.

If you go to someone's house for dinner you could get cuisine from anywhere. Often as good or better than what you can get in basic take-aways/restaurants.

Funko
23-03-2010, 17:09:30
:lol:
I was sure there would be frog baiting today

I did mainly post it to see if you were still lurking. :D

Beta1
23-03-2010, 17:37:02
:lol:

Don't boast too hard though, the best measure of quality food is the proportion of obese (which is a direct proportion of people eating industrial ready made shit), and the UK is clearly leading

but a fat frenchy is a gourmet....

MDA
23-03-2010, 17:41:53
The US midwest seems to be an exception.

King_Ghidra
23-03-2010, 18:09:31
given the tremendous volume of cookery programs on the tv i should fucking hope so.

Lazarus and the Gimp
23-03-2010, 18:27:48
Don't boast too hard though, the best measure of quality food is the proportion of obese (which is a direct proportion of people eating industrial ready made shit), and the UK is clearly leading


I wouldn't be so sure- I believe the city with the most 2-3 Michelin starred restaurants is Tokyo.

Lurker
23-03-2010, 19:27:09
Wouldn't that prove his point?

Dyl Ulenspiegel
23-03-2010, 20:03:49
Don't think that's accurate. Lots of people regularly cook good Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish food at home.

So english food has been banned?

No wonder you make such progress.

Funko
23-03-2010, 21:00:55
:D

There's also a massive local food revival going on at the same time.

Funko
23-03-2010, 21:02:48
I wouldn't be so sure- I believe the city with the most 2-3 Michelin starred restaurants is Tokyo.

And it should have many more. Inspectors can't get to a lot of places apparently.

Oerdin
23-03-2010, 22:56:47
Don't think that's accurate. Lots of people regularly cook good Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish food at home. The ingredients are easy to find, recipes on TV all the time, cookbooks readily available.

If you go to someone's house for dinner you could get cuisine from anywhere. Often as good or better than what you can get in basic take-aways/restaurants.

But it's so much more fun to make fun of bad British food. :bouncmsk:

Oerdin
23-03-2010, 22:58:56
Baked bone marrow spread over toasted crusty farm house bread has become a popular appetizer out here lately. Apparently it was a traditional British snack which was almost forgotten post war which is now making a come back. It's actually very tasty and best of all it is cheap and makes sure no part of the animal goes to waste. They take the upper leg bone of a cow, cut it into 3" to 4" pieces then bake it until the bone marrow turns into a nice jelly like spread so that you can use a knife to scope it up and spread it on crusty toasted bread. Some places will even leave a nice bit of meat on the bone so that you can slice it off and top your bread with it.

It has a very rich and meaty flavor and just sort of soaks into the bread like a thick gravy. Wonderful and even better when served with a selection of farm house cheeses.

Immortal Wombat
24-03-2010, 01:26:07
haha, sucker.

Funko
24-03-2010, 08:45:17
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maroule
24-03-2010, 11:26:12
bone marrow on bread is pretty universal, I had it under a french flavour (os à moelle) and Italian... it's a peasant dish indeed, people all around the globe got the same idea (let's not waste)... I love it in pot au feu, and osso buco

Lazarus, I didn't get your point
I was saying that UK leads France in obesity rate, a sure mark (for my money) that industrialised food (the so called western diet as made even worse by food conglomerates) penetrated UK even more than France. And a fat frenchman is a (poor) fat frenchman, gourmets are not fat (luxuary food is not fattening those who can afford luxuary food are rich, ergo they are slim). Fat = poor (at least in France, with very few exceptions -overworked middle agers for example).

I wasn't commenting on the restaurant scene, wich is becoming a proportion of how many people are ready to pay how much for luxuary food in the globalised world (before it was; where are the great chef physically present)


"Lots of people regularly cook good Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish food at home" that feels like a rose tinted view... let's say an image of where people would want to be...

I've been cooking regularly for 10 years, being taught by a professional chef on the basics (my stepfather), and my familly is in the restaurant biz (just to say I take that rather seriously)... and I still don't pretend to do anything well except a few french, one or two indian, the odd ouzek rice dish, and one moroccan dish. I'd be probably unable to do well chinese, thai, mexican (except a dumbed down chill con carne) even if my life depended on it ... I have some doubts believeing the majority of the UK population can do that on a regular basis.

