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Frank Hovis

Food - what's that all about then?

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Most of us eat half a dozen meats, half a dozen veg, and then spuds, rice, or bread.  Bit of fruit and some sugary confections.

It's necessary, usually pleasant, but incredibly repetitive.

So I'm at a loss how people get so excited about it, that there is a huge industry based upon its fancy preparation, and that people will pay a six figure sum for what, to me, will always be a bit of grub.

I have eaten in, and been left entirely cold by, the reverent atmosphere in posh restaurants.  Where everyone obsesses about their choice and raves about what is, say, a decent bit of lamb.

I really don't get this. Celebrity chefs, posh restaurants, whole TV series on day in day out, Saturday mornings spent watching someone doing their cooking.

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It's because there are so many TV channels to fill, and not enough content, which is why there are +1 channels. People are obsessed by food, as nobody is hungry and rationing ended.

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That is like saying all cars are just four wheels and an engine. Using a set of ingredients a skilled chef can produce something extraordinary, whereas most of us would struggle to produce something that was edible. Once a year I pick a Michelin starred restaurant to eat at and the whole package, from the service to the food and wine, presentation skills and ambiance makes the cost well worthwhile.   

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I must say that I am often enthussed by food. However when cooking in our restaurant although I feel a certain amount of pride by putting food on the pass that I know has been cooked well and looks good the pressure of service takes almost all that pleasure away. I do feel good when compliments are sent back to me by customers though and disappointed when the feedback is less effusive.

I most enjoy creating new things and cooking for us in the hotel kitchen when the pressure is off. We have our own kitchen too and I hate cooking in there.

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

Most of us eat half a dozen meats, half a dozen veg, and then spuds, rice, or bread.  Bit of fruit and some sugary confections.

It's necessary, usually pleasant, but incredibly repetitive.

So I'm at a loss how people get so excited about it, that there is a huge industry based upon its fancy preparation, and that people will pay a six figure sum for what, to me, will always be a bit of grub.

I have eaten in, and been left entirely cold by, the reverent atmosphere in posh restaurants.  Where everyone obsesses about their choice and raves about what is, say, a decent bit of lamb.

I really don't get this. Celebrity chefs, posh restaurants, whole TV series on day in day out, Saturday mornings spent watching someone doing their cooking.

I'm completely with you. Good food can be pleasant but I don't understand the obsession about it. To me, it's basically refueling  my body and something to stop me feeling hungry. More or less the human equivalent of taking the car to the petrol station. It has to be done but at best, it's no more exiting than a good dump.

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

Most of us eat half a dozen meats, half a dozen veg, and then spuds, rice, or bread.  Bit of fruit and some sugary confections.

It's necessary, usually pleasant, but incredibly repetitive.

So I'm at a loss how people get so excited about it, that there is a huge industry based upon its fancy preparation, and that people will pay a six figure sum for what, to me, will always be a bit of grub.

I have eaten in, and been left entirely cold by, the reverent atmosphere in posh restaurants.  Where everyone obsesses about their choice and raves about what is, say, a decent bit of lamb.

I really don't get this. Celebrity chefs, posh restaurants, whole TV series on day in day out, Saturday mornings spent watching someone doing their cooking.

You've answered your own question. You don't find food exciting because it's not varied enough. I know this sounds pretentious but I try out at least 2 new meals every week. Having the same thing for that specific day of the week is how my mum cooks and growing up food became tedious until I rediscovered how varied it can be. 

Paying over the odds for tiny portions of overly arranged microleaves then leaving hungry isn't my idea of a good meal though. 

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If I eat out I usually end up feeling ill. I eat good quality food at home, mostly meat and veg. I take great pleasure in eating a simple plate of beans from the garden. Fancy food doesn't attract me but that's how restaurants add value and earn their living. I will occasionally ruin it and have a McDonald's but at least that doesn't pretend to be anything other than junk food. 

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2 hours ago, Frank Hovis said:

Most of us eat half a dozen meats, half a dozen veg, and then spuds, rice, or bread.  Bit of fruit and some sugary confections.

