For People with an APPETITE for LIFE!

Welcome to THE MAIN INGREDIENT a place where Food News, Food Politics, Food Culture, Food Fashion & Food Humour meet. Each week you can preview topical foodie matter from my 'Gourmet Lifestyle' radio show called (wait for it) THE MAIN INGREDIENT. Food for the belly & the brain, I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me. Regards Kel

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Ultimate Picnic Box

Gone are the days when just an old blanket, a bottle of wine and some sandwiches were acceptable as picnic fodder. These days in our never ending quest for luxury sensations a luxury picnic basket is a must have, so thank goodness Moet & Chandon have decided to re-invent the traditional picnic basket with a limited edition gold leather picnic tote bag. Yipee! Picnics will never be the same again. For a mere $1,500 the bag is lined with pink silk and holds all the essential ingredients for a summer soirée, including a magnum of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial, four tulip flutes, and two lacquered picnic boxes filled with an assortment of savoury and sweet treats. Think mini lobster wraps, smoked salmon mousse, pink chocolate-dipped strawberries and pink truffles, all created by executive chef Mark Strausman of Fred’s exclusively for Barneys New York.

Soft Drink Surprise

Don’t you hate it when you ask someone what they’d like to drink and they answer “Surprise me”? Lets be honest, what they are really saying is “I can’t be bothered, you choose”. Well, an innovative Singaporian company has come up with the perfect solution for your somewhat indecisive mates. A new soft drink line called ‘Whatever’ and ‘Anything’. Anything is their carbonated soda which comes in six flavors: Cola with Lemon, Apple, Fizz Up, Cloudy Lemon and Root Beer. Whatever is non-carbonated tea that comes in Ice Lemon, Peach, Jasmine Green Tea, White Grape, Apple, and Chrysanthemum Tea flavors. There are no indications whatsoever on the can as to the contents inside, so next time someone says “Surprise Me” they really will be surprised. Incidentally this concept has not yet hit Europe, so any budding entrepreneurs out there better get their skates on.

Whole Foods Hits Europe

Whole Foods first UK store has opened to a fanfare of publicity in London's Kensington, and it seems the US-based organic and ethical foods retailer has now set its sights on wider European expansion. The company has ambitiously stated that it would like to see the Whole Foods empire established across Europe much as it has been in America with 300 US stores targeted by 2010. Me thinks as delightful as the prospect of ethical food shopping is, that perhaps the cultural and geographic differences in Europe will be quite a challenge for Whole Foods. Most of Europe’s leading retailers if not already doing so are now looking at offering Fair Trade and Organic Foods. Whole Foods with its reputation for expensive produce may struggle to build customer loyalty in this neck of the woods. Meanwhile ethical consumerism is no longer a fad, it’s here to stay, so let the battle commence and bring on the big boys.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The World's Most Expensive Sushi

Attention Sushi lovers, how does Sushi at $100.00 per bite sound? You’d have to have serious Sushi fever to cough up $200.00 for two bites of the ‘Ferrari Jewel Bako Roll’ at Taro’s by Mikuni in Sacramento California, but it does include Beluga Caviar, Smoked Salmon, Kobe Beef & a sprinkling of real gold flakes so you really do get everything you need, protein, carbs and minerals that would also work as pretty good roughage (pretty being the operative word here). Now if you are one of the peasants that think Sushi is just Sushi you seriously need to expand your taste horizons. In fact you could start at with a glance through their guide to THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE SUSHI. It comes as no surprise that ‘Masa’ in New York tops the list at $800.00 for a meal. That particular Sushi sanctuary has been creating a buzz since 2005, wowing Sushi devotees with the extraordinary creations of Chef Masa Takeyama. Once upon a time for the priciest and the freshest Sushi you would have to be willing to travel to its country of origin, but not anymore. Sushi Fever has spread across the globe and judging by the recent Forbes list, the bank breaking raw fish is worth it if you want to go to Sushi heaven. Have a squiz at the fabulous slide show over at Forbes Traveller. Of course now that we are all turned on to the glories of Sushi, we find that the worlds Tuna stocks are rapidly depleting. Perhaps someone should tell the Japanese to stop eating so much of the stuff and leave some for the rest of us?