I believe a lot of people in the survey have been saying they "cook" when they simply microwave and mix a few ready prepared ingredients... they do, however, watch a lot of tv programs, which is good for awareness and motivation (let's say it's aspirational), but poor for actual execution skills.

Lurker
24-03-2010, 12:31:49
Bah, those surveys and the conclusions drawn from them are based on ironclad methodologies. Don't be blinded by your petty nationalism. Accept your new british overlords.

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 12:50:55
let this one pass, and next they'll come and tellus that British are better at fucking than the French

Funko
24-03-2010, 13:02:27
"Lots of people regularly cook good Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Mexican, Spanish food at home" that feels like a rose tinted view... let's say an image of where people would want to be...

I've been cooking regularly for 10 years, being taught by a professional chef on the basics (my stepfather), and my familly is in the restaurant biz (just to say I take that rather seriously)... and I still don't pretend to do anything well except a few french, one or two indian, the odd ouzek rice dish, and one moroccan dish. I'd be probably unable to do well chinese, thai, mexican (except a dumbed down chill con carne) even if my life depended on it ... I have some doubts believeing the majority of the UK population can do that on a regular basis.

Depends on your definition of "do well". The majority of UK population definitely can't cook to a good restaurant standard, in any cuisine. I'm not even sure if the majority could cook to a good home cooking standard in any cuisine.

I think you generally find that the people who can and do cook regularly (however many there are) could be good at anything, depending what they like to eat. I wasn't suggesting that every person is great at all those cuisines, people will tend to specialise. Someone might be an absolute expert at sushi, someone else might be brilliant at mexican or indian.

That said I do think that most people who cook could regularly make a tasty meal in the style of most of those cuisines, even if it's not authentic. But for home cooking I don't think most people would care if it's really authentic as long as it tastes good.

Funko
24-03-2010, 13:02:56
let this one pass, and next they'll come and tellus that British are better at fucking than the French

Definitely. You mean faster right?

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 13:08:13
bone marrow on bread is pretty universal, I had it under a french flavour (os à moelle) and Italian... it's a peasant dish indeed, people all around the globe got the same idea (let's not waste)... I love it in pot au feu, and osso buco.

from what I heard of Italian Cuisine, modern "supposedly healthier" variants of Milan Risotto recipes tell you to initially broil onions in olive oil instead of butter
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/risotto-milanese-risotto-in-the-style-of-milan-recipe/index.html
http://www.italianchef.com/risotto.html
but originally and traditionally ox marrow was used in place of butter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risotto#Variations

maroule
24-03-2010, 13:12:20
better at getting it up when drunk

maroule
24-03-2010, 13:13:43
from what I heard of Italian Cuisine, modern "supposedly healthier" variants of Milan Risotto recipes tell you to initially broil onions in olive oil instead of butter
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/risotto-milanese-risotto-in-the-style-of-milan-recipe/index.html
http://www.italianchef.com/risotto.html
but originally and traditionally ox marrow was used in place of butter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risotto#Variations


nice one
I often cook risotto (indeed with olive oil), never tried it with marrow, will do

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 13:13:48
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_marrow#Bone_marrow_as_a_food

Funko
24-03-2010, 13:20:41
I always use butter for risotto, both for the onions (normally half butter half olive oil) and for the mantecatura I think it just isn't the same without it.

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 13:27:35
nice one
I often cook risotto (indeed with olive oil), never tried it with marrow, will do

I tried it once
(for the initial onons and rice stirring, before the wine.
In the end I still used butter and parmigiano to make it creamy)

after all the cooking and broth stirring, I hardly could tell any difference
maybe I'm not sensible enough to such taste subltleties
(STILL, now that I never use butter in cooking anymore as my doctor said animal fat is evil, I can tell you that using olive oil in place of butter on tortellini it's a very sad thing)

MOBIUS
24-03-2010, 13:52:03
Fat = poor (at least in France, with very few exceptions -overworked middle agers for example).

Maybe we have more poor people? We certainly have more overworked people, seeing as you lazy buggers on work 35 hours a week and we are supposed to work the longest hours in Europe – that’s the potential for a lot of extra ready meals right there!

