Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Busboy

Dissing Italy on The French Board

Recommended Posts

Those partisans on the "French Cooking..." thread are dismissing Italian cooking as overrated and insignificant. You're not going to take that, are you?

[start about half-way through the second page]

As a general rule I believe that, delicious as it is, Italian cuisine is a bit overestimated the world over...
it it not true that Catherine de Medici has brought enlightenment to barbarian French cooks
Therein lies the French Epiphany: each dish, no matter the cuisine, has a soul, a platonic essence that can be revealed to the world. Whether you're making an ommelette, or stir-frying some greens, or baking some enchiladas, or grilling a burger -- if you honor the soul of what you are cooking, then you are cooking French.

Edited by Busboy (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been said before and it has also been said recently that the best food destination in the moment is London.

I would think that is comes down to a matter of perspective. Many people see a food experience as a dining experience and there is some cause for the opinion that Italian* food does not shoe-horn well into the most popular extant model of fine dining. Not something that I can comment on in an informed way.

Possibly, there exists people that can see a food experience outwith the context of a dining experience or at least outwith the the small percentage of dining experiences at the very top. For these people Italian food may have something to offer. However, I think that this may be quite rare as it is much more common for people to ask "What are the best restuarants in X?", rather then "What are the interesting food related things to do in X?".

*Not sure what is ment by "Italian food", seems a bit of a broad brush to using for a country that is noted for its regionality in food (when anybody has anything good to say about it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's been said before and it has also been said recently that the best food destination in the moment is London...

London is known as a great international food destination at the high end. "English cuisine" is known as a contradiction in terms.

Possibly, there exists people that can see a food experience outwith the context of a dining experience or at least outwith the the small percentage of dining experiences at the very top. For these people Italian food may have something to offer. However, I think that this may be quite rare as it is much more common for people to ask "What are the best restuarants in X?", rather then "What are the interesting food related things to do in X?".

Au contraire, mon ami. On the French cooking thread, much bandwith has been used to praise France's non-haute cuisine -- as it should be. I think a far better indicator of the strength of a country's cooking is the performance of their mid-level restaurants and the quality of what grandmas, aunts and moms lay out on feast days. I think that's a pretty common idea, here on eGullet and with some of the great food writers, like A.J. Liebling and MFK Fisher. What a bunch of swells are eating at a Micheline 3-star is no more indicative of the overall quality of a nation's food than what a bunch of corporate CEOs are earning is of a nation's economy.

*Not sure what is ment by "Italian food", seems a bit of a broad brush to using for a country that is noted for its regionality in food (when anybody has anything good to say about it).

Didn't we just decide on another thread that France is pretty regional, too? Because I have a hard time getting crepes in Nice and spaghetti Caen.


Edited by Busboy (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I decided that and what do I know. I think that everybody else is talking about tomatos, forks and epithany.

People take food very seriously don't they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

French cooking is wonderful, but then so is Italian. to dismiss Italian cooking as over-rated is patently absurd and most likely made by someone who has never experienced the real thing or cannot appreciate it by way of cultural bias. To risk over-generalizing, the best Italian food is all about the purity of the ingredients, while most French cooking is about technique. That is neither to say that Italian technique is bad nor French ingredients good. The empases are different, but equally valid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I decided that and what do I know. I think that everybody else is talking about tomatos, forks and epithany.

People take food very seriously don't they?

Well, Bleudauvergne agreed with you (as do I) and she's got total cred, so you must have been right. :wink:

And, to your second comment, a little too seriously. I threw the fork comment in as a jest aimed at the metastacizing French chauvanism (apt word, non?) emerging on that thread and was a little amused at how seriously it was taken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Possibly, there exists people that can see a food experience outwith the context of a dining experience or at least outwith the the small percentage of dining experiences at the very top. For these people Italian food may have something to offer. However, I think that this may be quite rare as it is much more common for people to ask "What are the best restuarants in X?", rather then "What are the interesting food related things to do in X?".

Au contraire, mon ami. On the French cooking thread, much bandwith has been used to praise France's non-haute cuisine -- as it should be. I think a far better indicator of the strength of a country's cooking is the performance of their mid-level restaurants and the quality of what grandmas, aunts and moms lay out on feast days. I think that's a pretty common idea, hear on eGullet and with some of the great food sriters, like A.J. Liebling and MFK Fisher. what a bunch of swells are eating at a Micheline 3-star is no more indicative of the overall quality of a nation's food than what a bunch of corporate CEO's is of a nations economy.

My personal view would be that the strength of a countrys cooking can be based on the amount of interest shown in food by the inhabitants of that country. This is not to say that I can nessarily agree with or appreciate what they are talking about.

The problem with French cuisine is that this 'epithany' event seems to turn some people into poor-mans verions of Waverly Root or MFK Fisher. What should be a humble acknowledgment of the abolute joys of developing passion for food, somehow ends up as another form of self protective egotism.


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I decided that and what do I know. I think that everybody else is talking about tomatos, forks and epithany.

People take food very seriously don't they?