Eat and Drink NOTHING and Lose Weight!!

Bit of a bizarre story in the Daily Mail this morning...... A German professor claims that he has survived for the past 6 years on nothing but sunshine and fruit juice. He doesn’t eat anything at ALL..... Nada!! (Not even the garnish.)

In fact, the last item of food that passed his lips was a huge helping of potato salad and a slice of cake on New Year's Eve 2001. The 58 yr old professor claims he gets all the sustenance he needs from the sun. Oh, and the occasional coffee, fruit juice or a glass of wine if he and his wife are enjoying a night out. he calls it LIGHT nutrition. Known to 5000 other food minimalists across the world as ‘Breatharianism’ the belief that the elements contained in air - nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen - can sustain a body. He says it takes three weeks, to get your body used to the LIGHT diet. "The first week is really strict - eat nothing, drink nothing.” (Not much shopping to do then) “Every doctor will tell you this is not possible, but it is. It sounds hard, but living without water for seven days is very possible - it's all about being in the right frame of mind. The crucial factor in this 21-day process is self-belief. If you believe you can do this then you won't give in to the hunger.” Apparently on the eighth day you can have some watered down fruit juice - to cleanse your body with the antioxidants. In the third week, you can move on to stronger, more concentrated juices. And in the last seven days, your body stabilises and gets used to its new regime. Of course any self respecting food lover is thinking about the ‘H’ word by now but the nutty professor says "You won't feel the burning hunger if your mental attitude is right. This isn't about dieting, but respecting your body." Not surprising to hear that he admits to losing more than two stone and looking "like a dried out tortoise" at the end of the first three-week period. Sorry but I just cant get my head around anything that tells you not to drink water, and experts DO differ as to the absolute maximum time that human life can continue without water, but most say its somewhere between seven and ten days. (Of course if your stranded in the desert, forget what the experts say cause you could be dead within hours) Although there is a silver lining, Dr Werner says his ‘Light’ diet has been great for his libido. He still LOVES being with food, to see and smell it, particularly fried, in a café, he says “Now and again I get an appetite - when I might eat a couple of grapes or a nut. But these days I can take it or leave it." ….6 years without food!!! What a tragedy!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

But is it SPORT?

The name Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi may not ring any bells for many of you, but mention that name on the world’s ‘Competitive Eating’ circuit and the crowd usually goes wild. Nobody in the entire world can put away a hotdog faster than Kobayashi. He holds the current world record with 53 and three quarters hotdogs in just 12 minutes, buns and all! As if that’s not enough he is also the worlds champ with regards to scoffing cow brains and rice balls. Kobayashi is so serious about eating that in 2004, he founded the 'United Food Fighters Oranisation' as an attempt to make the world take competitive eating seriously as a sport. Mr. Kobayashi takes it very seriously indeed, in fact so seriously that his rigorous training for his chance to win the next ‘Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Event’ for the seventh year running has resulted in jaw arthritis. The professional eater can hardly manage an M&M at the moment, never mind a hotdog, probably to the absolute delight of other professional hotdog gorgers. Looks like this years Coney Island event in New York could see the emergence of a new hotdog champ. San Jose's Joey Chestnut smashed Kobayashi's record earlier this month by downing 59 and a half "HDB's" (Hotdogs with Buns) at the Southwest Regional Hotdog Eating Championship and is a hot favorite as he placed second at last years world championship at Nathans gobbling up 52 hotdogs. His win puts the pressure on Kobayashi if he manages to get his jaw back in shape by July 4th.