MOBIUS
24-03-2010, 13:59:35
Butter for risotto for me too! But I don’t use that much. One of my sig dishes is a chicken, sweet potato and leek risotto.:beer:

Interestingly, I rarely eat anything other than pizzas or main course salads at Italian restaurants as virtually anything else I can do better (the chains), or generally equal (‘better’ Italian restaurants) – and I’m not the main food preparer in my relationship!

Dyl Ulenspiegel
24-03-2010, 14:11:52
and I still don't pretend to do anything well except a few french, one or two indian, the odd ouzek rice dish, and one moroccan dish.

Maybe you set the standard of "dish" or "well" too high. Which dishes would you say you do well?

Funko
24-03-2010, 14:14:24
Yes, that's what I meant. :D

Dyl Ulenspiegel
24-03-2010, 14:17:23
Damn, I'm a repieter.

Greg W
24-03-2010, 14:24:14
Yeah, I claim to do a few Italian dishes pretty well (amongst a few other things). However I am sure that to a trained chef, my skills would be found very wanting and heaven knows I wouldn't want to try and sell them in a restaurant. Well, maybe a low quality mass consumption one.

And I've had people absolutely drool over my bacon, chicken, cheese and mushroom concoction. But I certainly wouldn't classify myself as a good cook. For household meals I am fine, but I am sure that Maroule would find 20 things to pick on in each dish. I've never had that knack for tasting something and going "hmm, that needs more ......."

MOBIUS
24-03-2010, 14:25:01
Gastropod!?:hmm:

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:lmg-rlVYGizmsM:http://www.biocrawler.com/w/images/9/93/Gastropod.jpeg

Dyl Ulenspiegel
24-03-2010, 14:26:23
Knows more about cooking than a spambot.

Greg W
24-03-2010, 14:26:57
Gastropod? :cute:

MOBIUS
24-03-2010, 14:29:13
Is that the French in you coming out?:D

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 14:29:22
Which dishes would you say you do well?

He just does the dishes, that's no fun.

..or is it?

how to make doing the dishes fun

Funko
24-03-2010, 14:29:41
Hmmm... that needs more gastropod!

Greg W
24-03-2010, 14:30:01
Ah, Gastronome was the word I was after! Still quick on the edit though! :p

Funko
24-03-2010, 14:31:25
did you mean mr_B? He's a Gastrognome.

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 14:32:43
in cooking and eating you have Giants (Chefs and Gastronomes) and Dwarves (Gastrognomes)

Greg W
24-03-2010, 14:33:09
From the way he boasts, there's not much gastro going on. :gasmaske_disc:

Cheshire Cat
24-03-2010, 14:33:34
damn, too slow!

http://www.slowfood.com/

maroule
25-03-2010, 08:39:36
Maybe you set the standard of "dish" or "well" too high. Which dishes would you say you do well?

I've simplified, and now take pleasure in trying to execute well the simpler dishes. I'm a lot now on all the basics with slowly cooked meat (ragouts / bourguignons / sautés / blanquettes / tajines). Alternatively, I steam a lot. I used to do a few rice based dishes (like Plov, and of course risotto, mainly with cepes/porcini) or potatoes based (Baeckeoffe) but I eat few carbs these days, so not so much any more.

now I'm experimenting with slow cooking (low temperature/looong time) vegetables/spices with a dutch slowcooker which works pretty well. The texture is quite incredible after say 5 hours of cooking at 100°. Haven't found the perfect combination though.

http://www.madeindesign.com/prod-Slowcooker--Mijoteuse-facon-tajine-refvp403-ag1.html

RedFred
26-03-2010, 04:48:09
Cool!

My vegetarian group that shares recipes and eats out now and then has helped expand my cooking horizons.

My big recent purchase was a big ol' german titanium pan. Good for a lot of stuff. Hoping to find the time on the weekend to make some masala dosas. For a decent masala dosa, go to South India. For a reasonable facsimile check out your nearest Saravana Bhavan...

Every time I visit the UK I am impressed at the strides they have made. Now it is possible if not probable to find good food outside the major centres. Only a couple sour notes: the carrots still taste weird, like they are adding machine oil or phenol. Only got sick once, with mushrooms, the word is that they use way too much pesticides.