Well, Bleudauvergne agreed with you (as do I) and she's got total cred, so you must have been right. :wink:

And, to your second comment, a little too seriously. I threw the fork comment in as a jest aimed at the metastacizing French chauvanism (apt word, non?) emerging on that thread and was a little amused at how seriously it was taken.

Sorry I must use more emoticons. For the record, please mentally insert "ironic 30-something post-modern cynical self-absorbtion" emoticon after any comment that I make. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"English cuisine" is known as a contradiction in terms.

Should I report this to the UK forum as you reported the French thread here in the Italian corner of egullet?

The true tragedy is that they'd probably agree with you. They'd be wrong, but they'd still agree with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"English cuisine" is known as a contradiction in terms.

Should I report this to the UK forum as you reported the French thread here in the Italian corner of egullet?

The true tragedy is that they'd probably agree with you. They'd be wrong, but they'd still agree with you.

Actually, I don't agree with this. I think that British cuisine and especially the produce can be brilliant. It's just a pity that so few people cook it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I decided that and what do I know. I think that everybody else is talking about tomatos, forks and epithany.

People take food very seriously don't they?

Well, Bleudauvergne agreed with you (as do I) and she's got total cred, so you must have been right. :wink:

And, to your second comment, a little too seriously. I threw the fork comment in as a jest aimed at the metastacizing French chauvanism (apt word, non?) emerging on that thread and was a little amused at how seriously it was taken.

Sorry I must use more emoticons. For the record, please mentally insert "ironic 30-something post-modern cynical self-absorbtion" emoticon after any comment that I make. :wink:

My coffee hadn't kicked in yet, or I would have noticed. I promise never to take you (too) seriously again. (Should I insert an emoticon here?)

FB -- if the Brits will show a little more fight than the Italians have, throw me into the lions' den, just for the hell of it.


Edited by Busboy (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FB -- if the Brits will show a little more fight than the Italians have, throw me into the lions' den, just for the hell of it.

I can play British if you want... :hmmm:

Altho'...for the rest of this week..I have decided, I'm Irish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"English cuisine" is known as a contradiction in terms.

Should I report this to the UK forum as you reported the French thread here in the Italian corner of egullet?

The true tragedy is that they'd probably agree with you. They'd be wrong, but they'd still agree with you.

Actually, I don't agree with this. I think that British cuisine and especially the produce can be brilliant. It's just a pity that so few people cook it.

But Adam, you don't even qualify as a local, nor does FaustianBargain unless I'm mistaken. What does it say about perception if the local food is best appreciated by expats and visiting students? This thread will quickly take on an international general flavor in spite of Busboy's best attempts to start a local food fight between EU neighbors. (Okay, against my resolutions not to rely on smilies, consider one inserted here.)

The perception of both Italian and French food in English speaking countries, particularly in the US, is a fascinating subject. There are more people with a perception than there are people who actually have any experience with the real thing. Indeed, there are perceptions held by those who haven't even had imitations of the real thing any closer than canned pasta and sauce. Worse yet, some of those who eat that think it's French food. :biggrin:

I'm not too sure how a diner in London would react to a question about his impression of either French or Italian food, although I might venture a guess, which is something I wouldn't even dare to do about the same question to a guy in Nebraska. Here in NYC, where we are well known for our cosmopolitan provincialism, I'd lay odds (assuming betting were permitted on the site) that most reactions would be based on food available in NY. Everyone in NY grew up with at least a few friends who were of Italian-American extraction and we all had local Italian restaurants in the neighborhood. We had some idea of Italian food very early in our childhood and no truths learned from visits as an adult to the real Italy, or perhaps to one of the real Italian regions, are ever going to totally change those perceptions.

French food was a cypher. In high school, your French teacher might take a group of the better students to eat snails and frog's legs in some really tacky place. My first question would be to ask why Italian tacky restaurants were really okay places in which to eat and why the same level of French cooking was not nealy as acceptable. I have my opinions on the subject and think some of them are obvious. We may have even covered them from the French perspective in the France forum. Of course the Italians discovered perspective.

My perception

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But Adam, you don't even qualify as a local, nor does FaustianBargain unless I'm mistaken. What does it say about perception if the local food is best appreciated by expats and visiting students? This thread will quickly take on an international general flavor in spite of Busboy's best attempts to start a local food fight between EU neighbors. (Okay, against my resolutions not to rely on smilies, consider one inserted here.)

Does 'indefinate leave to stay' count?

I get the impression with British food that like an iceberg it is present and powerful, but the interesting bits are mostly unseen.

A good place to start maybe this book. British Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the English can hijack Indian food with their invention of 'curry', why cannot I comment upon British cuisine. (is there an emoticon for sulking?)

It is interesting tho' that British cuisine needs non-Brits to sing its praises. They simply gave up after the war rationing. Or something. Havent you heard? 'hanging on in quite desperation is the English way.' So said the Pink seers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I'd like some attribution here! I"M THE ONE who came up with "The French Epiphany"! I made it up out of my own head just yesterday, and I want some credit!

Here is my post in full: click.

