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How to approach an unfamiliar cuisine


Fat Guy
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Glyn - Well we are hung up in a different time period. Where do we find the CoE's position on somatic pleasure during Victorian times and the era that preceded it?

Victorian Churchmen certainly shared the horror of sex common at the time but they seem to have lived in some splendor -- see Trollope. During the Enlightenment (if that's what you mean by the preceding era) they were positively sybaritic. Read Tristram Shandy.

Do you have any evidence that the CoE was ever censorious of the pleasures of the table?

Does this mean the British are bad lovers?

Englishmen are horribly inept lovers, of course, but our enormous genitals more than compensate.

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Wealthy Protestant countries like Holland and Germany have poorer cuisines because Protestantism as a philosophy opposed surfeit and excess for pleasure and regarded conspicuous gourmandising as sinful.

Germany is about 1/2 Catholic, isn't it?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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According to the CIA web page on Germany, it's 34% Protestant, 34% Catholic and the rest other. Here is a good link from Sally's Place about German cuisine. Considering that the Mosel is such a great wine region (is it part of the catholic south?) you would have thought they would have come up with a cuisine as fine as the wines are. At least in that region.

German Cuisine

Does this mean the reason isn't religious in nature?

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Of course, the Flemish population of Belgium is mainly Catholic. This must be why their food, albeit strikingly similar in a number of respects to Dutch food, is every bit as delicious as French food. But please, carry on with the armchair history, everyone. It's most entertaining.

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Wealthy Protestant countries like Holland and Germany have poorer cuisines because Protestantism as a philosophy opposed surfeit and excess for pleasure and regarded conspicuous gourmandising as sinful.

Germany is about 1/2 Catholic, isn't it?

The Netherlands (not Holland) is: Roman Catholic 31%, Protestant 21%

I guess we can throw that theory out the window.

Edited by guajolote (log)
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I am not trying to say that everywhere that Catholicism continued to hold sway in Europe the food was great- ladies and gentlemen I give you-The Republic of Ireland.

What I was saying was that in those European countries which struggled most bitterly against the hegemony of the Catholic Church one of the areas around which the struggle coalesced was conspicuous consumption. The Catholic Church was portrayed by its opponents as corrupt and hypocritical at all levels. It preached sin and damnation for lust and gluttony while its hierarchy and their powerful acolytes were perceived as gorging themselves on both.

This hypocrisy was used by opponents to rally commitment to a more sober,plainer,more ascetic approach to the pleasures of the flesh (an approach which found its own form of extremism in 17th Century Puritanism on both sides of the Atlantic). The fact that Catholics still lived in large numbers in Protestant countries was not the point. Most ordinary Catholics couldn't afford to gorge themselves anymore than their Protestant countrymen. It was the fact that the power of the Roman Church had been broken which mattered and the new Protestant rulers were able to set new agendas which included new sets of psychological attitudes to the role and purpose of food in society.

For wickedly witty look at the issues as they involve food I suggest a viewing of the 1987 Danish film Babette's Feast, with the wonderful Stephane Audran as the star Parisienne chef working in a bleak, remote religious Scandinavian community in the 19th century and cooking up a storm both on the villagers' plates and in their souls.

Edited by Tonyfinch (log)
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maybe it's just me, but the only cuisines i find boring/underdeveloped are the ones i haven't taken enough time to explore.

Well there's a reason you haven't taken the time you know :cool:.

Tony - One of the greatest films ever. And I don't think the percentage of the population being Protestant/Catholic is determinative, it's who has political control that is determinative.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
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Ah, yes.  So when the British controlled what is now the Republic of Ireland, their Protestantism was restraining the cuisine of the indigenous Catholic majority?

Oh, didn't we forget to add that the Protestant/Catholic argument has a secondary argument which is that in cultures where hard liquor is most prized, fine cuisine does not develop at all? :laugh: Or is it the other way around?

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I think the point is that Catholics are found in the European countries most frequently visited by travellers. Although there was some qualifying argument about the Inquisition driving out creativity. Wasn't there? :wacko:

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My wife likes Tibetan food so much we named our dog after it.

There is no other name for your dog, except Momo. Pehaps Shmoo, but that's just a thought.

Tibetan food just aint that great. Momos can be terrific, but they're not a cuisine. I also doubt they even approach the variety or (he he) complexity of Chinese dim sum. Tibetans also make some good soups, but frankly most of the examples I've had wouldn't be so great if not eaten after hiking 8 hours in high altitude. Tibetan food gets a great boost because its often served by Tibetan people, who are, on the whole, terrific. Other than that, what? Some fried noodle dishes?

I've been to at least three Tibetan restaurants in the states. They all served bland food that was little more than boiled potatoes in butter, stir fried gristle in butter and butter tea (which is, with all respect to cultural relativism, gross). Sure, these may have been terrible examples of Tibetan food, but on the whole, it's not much of a cuisine.

Let's not even start talking about tsampa.

Oh, and to answer the original question, "with guns drawn and a-blazing."

Edited by Stone (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Mmmm.... Tibetan butter tea. I can drink it by the gallons (then again, I am Tibetan!)

Many of the Tibetan restaurants in the west are influenced by Nepalese/Indian cuisine... since many Tibetan exiles grew up in those areas. Hence you will see curries on the menu.

As a side note, Timo is another good name for a dog too... pronounced Tee-mo, it's a steamed bun without meat.

Hungrily,

chococrazy :raz:

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