Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bittmann can't take on everything..Sorry!

Look, apart from St Tony the B on the AFC, there is no one I would rather watch than Mark Bittmann. The man is charismatic, the comedic interplay with the other chefs put most sitcoms to shame ( but that's not quite hard - have you seen the donkey excrement that is 'Faith and Hope?. So I love watching his show.

Except for one thing - it's a bummer

What? You just said you'd french kiss the show. True, but that doesn't mean it's a downer and too much reality for me.

Look, we all watch cooking programs for mainly one thing - fantasy.

We like to pretend that we can whip up the same souffles and sauce veloute as Chef Francois there who has spent years at a culinary academy and even more years as a pomme de terre pealer at a Bistro in Marseille somewhere before moving up the ranks. The truth is - you can't

You don't have much of a chance because you are a lawyer, doctor, banker or some other non-culinary related professional who dabbles in cooking on the weekends or infrequently. It's a hobby, not a profession for you; so while you may derive more intrinsic pleasure from it because you're doing it for the 'Lerve' - that guy on T.V needs it for his paycheck; so, he's going to be better

Roger Federer may be sick of tennis playing it day in, day out. You may smile more and experience Joseph Campbell like states of Bliss and peak performnace whenever you don your whites for that Saturday ladies church tournament. Whatever. He'll still kick your ass, everytime

So, it almost pains me when Bittmann does his schitck. He goes "Hmm..okay..let me see what I can come up with." And what he has to come up with is something Joe weekend-chef dabbler can whip up without creating a Hiroshima like mess in his tiny kitchen, breaking down into tears and ordering pizza.

Do you think Bona Fide chef dude is going to be impressed? Of course not. At the most, he'll be encouragingly patronising. He'll use phrases like " That's al dente", "wow! pasta water in the sauce - geez! never thought of that!" or "love the way you didn't poison me"

Come on, I don't want to be reminded how wide the gap is between mere mortals and the gods are. Mt Olympus is out of reach for a reason. And that's cool by me.I want to worship from afar and burn bacon bits to those I can never touch. The whole thought of going mano-a-dios with them is a little...sad, really

Mark Bittmann is one of the strongest mortals ever produced. He represents the best of us mere amateurs, but at the end of the day...the whole Pantheon is just flipping him the bird.

Reverence, Mark, reverence. You Americans need to learn that just because Greeks gave democracy to men, it doesn't apply to deities.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When food is just about eating

I'm probably going to regret writing this as it is sensitive

Last Saturday, I went to a friend's birthday party at a mexican restaurant. Now, this friend of mine is a great guy and his friends who arranged it are nice people ( I say this as a 100% chicken shite fella due to the fact that they might be reading this blog and I won't be invited to another event again :-) )

I'm a cagey kind of person, which means that if I feel that the 'vibe' isn't there; I might just pike out and go home if I can. Emphasis on 'if I can'. If it's your wedding, chances are I might stay to the end..but, uh...I have left before the vows in the past. I mean, what are the chances of something out of the ordinary happening, like the bride suddenly running off with an alien Elvis on a Harley? Nah, it's predictable. So true to form, I left.

Anyway, ever get the feeling when you go to some events that the meal and the night is just an excuse in futility and ceremony? That all that gets traded is some small talk, laughs and witty remarks. Not that there's anything bad about those..but in my present stage of life...there needs to be more

What transforms a meal into a life event is that wine gets spilled on the linen of life. And it is stained metaphorically for better of worse. In other words, in a world where vanilla, political correctness and niceness are valued over a sense of drama, wildness and passions unleashed - we've settled for the tame dog over the wolf

I want to leave a meal with friends and family saying " Frakk! What just happened?" That, my friends, is the real transubstantiation - the taco becomes the body of real fellowship and the blood of the margarita flows not just as an elixir but as a channel of life in all it's dimensions

If not, then the food is just food. A sense of pleasure in one paradigm but that's all it is - just chewing and eating. But on a larger scale, it's the last supper - a sense of ending and beginnning, journey and destiny...

..and that's what I pray it should be