Just based on the incredible quantities of ready made food, I am guessing a lot of people in the UK still do not cook on a regular basis.

maroule
29-03-2010, 09:58:08
Cool!
Just based on the incredible quantities of ready made food, I am guessing a lot of people in the UK still do not cook on a regular basis.

that's empirical, but it's got to be correct
the ready made sections are really huge in the UK, and food retailers have the best tools to analyse space used/products sold... and they're not in the charity business. Besides it is their interest (and the food manufacturer's) to sell transformed food, as opposed to untransformed products

that's being said, it is true of all western countries, and the distinction will be more and more across class lines rather than national ones, the poorest = eating shitty, low priced ready made food making you obese, the richer = going for higher quality ingredients and more health conscious (and therefore slimmer)

Funko
29-03-2010, 12:28:31
Difference between the US and UK in ready made food is that we eat out less at fast food places and get more ready meals to eat at home.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
29-03-2010, 13:27:44
Maroule:

Mostly meat and vegetables, then? Ok, the potential for mistakes is higher there...

Most of my routine cooking is now more carbs than meat, esp. rice and pasta. The vegetables-for-5h is interesting. At 100 C I would have expected no texture at all...

"a dutch slowcooker which works pretty well."

A Drekkeuker?

MDA
29-03-2010, 14:26:23
:lol:

maroule
30-03-2010, 09:06:41
:)


the texture is super melty/softy/unctuous
I'm sure it works ok with other covered pots (like a le creuset for example), no need for a Drekkeuker

I did a spice lamb this WE for 10 people (spring lamb, oignon, ginger, cumin, coriander, dry raisins, bouillon -beef stock?-, etc,) again cooked low-mid heat in a le creuset for about 4 hours... super simple and spectacular meat texture & taste

maroule
30-03-2010, 09:11:15
secret weapon;
I use the flat top cocotte (doufeu from le creuset), you put cold water on it and you get an internal steam effect that works really well

Funko
30-03-2010, 09:39:50
I guess it induces convection.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
30-03-2010, 09:42:44
Ok, sounds interesting.

Do you roast the ingredients before, or just throw'em into the pot? Do you add water or fat?

I assume the oven at 100° top heat/bottom heat, no fan?

Funko
30-03-2010, 09:50:08
Love that lamb. We did one the other day that was more Indian style. Stab the leg up and marinade it in ginger and garlic paste (50% garlic 50% ginger some water), teaspoon of chilli powder and some oil for at least 4 hours, preferably a whole day. Fry up a load of sliced onions with spices. Cinnammon stick, 4 black cardamoms, 3 green cardamom, a 3 cloves, 2 star anise until the onions are soft. Add a big teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, half teaspoon of chilli and a table spoon of tomato puree to the onions. Cook that out for a couple of minutes then stick your lamb on top, slow roast in your cocotte.

At the end take out the whole spices, blitz the onions into a smooth sauce, add water to thin it out if it needs it. It's great. You might need to add water to the pot as you are going too if it dries out.

maroule
30-03-2010, 12:19:05
Ok, sounds interesting.

Do you roast the ingredients before, or just throw'em into the pot? Do you add water or fat?

I assume the oven at 100° top heat/bottom heat, no fan?

always fry the oignon + fry the meat (2-3 minutes, high heat / I use olive oil) so it gets the colour and (presumabbly) "captures the juice", spice it, then in the pot / then add water +chicken/beef stock (or water and tomato sauce, or whatever liquid mix)

for the slow cooking, I use my oven which is "chaleur tournante" (rotating heat?), so I wouldn't know what set up to recommand... any should be fine, provided you close the pot

maroule
30-03-2010, 12:21:21
I guess it induces convection.


I didn't know the word, but yes, exactly

Funko
30-03-2010, 12:44:10
Fan oven / fan assisted oven.

Dyl Ulenspiegel
30-03-2010, 12:47:32
Ok, when I have some time I'll try some variation of this and Funko's recipe (which may have a bit too much spice for a landlocked-country-dweller like myself).

"chaleur tournante" - that's just hot air convection, I think? Shouldn't matter much for a closed pot, but for some traditionalists it's something satanic...