It's necessary, usually pleasant, but incredibly repetitive.

So I'm at a loss how people get so excited about it, that there is a huge industry based upon its fancy preparation, and that people will pay a six figure sum for what, to me, will always be a bit of grub.

I have eaten in, and been left entirely cold by, the reverent atmosphere in posh restaurants.  Where everyone obsesses about their choice and raves about what is, say, a decent bit of lamb.

I really don't get this. Celebrity chefs, posh restaurants, whole TV series on day in day out, Saturday mornings spent watching someone doing their cooking.

I remember the UK food in the 1970s, so I'm not ungrateful for the changes in attitudes.

If you are irritated by some people posturing, you could try this test on them. If they're not supertasters or at least in the medium-high number of papillae, they're probably talking out of their arses. As you will be aware though, you won't make friends by pointing this out! :-)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22941835

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I didn't pay much interest until I started cooking food, which was only about 18 months ago. Prior to that, it was nice to go out for a meal - you'd get to choose different options, maybe something more imaginative, someone else cooks, and you can while away an hour or two in nice surroundings.

The likes of Heston Blumenthal make "food as art", I might go if we lived near there - actually we're not that far from his restaurant but I wouldn't bother driving a long way - for a unique food experience but I doubt it would be a regular thing.

For everything else - when you're a vegetarian, country pubs will tend to offer, at best, a risotto or a veg-burger so the menus are usually dull but I am impressed when there is something out of the ordinary - brie and watermelon salad for instance. I could have got that recipe from a book, it's not that obscure, but it's nice to have someone else prepare it properly.

When you can cook, and you've managed to rustle up some really nice meals - the best moussaka I've ever had is the one that I made myself, he says modestly, you then become more easily disappointed with mediocre restaurants.

And you also then realise that the trick is basically to stuff lots of butter into dishes, like some sort of secret ingredient - especially pasta dishes in sauce, where the butter swims on top of the sauce like an oil slick.

We do have a very posh pub just near here, within walking distance - it has won Hampshire's pub of the year before. We go there occasionally - maybe three times a year.

Drinks, two courses, port, cheese and wine for two, and £120 or more can disappear very easily. Is it worth £120? No, not really. That's why we don't go very often.

Edited by DTMark

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18 minutes ago, DTMark said:

And you also then realise that the trick is basically to stuff lots of butter into dishes, like some sort of secret ingredient - especially pasta dishes in sauce, where the butter swims on top of the sauce like an oil slick.

 

That's essentially the trick of restaurant cooking. Butter, some nice coulis, a bit of height to the presentation = ££££'s.

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Also, sugar and salt. I asked the local decent pub why I couldn't get my tabbouleh as nice as theirs, they asked the chef and it turns out he adds a small amount of sugar to it, even though it's a savoury dish.

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46 minutes ago, DTMark said:

I didn't pay much interest until I started cooking food, which was only about 18 months ago. Prior to that, it was nice to go out for a meal - you'd get to choose different options, maybe something more imaginative, someone else cooks, and you can while away an hour or two in nice surroundings.

The likes of Heston Blumenthal make "food as art", I might go if we lived near there - actually we're not that far from his restaurant but I wouldn't bother driving a long way - for a unique food experience but I doubt it would be a regular thing.

For everything else - when you're a vegetarian, country pubs will tend to offer, at best, a risotto or a veg-burger so the menus are usually dull but I am impressed when there is something out of the ordinary - brie and watermelon salad for instance. I could have got that recipe from a book, it's not that obscure, but it's nice to have someone else prepare it properly.

When you can cook, and you've managed to rustle up some really nice meals - the best moussaka I've ever had is the one that I made myself, he says modestly, you then become more easily disappointed with mediocre restaurants.

And you also then realise that the trick is basically to stuff lots of butter into dishes, like some sort of secret ingredient - especially pasta dishes in sauce, where the butter swims on top of the sauce like an oil slick.

We do have a very posh pub just near here, within walking distance - it has won Hampshire's pub of the year before. We go there occasionally - maybe three times a year.