By the way, I had a similar epiphany some time later when eating tapas-like platelets of indescribably wonderful bits of veg and such at a wine bar in Venice, rubbing elbows with world-weary Venecians taking what appeared to be a habitual wine-break at 10 o'clock in the morning. That's the "Itallian Epiphany", to coin yet another ego-fortifying catchphrase -- the realization that "yes, life is just... life. Another glass of flinty wine as clear as spring water, if you please my good sir... And another plate of that chard. Grazi."

Of the two epiphanies, I hope some day to repeat the French one, but endeavor to live on a daily basis the Italian one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ivan - only two? I have always considered you a two epiphanies before breakfast type of guy. I have had an English epiphany - my first Kings Pork Pie. Dude - it occurs to me that we should rank these epiphanies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ivan - only two? I have always considered you a two epiphanies before breakfast type of guy. I have had an English epiphany - my first Kings Pork Pie. Dude - it occurs to me that we should rank these epiphanies.

I've been holding back. I don't want to overwhelm the board with my epiphanies. And I did try ranking my epiphanies, but they all went to 11. At least at the time.

But Kings Pork Pie...

I see I have yet uncharted epiphanies to conquer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
See your problem is scale. 11.1 compared to 11.2 is really quite significant you know.

I like how you think. Very scientific.

You wouldn't happen to have a spare Kings Pork Pie, would you? I'd like to test your scale theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooooh. I'm reminded of an epic battle waged on this board a few years back. The unyielding French advocate has since packed his lunch box and moved elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unyielding French advocates are for tourists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By all means not the case in this instance. Click ici

Edited to underscore the bona fides of the French advocate


Edited by cinghiale (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When it comes to great food destinations, New Orleans has to be at least near the top on anyone's list.

And guess what? It's French. It's Italian. It's Spanish. It's Asian. It's African. It's a little of everything, showing that some good can be taken from anywhere.

The French (and those of us with French names) have taken a beating (figuratevely, at least) in the US because of the French government's policies and decisions. I wonder if some of that may factor in to this...

Oddly enough, it seems that the way France is viewed by the States is the same that the US is seen throughout most of the rest of the world.

I'm going back to my pasta now. It's got tasso and French olive oil in it.

edited becuase Fance does not equal France.


Edited by FistFullaRoux (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By yentakaren
      Hi there Italian chefs around the world -    Two years ago (while visiting my family in New York - we live for 25 years in California))  we went to New York and ate in an Italian Restaurant in Syosset Long Island, New York (Steve's Piccola Bussola) and ordered their Chicken Cacciatore.  It was unbelievable, so savory and tender and juice and it had 4 lean and juicy (no skin, no fat, no gristle) rollups wrapped around what looked like a small (about 1-2" rib bone) (in chicken???_ was able to get some of the recipe because I called them 2x, but after 5 tries at various times, I am giving up.  He (the chef) said they used thighs - but the thighs I know are fatty and tough so I don't know where they got it.  He said they buy the whole chickens and cut it up, so I guess they can get rid of the fat,skin and gristle that way.   One, because I am never able to get their dark brown sauce (don't know how they do it because having a brown sauce by working with chicken, mushrooms, wine and onions is an enigma.  Their sauce is not sweet, or sour just rich and savory.   I saw the kind of sauce that it was when I saw the recipe of Hubert Keller's Beef Borguignon on TV, but it looked soooo difficult and was made with meat, not chicken. That has meat rollups sitting in a dark brown sauce.   Help!  I want to learn how to make that.   The initial recipe that they gave me was this:     Take chicken and cut it into pieces the size of a meatball with or without the bone.
      Take olive oil and make very hot.  Brown.  Add 2 cups chicken stock, salt and pepper, parsley, and simmer for ½ hour.  After brown, put until broiler and brown some more.
      In another skillet, put mushrooms, onions, little tomato sauce, and when sizzling and hot, add white wine (or Marsala) and cook in pan – ½ hour.  Add butter to thicken – but do not boil after butter melts
      Said I can also put a little tomato sauce in there - maybe it was tomato paste.
      After ready, marry the two and cook another 15 minutes all together (or not) – just eat it.
       
      Below is a photo of Steve's Chicken Cacciatore - I know it looks like beef, but this is chicken!
       
       

    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By JohnT
      I am led to believe that World Pasta Day 2016 is to be on Tuesday, October 25 this year. So, with this in mind, what are the eG cooks planning on "cooking up" in celebrating the day?
       
      I will start the ball rolling.
       
      I am going to make my standard egg yoke pasta sheets, rolled out on my now seldom-used manual pasta machine and use them in making lasagna, using my old and reliable bolognese sauce recipe layered with béchamel sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
       
      And with the left-over egg whites I will make a few meringue bases for portioned pavlova - Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere and berries and fruit are starting to appear in the shops!
    • By DianaB
      Just found out that a member of eGullet, @Cia has begun to post his short videos on Italian culinary culture on YouTube.  Only one to date but I know there are more in the pipeline.  While made by an Italian based in Italy the narrative is in English.
       
      Here's the first instalment: 
       
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×