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Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection


tony h
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Andy, can you make reliably crisp chips from fresh potatoes at home?

I don't fry chips at home, too much like hard work, and then there's all that oil to deal with. I certainly can't see myself runnng back and forth to the fridge with trays. I'm more likely to do potato wedges in the oven as a far easier and slightly healthier alternative.

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Andy, can you make reliably crisp chips from fresh potatoes at home?

I don't fry chips at home, too much like hard work, and then there's all that oil to deal with. I certainly can't see myself runnng back and forth to the fridge with trays. I'm more likely to do potato wedges in the oven as a far easier and slightly healthier alternative.

Fair enough....although if you did you might understand the real reason for Heston's chips.

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Fair enough....although if you did you might understand the real reason for Heston's chips.

I have cooked chips at home in the past using the blanch and fry method and had great success with it. I have eaten triple cooked chips done to Heston's recipe at both Chez Bruce and The Hand and Flowers in Marlow and completely understand the benefits for both the diner (tastes fantastic) and the restaurant (the chips can be cooked at the beginning of service and will "hold" i.e. remain crispy, for the whole evening).

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Hi gang!

Now although I don't think its funny Heston is now the subject of a joke which at least means that he is a household name.

How many molecular gastronomers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Only one, but the process spans four continents, involves consultation with the most eminent scientists of the day, is the subject of a lavishly illustrated hardback and requires a production team to film two one hour Christmas specials for BBC2.

gallery_48361_3908_2404.jpg

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Well I expect to experience his divine Godhead in the all too gorgeous flesh. I've managed to get a table on Wednesday. :biggrin:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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The question is - will you go a la carte or tasting menu?!

There are a few of us so hopefully we'll be able to range wide

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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I'm looking forward to hearing about it too. A friend of mine went recently - the FD virgins had the tasting menu. So did he, but he swapped in a la carte dishes for the more substantial tasting dishes - the foie, the salmon, the pigeon, dessert.

See if you can mine for any details on when they'll update it too. After the same menu for so long, is it now more likely that he'll completely revamp it, in one fell swoop? I guess you can't do away with snail porridge and the breakfast dessert and still be the FD people travel for...

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I haven't looked at the Fat Duck site for a bit so this may have happened a while ago, but I think, I think, there are a number of new main courses on the al a carte including roast turbot, violet sea urchin, mussels, chervil root, verjus

Turbot and langoustine royale (supplement six pounds fifty) among a few others.

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Well I expect to experience his divine Godhead in the all too gorgeous flesh. I've managed to get a table on Wednesday.  :biggrin:

Timbo - I triple dare you to print this thread and take it with you.

His Royal Hestoness will love it. :laugh:

Yeah, Sadie. Right.

So I can experience that acme of Molecular Gastronomy, snail porridge with foamy wee in it.

:raz:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Oh dear. The dough is the most important part. Agreed. And then half the programme focuses on the tomatoes? Where's the sourdough? Where's the obsesive attention to detail?

I might try the trick with the bottom of a Le Creuset frying pan if I save up a bit...

What are your reflections?

Steve

In spite of everything, I'm really starting to love this.

I'm not sure I'd agree that Naples is the home of the Pizza though. If I really wanted to experience the ur-pizza, I'd be looking at the old-school New York pizzerias with coal ovens. From my understanding of the story, any Italian pizzeria that's offering 'twenty different toppings' owes more to the NY pizza than the Neapolitan.

The dumbing down of food history in that idea, the reinvention to fit the preconceptions of the mass, is symptomatic of the problem with the show.

Just as a comparative exercise, dig out your copy of Jeffrey Steingarten's 'It must have been something I ate'. His story 'Flat out' covers a similar quest for an uber-pizza with a little more rigour. Though I'm beginning to enjoy HB's presentation, I still wish he was allowed to get away with something that was less 'you can do this at home'.

It's an accepted truism that, 99% of the people who watch cookery shows never bother to cook anyway so why can't we have it pure and un-dumbed-down? It would be just as relevant and entertaining. If HB was allowed to present and cook the way he clearly wants to and has the talent to do, I could just die and go to heaven.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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I'm not sure I'd agree that Naples is the home of the Pizza though. If I really wanted to experience the ur-pizza, I'd be looking at the old-school New York pizzerias with coal ovens. From my understanding of the story, any Italian pizzeria that's offering 'twenty different toppings' owes more to the NY pizza than the Neapolitan.

Not quite. NY pizza did come from Naples, so it's not entirely wrong to go back there. It's still closer to Neapolitan than most mass market pizzas, especially in the US. You don't find 20 different toppings in a New York pizzeria. There's less than 10 and one is 'extra cheese'--few enough that they can be listed with tick-boxes on the side of the pizza box! The most common way to get pizza at your typical hole-in-the-wall joint is a plain slice--nothing but crust, sauce, and cheese. And it's usually low-moisture mozzerella so it's nice and stringy, although some higher-class places use the real thing.

Personally I adore New York pizza in all its incarnations, but these days Italian-American food is thought of as an inauthentic offshoot of Italian cuisine.

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Heston's new show (BBC2 i think)  - does anyone know any thing about this, when its on etc?  Anyone see the accompanying book yet?

I have seen 4 episodes Tuesday evening 8.30 BBC2.

Also read the book £20.

I think some of his methods are a bit over the top, fish batter in a soda syphon and a vacumn cleaner for the aireated chocolate.

He was looking for the perfect sausage and used 20% water.

Not impressed.

Norman Walsh

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First off, welcome Norman!

I've tried several of the recipes and whilst there ARE bits over the top (I'd disagree about the sausage, but agree with the vacuum cleaner) all the ones I've tried were very very good indeed, and worth the effort.

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The pizza episode seemed to have less to say than the previous three. The use of a pressure cooker offers some interesting possibilities, but the thing with the upside-down pan looked like the start of an episode of Casualty. (Turn the pan the other way up, perhaps?)

On the plus side, at least he wasn’t banging on about that daft sense-memory stuff. While many people have, quite strong, associations with food I can’t help but feel he’s exploring an intellectual dead-end. Our childhood associations, which he seems most interested in, are deeply individual. My memory of my grandmothers lamb stew (which contained turnip, pearl barley and black pudding) would be meaningless to almost everyone else.

For more common associations – the smell of a fish and chip shop – it seems a lot easier to go to a fish and chip shop!

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On the plus side, at least he wasn’t banging on about that daft sense-memory stuff. While many people have, quite strong, associations with food I can’t help but feel he’s exploring an intellectual dead-end. Our childhood associations, which he seems most interested in, are deeply individual. My memory of my grandmothers lamb stew (which contained turnip, pearl barley and black pudding) would be meaningless to almost everyone else.

He's obviously very excited about this as a new route. When I met him recently he was talking about using a website to activate implanted hypnotic triggers months after the dining experience.

I've got to admit I have the same problem with this being a dead end. The fact that eating is entirely subjective and utterly multi-sensory is something foodies know and can discuss... when it comes to a master chef, an artist in taste, we tend to fudge around the notion because, if you follow the logic, there can be nothing objectively better about his stuff than any other.

The more HB travels down the route of 'it's all about multiple sense memory' the more he moves away from what chefs do - When he caps that off with the assertion that the experience is also personal and subjective he talks himself out of a job.

Look what post-modernism and 'conceptual' art have done to the social role of the art and the artist.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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From what I remember of flicking through the book he did draw on a few more references than a single Naples pizzeria. I did think his pizza looked a little 'soggy' though.

And I was a little alarmed when he grabbed what I thought was a solid cast iron pan with his bare hands - his did have some sort of insulated handle but thought he should have at least given a warning.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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