Drinks, two courses, port, cheese and wine for two, and £120 or more can disappear very easily. Is it worth £120? No, not really. That's why we don't go very often.

This is my finding too, Mark. Since going veggie I've lost all interest in eating out, the offering is dire unless you go to a "posh" place. I don't like these sorts of joints because of its silly pretensions, just because I can order a half-decent meal for once. Most vegetarian offerings in pubs and restaurants are disgusting. They're also expensive -- more so than an equivalent meat-based dish, the costs of preparing a vegetarian meal are generally less.

It's one of the few benefits of living in London or Brighton I imagine, being able to pop down to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in a few minutes. Kent needs more of these.I've harboured secret ambitions to launch a vegetarian restaurant for a while - surely 10% of the population is enough critical mass to keep it afloat.

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I really don't bother eating out. It is simply too expensive for mediocre food, mainly because I do like a drop of wine.

The only reason to go out for me is for a break in routine / chance to chill. In which case the food is really unimportant. Therefore my choice is usually pizza express with taste card for a sneaky lunch. Relaxed with a glass of wine, you know it will just be a pizza with no pretentions. Happy days.

That said, I have had a couple of decent pub meals recently but nowhere near me sadly. If anyone happens to be near Sittingbourne, I found the Plough Inn, Norton to be an oasis of great food in an out of the way location, just minutes from a really shitty high street

I also had a very pleasant lunch at The Foresters in Hampton Wick last week.

Aside from those, it is a few years since I had a decent meal out.


 

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It's fun to speak Italian to the waitresses in supposedly authentic pizza restaurants.

They just look at you really strangely and have no idea what you're saying.

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1 minute ago, DTMark said:

It's fun to speak Italian to the waitresses in supposedly authentic pizza restaurants.

They just look at you really strangely and have no idea what you're saying.

Polish is much more useful in Pizza Express.
 

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Just now, Cunning Plan said:

Polish is much more useful in Pizza Express.
 

I went with a Polish relative to a restaurant and had her translate the waitresses private conversations. Much to my surprise they weren't bitching about the horrid customers, but instead discussing their plans for the weekend.

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7 minutes ago, DTMark said:

It's fun to speak Italian to the waitresses in supposedly authentic pizza restaurants.

They just look at you really strangely and have no idea what you're saying.

I tried that in Germany. Only German was spoken.

55 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

This is my finding too, Mark. Since going veggie I've lost all interest in eating out, the offering is dire unless you go to a "posh" place. I don't like these sorts of joints because of its silly pretensions, just because I can order a half-decent meal for once. Most vegetarian offerings in pubs and restaurants are disgusting. They're also expensive -- more so than an equivalent meat-based dish, the costs of preparing a vegetarian meal are generally less.

It's one of the few benefits of living in London or Brighton I imagine, being able to pop down to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in a few minutes. Kent needs more of these.I've harboured secret ambitions to launch a vegetarian restaurant for a while - surely 10% of the population is enough critical mass to keep it afloat.

There's quite a good vegetarian curry place in Bristol.

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1 minute ago, MrPin said:

I tried that in Germany. Only German was spoken.

There's quite a good vegetarian curry place in Bristol.

But this is even further away! :Old:

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1 minute ago, Reck B said:

I think I read somewhere that the rise of celebrity chefs is one of the signs of a breakdown in civilisations.

Jamie Oliver's Societal Collapse™

I reckon a sign, is money pouring in to build the highest building ever.

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I think part of it is 'aspiration' - people want the fancy car, fancy house, fancy clothes....and fancy expensive food.

I know many people who's main hobby is eating and drinking - it's the only way you ever see them socially; if you suggested we all pack a picnic and go out cycling for a few hours they'd look at you like you were off your nut.

The issue is that most of the restaurant food, when eaten frequently, and especially with added booze, will turn you into a Cat Funt.

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14 minutes ago, Reck B said:

I think I read somewhere that the rise of celebrity chefs is one of the signs of a breakdown in civilisations.

It's mentioned in the Four Horsemen documentary.

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