If you get the chance to watch it and you’ve never experienced ‘Competitive Eating’......... DON’T eat beforehand (just in case) and you probably wont feel like eating afterwards either. They definitely work hard, but is it sport? In recent years the Japanese have begun to shy away from competitive eating contests after a 14-year-old junior high school student choked to death in 2002 trying to imitate competitive eating during a school lunch.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Foie gras linked to Alzheimer's

Well, it was only a matter of time I guess. Those of us who are still willing to risk the wrath of ethical gourmets to satisfy our foie gras cravings have now a much more selfish reason to motivate us along the way to foie gras rehab. Eating foie gras could be a tasty way to get Alzheimer’s. Enjoyed as a luxury since ancient Egyptian times, foie gras has recently had its share of foodie headlines especially when war broke out in Chicago over the proposed ban in their restaurants. I was absolutely amazed at the amount of recipes invented by Chicago chefs as they attempted to hide their beloved foie gras in all manner of unlikely dishes in protest against the ban. Anyway, now it seems our goose may be well and truly cooked, as scientists have revealed that eating foie gras may be linked to the onset of diseases including Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The possible risk comes from “amyloid” proteins found in the delicacy, which is made from the swollen livers of force-fed geese and ducks. The proteins have been linked to the onset of all these conditions. Foie gras has long been controversial because of the way food is forced down the birds’ throats. In Britain it fetches premium prices with Fortnum & Mason offering a 310g goose liver – enough to make starters for four or five people – for £60. But WAIT! Before you throw out that recipe for Gordons latest fast food masterpiece 'Veal Burger with Minced Foie Gras' if you read the fine print on the research findings they do state that eating foie gras probably won't cause a disease in someone who isn't already genetically predisposed to it. Phew! That buys us a few more livers, at least for the time being. And perhaps with this startling discovery, the price of a goose liver may be about to plummet?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Beer for Kids???

Here’s an idea that highlights once again the differences between East and West. Japan is well known for its group drinking culture, (so are the British and of course the Aussies) but I cant see this Japanese line of fake alcoholic drinks for kids catching on in the Western World. Thanks to beverage producers ‘Sangaria’ their little ones can now indulge in kiddie wines, kiddie champagne and kiddie cocktails, there’s even a kiddie beer complete with foaming top. I know we’ve all seen those little fake champers bottles, but I doubt that fake beer specifically marketed for kids would make it past the pitching stage even if it is made from apple juice. Interesting to note though that these grown up drinks for kids have been selling for a couple of years in Japan now and so far, no one seems to have any problem with it. You can check out the video of all of the little ‘would be’ alcoholics enjoying happy hour Japanese style on Youtube.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Bionic Burger

Now here’s an interesting hobby, how would you like to build your own Immortal Hamburger Museum? Matt Malmgren has done just that, but he’s not as eccentric as he sounds. Way before the movies 'Super Size Me' and 'Fast Food Nation' Matt stumbled across the discovery that the Big Mac has incredible staying power by putting one in his coat pocket one day and forgetting about it. Months later he pulled it out and it looked and smelled just the same! He decided to conduct an experiment and now owns the worlds largest collection of living Hamburgers (if you could call them living). According to Matt all you have to do to start your own collection is follow these 2 easy steps:

1. Buy some hamburgers from your favorite fast food restaurant: (any place that serves hybridized, chemicalized, genetically altered, hormone/ pesticide-laden food)

2. Put your hamburgers in a fairly dry location and let them sit for many, many years. WARNING: Do not put your hamburgers in any sealed containers. The moisture needs to escape the food naturally, so letting them breathe in the open air works best.

And that's it! You are now the proud owner of your own Bionic Burger Museum! After 6 or 7 days, you can display them proudly. No animals or insects will touch them, which has to make you wonder just what IS in them doesn’t it?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Art of Fancy Sipping

Cocktail Mixology is reaching ultimate heights as the new worlds elite turn to cocktails rather than outrageously priced bottles of Champagne or a limited edition Scotch. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the worlds most expensive cocktail is sold at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. Not exactly the place one would think of for a Mai Tai, but with a price tag of $1,400 this is one LUXURIOUS Mai Tai! Apparently the secret lies in the 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew rum from Jamaica, which is locked in the hotel safe at night and is the only one out of six bottles in existence available to the public. London is not to be left out, but not quite as extravagant with a $100 Truffle Martini at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel, complete with black truffles soaked in premium vodka for 48 hours. Now prior to the Mai Tai claiming the title of the worlds priciest drink the Ritz Sidecar held the title with its 1865 Ritz Reserve cognac, exclusively served at the Hotel Ritz in Paris of course! However if you really want to ‘Rock’ her socks off the ultimate glamour drink has to be the Algonquin Hotel’s “Martini-On-The-Rock.” The ‘Rock’ part is a 1.52-carat diamond in the ring setting of your choice. At $10,000 a pop, just make sure she doesn’t swallow it.

'PC' Advertising

Many of the British Newspapers reported yesterday on the failed resurrection of the old 'GO TO WORK ON AN EGG' campaign for Lions Eggs. It seemed like a good idea to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic Lions Egg campaign featuring Tony Hancock by revamping the old campaign, that was until the watchdog nannies caught wind of the idea and called a swift halt. They feel that advising todays consumers to head of to work on only an egg would be totally irresponsible as we should be aiming for a VARIED diet. As if we'd take it sooooo literally that we'd ONLY eat the egg...... No toast, no butter, no sausages, bacon, tomatoes or beans, mushrooms.....need i go on? Plus I hasten to add, the FSA state that for the average person consuming 5-7 eggs per week would be perfectly acceptable.

As a follow up there's an interesting piece in the Daily Mail by Quentin Letts, taking a look at OTHER classic British adds and what todays public safety nannies might make of some of the UK's most CHERISHED campaigns. For instance to produce the old CAMP Coffee and Chicory advertisement today you would have to basically rename the product as the name of the coffee would risk offending the gay community and the scotsman in the kilt on the label could be considered racial stereotyping. (Regarding the problem with the name, I remember returning home to Australia after my first trip to London with some prized tins of Faggots for my gay friends and they were delighted!)

The Flake advertisement where the woman is in the bath eating her chocolate bar would have to be shown only after the 9pm watershed and the woman would have to be shown wearing water wings to prevent any accidental drowning in the bath.

The ‘If you love your children BUTTER them up’ advt would have to make some mention of the dangers of animal fats clogging up the arteries, also the child in the add is white, which would nowadays only help to cement racial profiles

The RSPCA would be most concerned about the rights of our primate cousins in the classic PG TIPS adds feauring those poor chimps, forced to dress up and humiliate themselves posing as humans.

The ‘OXO gives a meal MAN APPEAL’ add would be entirely inappropriate! Because it suggests that the cook of the household is only interested in satisfying her male partner. Where does this leave lesbians or people who don’t have partners?

And absolutely no one should leap out of a helicopters carrying a box of milktray thesedays unless they wear safety equipment and have passed an official risk assessment.

Are we really getting so stupid that we are no longer allowed to risk having a sense of humour? Crikey! Makes you wonder what they will ban next? Interesting to note though that all of these huge budget campiagns from years gone by are all featuring Food or Beverage products.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

From Chef to Executive Producer

I've always wondered how Gordon Ramsey has gotten away without any of the participants on his tv shows suing him. Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares (for those of you living under a rock - a series in which Ramsay parachutes into failing restaurants for a week and tells them what they are doing wrong in his own inimitable style) has been a huge success in Britain and a US version is due to debut this September. Well, a now FORMER restaurant manager featured on the new American series IS suing His Gordoness and trying to stop the series from being broadcast. Martin Hyde, the former general manager of Dillons, an Indian restaurant in Manhattan's theatre district, is asking a judge to block airing of the show, saying Ramsey lied about finding rotten meat in the kitchens, hired actors to patronize the restaurant so it would appear ‘Dillons’ had grown more popular since Ramsay's intervention and unfairly targeted and provoked him to capture a confrontation on tape. ( I don’t doubt the provocation part for one minute, thats all part of the show isnt it? ) Hyde said he was blamed for the way the kitchen was run even though as general manager he had no control over the kitchen. (He certainly wouldn't have had any control once Gordon moved in). Ah well, we all know these shows are produced dont we? Any publicity is good publicity for Ramsey I guess. Wouldn't miss it for the world though......Luv it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Now this is One Smart Plate!

As the obesity crisis continues, isn’t it amazing how we seem to be taking less and LESS responsibility for our actions? We know we eat too much and yet we just keep piling it in. Now it seems we have lost the ability to even know when to stop. So I guess we are extremely lucky that some bright spark has invented the ‘Talking Plate’. 15 centimetres in diameter and connected to a palm sized computer the ‘Talking Plate’ is fitted with weight sensors to allow you to load up at the buffet to a fixed volume of food. Just one slice of jamon too many and the plate will inform you (and anyone else within earshot) that you are about to over do it! “Where’s your willpower?” the plate will demand as you try to squeeze those last few Gambas with Cocktail Sauce onto its corner. The idea springs from the fact that we only start feeling we are full twenty minutes or more after we start eating, and in that time period it’s time enough to eat two or three times the proper amount of food. The ‘Talking Plate’ warns us of our impending sin, just incase our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Now if you feel that bringing a talking plate to the table would be just a tad embarrassing at your next gala dinner, Dr Hryhory Chausovsky’s inventions don’t stop there. As a variation on the ‘Talking Plate’ the Dr has also invented the ‘Talking Belt’ which monitors expansion of the wearer's stomach as the meal proceeds, and peeps a discreet alarm when maximum allowable extension has been reached. For the really paranoid gourmand Chausovsky offers a lightweight arm band whose motion detector counts calories by the individual bite. In fact the Soviet trained scientist has devoted his life to turning his brains and imagination to the needs of weight conscious consumers. He has another plate that is equipped with a contact sensor built in the food containment area, and a mini-synthesiser, so that each time the diner's fork or spoon strikes the plate, the plate plays music. If the utensil strikes are too rapid, the plate will play fast and aggressive music while if the person eats more slowly, the music will be calmer and less stressful. The Doctor says the natural human tendency to avoid stress and find calm will therefore slow down the eating process. Chausovsky’s other weapons of fat destruction include a simple contact magnet and recorder connected to the refrigerator door, which asks the tricky question "Are you here because you are really hungry, or is it just your emotions?" every time you open the fridge door. There’s also the ‘Scent Ring’ jewellery that emits a strong perfume partially masking the smell of food, and so reducing the desire to overeat and if you really need to bring out the big guns for your big buns the ‘Food Spectacles’ are a pair of tinted glasses that are guaranteed to make even the most appetising chocolate mousse look totally inedible.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Although labelling on many food products now states calorie content here in Spain, you’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant that could give you the calorie count for any of the dishes on their menu. I doubt either that the majority of households have an exact idea of the calorie content at the traditional family lunch. So it’s interesting to note that the Japanese have come up with a unique way to combat their own expanding waistlines. The battle of the bulge is a growing obsession in Japan, a country that is slowly losing its reputation for low-fat fish-and-rice diets and slim waistlines as the Japanese adopt western style food and western size potions. Of course the result of their fast food lifestyle is pretty much the same as the results of our own raging obesity problems, brought on by decades of bad eating habits. Their Health Ministry estimated last year that more than half of Japanese men and about one in five women between 40 and 70 years of age - nearly 20 million people - were at risk of metabolic syndrome, a term for a cluster of conditions associated with obesity, high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Now something the Japanese love even more than their ‘Macudonarudos’ (Mcdonalds) are their telephones, so health care workers have put two and two together to develop a cell phone program where the weight conscious can send photos of their meals to nutritionists for a complete analysis. At the moment the concept is on a test run and unfortunately the dieters have to wait up to three days to find out just how much damage they have done by consuming the meal photographed. However the concept seems to be much more successful than having dieters maintain food logs or diaries. With the Health Ministry hoping to reduce by 25 percent the number of people at risk of metabolic syndrome by 2015, Osaka officials hope the cell phone program will help. Cell phones are a way of life for the Japanese, so perhaps they’re on to something, the new ‘Cell Phone Diet’ could be the next big thing.
On the other hand if you're NOT one of the weight concious, and you love your food, perhaps you should consider another innovative Japanese invention.... FOOD CELL PHONE STRAPS available as Bread, Burgers, Sandwiches, Pasta and of course Sushi. Available from

Fake Cakes!!

Here's an idea for the budget-minded bride and groom, a new business in the States is offering a less costly alternative to buying an expensive wedding cake..... Renting a fake one. The idea is to have an elegant, multitiered pretend cake for show while serving guests slices from a real, tasty and inexpensive sheet cake hidden in the kitchens out back! The inside of a faux wedding cake crafted by Fun Cakes in Grandville contains mostly plastic foam, but don’t worry, you can still cut the cake with your new partner and share a bite together for the photo’s, there’s a nifty spot reserved for a slice of real cake hidden inside the plastic foam. The whole fake cake is covered by gum paste and fondant and looks just like the real thing. The concept of the fake cake was born because some bright spark realised that after a bride and groom take the traditional first slice of their real wedding cake, it's often wheeled away from the guests, out of their sight, to be cut up and served on plates. Now you can do the same thing using a fake cake and a sheet cake, and guests will be none the wiser! You can spend about half as much on a fake wedding cake paired up with a sheet cake as you would spend on a real wedding cake. But so far this idea doesn’t seem to have caught on in Europe. I dunno girls.... It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve faked it surely?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Wave Gin

Summer is here and the old Gin and Tonic has never gone down better! However these days there's more to gin than just martinis and G&Ts. New blends using surprising ingredients are the current favourites of the cocktail crowd as a ‘Gin Revival’ hits the beverage world. A host of ‘new wave’ gins with a little less of the juniper berry that we are used to and a few more botanicals to soften the edge have hit the markets. We are seeing the infusion of rose petals, cucumber, wild water mint, violets, turmeric, lavender, saffron, and a multitude of fresh fruit botanicals alongside the dried variety. For the environmentally aware there’s also ‘organic’ gins hitting the shelves and it seems that gin is once again the epitome of sophistication, thanks to the unique new combinations of herb, spice and citrus flavourings that give each premium gin its distinctness. For a fabulous look at the historic cache and complex possibilities of Gin have a look at the article in last weeks Guardian (UK). Oh, and you have to love these wise words from Dorothy Parker (American writer and poet) inspired by a gin soaked martini: "I love to drink martinis, two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Breakfast with NO Cuppa?

If you’re fond of an egg or two in the morning, whatever you do DON’T reach for a good old cuppa with that! The British Dietetic Association has announced that it is best NOT to drink tea with meals as the benefits of iron-rich food may be prevented from entering the body when consumed with tea. Instead they suggest drinking a Vitamin C rich drink as Vitamin C AIDS the absorption of iron. Don’t despair though if you are a tea lover. A cup of tea as a mid-morning pick me up, an afternoon perk or a relaxing evening drink is fine, just best avoided at meal times. So THAT'S where I've been going wrong.....

Friday, June 8, 2007

New Age Oysters

A little story in the Aussie papers this morning that is AROUSING International interest. An Australian oyster farmer has hit upon a technique he believes has created the ultimate aphrodisiac....... Feeding his oysters VIAGRA!

He reckons the natural qualities of the oyster, known for arousing sexual desire, combined with todays best MODERN pharmaceutical equivalent will create a potentially multi-million dollar market, and it looks like he's right. He's already getting enquiries from all over the world. Brian May has patented the idea of feeding the oysters Viagra, magnesium, zinc and sea grass among other things after the shellfish have gone through their normal purification process. He now has some 10 million oysters in cultivation and says he eats one to two dozen each day "I swear to god. They work." Unfortunately he will NOT be allowed to sell his special Sydney Rock Oysters in Australia because they contravene strict regulations. Now I don’t believe natural aphrodisiacs actually exist, (although I'm happy to experiment) but once you start putting Viagra into something, well thats a different kettle of shell fish. And I wonder if the poor oysters will have trouble closing their shells?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hangover Buster Bangers

As I get older (and boy am i getting older) the Vitamin B tablets just dont seem to cut it any more with regards to hangover prevention. So imagine my delight at the discovery of a big juicy banger with hangover healing properties! A Scottish butcher has jumped on the BBQ bandwagon with the creation of the ‘Iron Brew Banger’. Being an Antipodean I’m not familiar with ‘Iron Brew’ but I am assured that it has been a favourite hangover remedy for many years in the UK. The original soft drink is actually named ‘Iron Bru’ but the soft drink manufacturers have requested that the butcher spells his sausage differently to avoid confusion. Although I hasten to add it IS the real thing going into what must be a somewhat fizzy sausage mix. And just how long is a string of sausages? Pretty damn long apparently, the company behind the sausages, ‘Stuarts of Buckhaven’ have pre trialled the new hangover buster bangers at their butcher shops in Leven, Lundin Links and Buckhaven and already have a stream of customers queing up for more. So far the Iron Brew sausages come in two flavors, 'Pork' and 'Pork Sweet Chilli'.

'Emotional' or 'Intellectual' Cuisine

Celeb chef Thomas Keller the wiz behind the infamous ‘French Laundry’ in the Napa Valley, ‘Bouchon’ also in California & ‘Per Se’ in new York, was asked recently about molecular gastronomy, a term that most of us associate with Ferran Adria’s style of decadently deconstructed food. Keller says the practice is nothing new since "changing the molecules in food" has been going on for centuries as part of basic cooking techniques. However what’s interesting is that he said it is useful to divide cooking into two categories: "emotional cuisine," which "touches you inside because you have memories associated with those flavor profiles," and "intellectual cuisine," which is closer to molecular gastronomy. Intellectual cuisine challenges your mind but can leave you confused because you have nothing similar in your memory to compare it with. Keller says without that all important reference point it can be difficult to decide whether you actually like what you are eating. So it seems once again there's just no accounting for taste.

Buy Local and INCREASE your carbon footprint???

Just as we are all toting up the figures to find out how big our carbon footprint really is, and many food retailers are making the decision to label air freighted products to make us have to THINK about where our food comes from and how many food miles the journey generates, researchers warn us that food transportation is only a teensy weeny part of the carbon footprint. Taking a look at the average UK shoppers food trolley, the latest study has found that only two per cent of an item's carbon footprint is generated by the journey. They now argue that the packaging, processing, storage and growing conditions of an item are the major contributors and that locally sourced foods could be more harmful than those transported by air. Dr Ruth Fairchild from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff said: "I'm a bit worried about the food miles debate because it is educating the consumer in the wrong way. It is such an insignificant point. Those foods could have been produced using pesticides that have travelled all the way around the world. If you just take food miles, it is the tiny bit on the end."

Saturday, June 2, 2007

FOOD or ART ....or BOTH?

Spains very own gastronomic guru Ferran Adria, chef-proprietor of the celebrated restaurant El Bulli, has been invited to participate in the Documenta art show in Germany. But is he an artist? Well of course he is, but the invitation has many Spanish critics currently choking on their chorizo over this. Adria is famous for creating a stir when its comes to stretching the limits of food as we know it. Actually his creations are more like food as we DON’T know it. The Documenta art show in Kassel, Germany, is one of the biggest events on the contemporary art calendar and takes place every 5 years. To the critics dismay Adria is one of only two Spaniards invited to show off thier talents this year. His restaurant near Barcelona, El Bulli, recently grabbed the 'Best Restaurant in the World' title for the second year running. The invitation, however, has not gone down well within the Spanish art establishment, some going so far as to call it the "banalisation of art". El Pais critic, Jose de la Sota said: "Adria is not Picasso. Picasso did not know how to cook but he was better than Adria (at art). What is art now? Is it something or nothing?" To this Adria replied with a shrug: "True, I am no Picasso, but what is art in times like these? Many people act as if I should apologise for participating. I am not going to." So! The art critics can consider themselves well and truly TOLD. Besides, we’ve seen protest banners, piles of bricks, elephant doo doo and the mere turning on of a light switch winning art prizes....why not food?