Thursday 6 April 2006

Of food, class, greasy kebabs and Eton

Eating burgers on POSH advice
Sometimes when watching the BBC, some trailers of future programmes leave you wondering if you should be expectant or dismissive of the highlights.
One of such was Eating With… a series featuring Tom Parker-Bowles, the son of the Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of Prince Charles.
The additional introduction is not so much for emphasis than for setting the context and detail.
First we were taken on a documentary of life with the upper classes, going to Eton and the wanton abuse of mind and body through food and other vices as enjoyed by the wealthy and well appointed.
Then we did get down to food, with its Genesis including learning from mum and from Mrs Noose the cookery teacher who attracted the pre-pubescent boys for the love of cooking as well as the fact that they fancied her.
Apparently, there are a good few Etonians who have taken to food writing and other matters concerning food.
Prince William preparing food as part of a cookery course at Eton in June 2000.
It is nice to know that there are things we learn in a particular way from our parents, teachers or mentors that stay with us through life. Sometimes, we never improve on those techniques, just master the routine till it becomes second nature.
Table manners and all that discipline
Then cut away to a lesson; teaching daddy how to make shepherd’s pie, and I start to salivate as one realises being out in the Netherlands is a long way from home.
Indeed, we are informed of the airs and graces on Brigadier Andrew Parker-Bowles’ table, no eating with your mouth open, no talking with your mouth full, no elbows on the table, sit up right, no eating with hands – well, it could as well be bringing your work home – turning the kids into a mini-platoon of disciple. Good, I think.
So, the brigadier surmises that he does not know how to cook, neither does his friends, however, it would be fun to do something like grilling a steak on the agar. Sometimes!
Whose organic mess?
Then we having other tips about sealing dates with good cooking, how he met his wife and inviting friends for dinner where Tom is boss in the kitchen.
None of those dos and don’ts, in Tom’s parlour shared with his fashion writer wife in leafy green Notting Hill.
Then obviously we get down to the rip-off called organic foods offered by big supermarkets for double the price but maintain the same taste.
One should ask if organic foods mean food grown at great expense in natural organic farms around the country or food grown in Africa regardless of if it has been fertilised or genetically modified.
Besides that, one should be quite concerned about the quality and provenance of the food we eat as farmers, supermarkets and scientists taint our foods with funny ideas based on the survey of people who think apples are harvested from anything but trees.
Where is our food?
Yellowed egg yolks, treated beef to keep it red well after reasonable use, purple carrots - you must be kidding.
After the show, I am not too sure I learnt much about cooking, but that cooking can be an enjoyable and rewarding pastime.
The sacrifice to country
As one also saw the retired Brigadier chat to his son, one can only commend the fact that there is no greater love for fatherland than for a man to give life and wife for king and country.

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