Friday, 31 May 2013

These are a few of my least favourite things....

After provoking the ire of Scotland Yard’s special task force, the Brown Bread Brigade, in my previous post about the marvels and wonders of white bread, I have decided to exorcise a few of my food demons, lay it on the line and tell shocked foodies about a few ingredients I find thoroughly execrable but have been allowed to penetrate the food scene in the recent past so that these days you cannot move without seeing them on one menu or another. So here’s my rundown of my ingredients and food combinations from hell:

1.) Ground cinnamon:- I blame the Americans for the ubiquity of sweet foods now available on the market that contain this dusty brown powder that lingers on the tongue with its stale, domineering taste. Instantly recognisable it is synonymous with sickly icing on donuts or atop a cup of milk-laden coffee. This is not to suggest that a piece of cinnamon bark is amiss in a fragrant curry but please, let’s confine ground cinnamon to the dustbin of food history.

2.) Pomegranate:- It seems that you can move nowhere these days without health-istas and people who pretending to be healthy telling you that pomegranate is a superb and delicious foodstuff with a sweet, more-ish flavour. In my life I have yet to find a more vulgar looking fruit and one which has such a disagreeable taste. It has oft been cited as the ‘forbidden fruit’ which God warned Adam and Eve not to eat and no wonder, he probably realised that on this occasion ha had create something quite repulsive. The obsession that some restaurants have with scattering some of the token seeds over a Middle Eastern inspired salad or the way that mixologists ruin a perfectly good cocktail by adding its ruby red juices to a concoction is quite beyond me.

3.) Feta cheese:- I once went on a holiday to Greece and was dismayed to be given a feta  tart, consisting of the said cheese and some shortcrust pastry; it was one of the most harrowing experiences in my culinary life, but to be polite to my host I had to eat the whole thing, after which I was gagging for water to combat the unpleasant combination of salt and sour that this product seems to impart on the palate. Great goats cheese in marvellous, but please, let’s leave this one well alone.

4.) Marzipan and royal icing:- The Great British Bake Off has seemingly given new life to this dry wallpaper paste that can be found lurking disconcertingly under a layer of rock hard, tooth-tingling royal icing to make for a very unpleasant cake-eating experience.

5.) Meat and fruit:- A combination as old as the hills but one which I abhor. The idea of stewed, super-sweet dried stone fruit and muttony lamb is barf inducing for me, probably a problem if I ever get faced with a badly made, indigestion inducing tagine at a dinner party in the future! Again, for me a good way to ruin a great joint of roasted pork is to smother it in apple compote or the uber-fashionable quince purée that seems to be so de rigeur at the moment! And don't get me started on the travesty that is the ham and pineapple pizza!

6.) Chestnuts:- I feel I am being a bit unfair on this one as my aunt makes the most wonderful chestnut and mushroom stuffing for turkey at Christmas time - in fact it's good all year around, even in sandwiches. But every time I see a chestnut I am transported back to two experiences:

  • Marron Glacé at Christmas which, like most glaceed fruit must be a generational thing because I find them hideous to the n-th degree.   
  • I was once served the most delicious pheasant casserole on a French exchange - an Ardennes speciality - it would have been perfect had it not been for the dry, mealy chestnuts that seemed never-ending. Having forced the last down I was offered more, when, not to be rude (and as the rest had been so tasty) I said yes, I was greeted with no pheasant but another huge pile of chestnuts. Madame called them 'jewels of the earth', 'jewels of my arse' more like! 
7.) Kidneys:- I know, I know any chef will be clawing their hair out at the mere mention of dislike towards this firm favourite of European cuisine. It's admirers cite its faint tang of urine as one of the flavour selling points of this human waste disposal unit - rancid is all I can say. When I was a nipper of five, back in those halcyon days of 1992 when John Major stormed to victory and we realised the ERM wasn't such a good idea, I was often take to Horton Park Farm (it's near Reigate if you are interested) to see all manner of livestock from cows to goats in the days that you could go up and feed them without fear of being injured or catching some disease! The taste of kidneys is reminiscent of that very barnyard smell that comes from a build up of animal fecal matter in a confined space, especially prevalent in the farm shop for some reason, but certainly not something I want to shovel down my throat as many a gourmet does with great gusto!

So there you have it, my bette noires of the food world, what are yours? I’d love to know, or perhaps you you take issue with some of my above choices, if so please do feel free to comment, but until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment