Posted by: travelrat | June 10, 2018



Many years ago, a magazine I occasionally contributed to was asked to review a local restaurant that had just opened. The lady who normally did their food column wasn’t available, so, for some odd reason, they sent the guy who did the motoring column instead. When asked what he thought of it, he said:

‘Bloody awful! We got five starters and no main course!’

He probably thinks the same way I do; food is for sustenance, not showing how clever the chef is. Cooking shows, I can tolerate … unless it’s presented by Jamie Oliver. Indeed, the travelogues interspersed with cooking, presented by Gino d’Acampo are a delight. What I find a real turn-off is stuff like ‘Masterchef’, where they try to show who the ‘best cook’ is. Shows like this have reduced cooking to a competitive sport … which it’s not!

Back in the day, to fill the gap between school and the Air Force, I worked in a kitchen for a few weeks. The chef specialised in what he called ‘farmhouse cooking’ … ‘What a farmer would expect when he went home for his dinner. It doesn’t have to be an English farmer; I’ve researched stuff from all over Europe … diners here think it’s strange and exotic, but it’s just everyday fare for these folk’

Just plain, simple food, really. Although, if you like, you can dress it up for the menu. How about this, sent to me by a friend the other day:

‘Minced prime Aberdeen Angus beef in a spicy sauce, served on a tranche of our home-baked wholemeal bread, lightly fried in extra-virgin olive oil’.

I am very familiar with this dish. I don’t know the ‘official’ name for it … the Air Force, we called it ‘Shit on a Shingle’!


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