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azzar

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    http://www.alexrenton.com

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    Edinburgh
  1. The animal rights group PETA has stepped up its attack on foie gras with this message from the actress Kate Winslet. The mainstream media are comparing it with the celebrity campaign against bluefin, but of course the analogy is way out. Geese are not endangered, to start with. The threat to geese, ducks and foie gras lovers alike is severe. The fact is that these increasingly shrill Ban Foie Gras campaigns (just have a look at Sir Roger Moore!) will just push more production to China, where most of the big French foie gras producers already have facilities. And over there it's not a case of traditional Gascon farmers lovingly fattening their goose - it's full on conveyor belt mechanisation, and not much interest in standards or welfare. So if you care about traditional foie gras and about the welfare of ducks and geese (not to forget your right to make your own decisions about the morality of animal-derived foods), you'd better get busy... Here's the Save Foie Gras Facebook site - signing up could make a difference. Here's a link to my piece in today's Times(UK). Forgive if I've posted this in the wrong place...?
  2. Orwell (author of 1984, Animal Farm) loved Christmas, loathed capitalism, was a bit of a foodie... apparently the treacle tart is pretty good too. Orwell's Xmas pud "It is not a law of nature that every restaurant in England should be either foreign or bad..." Ha! Nice one, Eric.
  3. what about Cous-cous? Is it any good?
  4. Gourmet - and so many other words become perfectly serviceable if allowed to return to their original meanings. But "foodie" deserves a stake in its heart.
  5. A chef I spoke to recently talked of the thrill, as a commis in his early 20s in a pompous french restaurant in New York, of the notion of nouvelle cuisine. In 1973 or so. He said it hit him, when he first read about it, like the first time he heard Pink Floyd, or got properly stoned - there was another way, an alternative, a way of eating that was fresh and honest and said goodbye and good riddance to the older generation. And bechamel. He quit his job, started his own place and so on... Tuned in, turned on, got a bank loan. I'm younger - nouvelle cuisine was a TV comedian's joke by the time I clocked it. Now the phrase is mainly used as an insult. Was it really such a big thing? Was it really new? And did it significantly alter anything?
  6. azzar

    Dinner! 2008

    I was moving house - and all the helpers needed feeding, so I cooked them Moving House Leftovers. A big pea and roast garlic soup (found 2 litres of chicken stock at the back of the old freezer, and a lot of parmesan). I made a huge caesar salad-plus, with grilled chicken (more back of the freezer stuff), some very old but expensive bottled anchovies and some lovely young cos lettuce and new English asparagus. I found a recipe on an A4 sheet on the floor when we'd finished clearing the kitchen - it seemed propitious, so I cooked that as well. It was a note from a Morroccan named Hassan (when? where?) and it described how he took the newest baby new potatoes, bashed them with a bottle to crack them, and then let them sizzle gently in a heavy, covered pot in a quarter inch of olive oil for half an hour. With a handful of roughly ground coriander seed. Then, when they'd cooled a bit, he stirred in a glass of red wine, and let them sit for another half hour. Anyone heard of that? Is it Moroccan? it was fantastic.
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