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Englishwoman to TEACH the FRENCH How to COOK??

post #1 of 23
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A very interesting article:


Delia to teach France how to cook
From: Expatica.com

A cultural revolution is brewing in France with the imminent publication of a book in which - horror of horrors - an Englishwoman presumes to administer lessons in cookery to the French. Hugh Schofield reports.

Delia Smith - a television superstar in Britain who has sold 14 million books across the English-speaking world - has finally had a selection of her recipes translated into French, and they go on sale in May with the title La cuisine facile d'aujourd'hui, or Simple cooking today.

In the land that believes it invented gastronomy, publishers Hachette concede there might be a certain resistance to the idea of taking classes from purveyors of mushy peas and over-cooked beef. Smith's nationality is being downplayed, and she is referred to only as "Delia."

But they insist there is a crying demand for the kind of straightforward approach to the kitchen that has made Smith famous, because so many of the domestic traditions that used to be handed down from mother to daughter have disappeared.

Unlike in Britain or the US, France has no popularising television chefs - they tend to be toqued and very dignified - and cookery books fall into two categories: either the overly basic or the overly compendious. The Larousse Gastronomique runs to 2,752 pages.

Many young Frenchwomen admit the need for something in between. "I have to admit it. I learned to cook from Delia," said Sabine Samuel, 31, a Paris-based mother who is married to an Englishman and spent many years in London.

"Because the truth is I didn't know anything. French women are just supposed to have it - and I didn't. No one ever taught me, and Delia was perfect. Simple and non-fussy," she said.

Even in gastronomic circles, many agree that France has concentrated too long on ensuring that its top-of-the range remains top-of-the-range, ignoring the broad, family-based culture from which the culinary élite initially sprung.

"I can only see the translation of Mrs Smith as a positive development," said Alain Dutournier of the two Michelin-starred Le Carré des Feuillants in central Paris.

"If the French are no longer the guardians of their own temple - and they are not - then they need to be taught the rituals again by outsiders."

But by the British of all people? Wasn't that somewhat galling? "Not at all," said Dutournier. "The English have a tremendous tradition. There is nothing I like better than Yorkshire pudding, or fried fish with a puree of green peas.

"What is disgusting is seeing the way some people eat on the street. The smell of old grease and all that kind of thing," he said. "But I am afraid today it is exactly the same in France."

Others, however, were less enthralled by Smith's "presumption".

"I have been in this business for 30 years. I have three Michelin stars. And I think maybe in 10 years I will be ready to write a cookery book," said Alain Passard, chef-patron of L'Arpège in Paris, who had never heard of Smith.

"What we know about in France is how to choose good products. That's more important than a new cook book, so I suggest this woman of yours take a step or two back," he said.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #2 of 23
Delia Smith has almost goddess status in Britain. She is their answer to Julia Child. I remember reading an article about this in a local newspaper when I went home to visit last year. Those French folks who were interviewed almost unanimously thought the idea was rediculous. I'm not much of a delia fan myself but I give her credit for having the guts to even try a stunt like this.

Jock
post #3 of 23
Interesting thread. I've been hearing for at least 10 years from friends in France that there is considerable consternation about the invasion of fast food and processed food. They are worried that the pace of modern life, which is cutting down on noonday family mealtime, prevents kids from learning traditional French homestyle cooking. Like American kids, they're not seeing as much cooking at home and are not being offered cooking classes at school as they once were. Chefs are worried about these young people's palates being uneducated and unappreciative of good cuisine.

May be Delia can help the youth realign their culinary priorities. I wish her well!
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post #4 of 23
If you visit Delia's site you would realize why she is so popular and why she is capable to teach in France.

Her recipes are well measured and always work!

I am a Delia's fan :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #5 of 23

Delia

You can see for yourself at Delia Online
Her recipes are all fully tested and are practically guaranteed to work. She has been accused of being "too basic" and "too prescriptive", but there are millions of people out there who do not have either the inclination or ability to create their own meals without good guidance.
With a Delia cookbook in hand you can learn everything from the basics to creating an elegant meal for a dinner party.
I'm not ashamed to say I have several of her books and would recommend them to cooks from novice to intermediate level.
post #6 of 23
Back in '73 and '74 when I was last in France, I heard rumblings that the French were getting away from their traditional cooking style in favor of 'steak frites" type meals.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #7 of 23
Well...I've been in France many times (living in the Italian Riviera, France is just round the corner:) ) and most of them were "culinary weekends", so I have experienced French cooking at any level! My thought is that, although the French are obviously concerned about the invasion of the fast food culture and the changes in the young generations' taste, they are still miles and miles far from such a lifestyle. Like in Italy (and much more than in Italy!) the deep roots of the traditional food culture and the wide availability of fresh food and artisanally made products fight against a radical change in the French eating habits.
In France you can still eat well, almost everywhere. My experience is that the main difference is not in the Michelin three stars (of course you can have an outstanding meal in a "great" restaurant everywhere nowadays) but in the average, everyday restaurants. Even in the smallest brasserie the food is usually fresh, well cooked and carefully presented. Excellence is rare, but a decent quality with reasonable prices is the rule, both for food and wines. My opinion is this is the main reason why France still remains the culinary leader in the world...no doubt they have plenty of MacDonalds, but they are only one of the possible options and not the only place where you can get an economic meal as elsewhere...
BTW: as for French chefs, I agree with you! Many of them are unbearably conceited...

Pongi
post #8 of 23
I don't know what to think about her French gig but she sure taught a few things to the Brits!! I do too like her recipes for they are accurate and they work.
K

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«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #9 of 23

What about Ann Willan??

Ann Willan was a founder of LaVareinne cooking school and is a highly respected chef. And how about Diana Kennedy? She's British (I believe) and is one of the most astounding cooks of Mexican food around.

I guess once the Brits veered away from bangers and mash, their cooking exited the Rodney Dangerfield category and got some respect. Those heavy pub dishes are still "comfort" food in England but at least they've gotten out of the culinary basement. Good for them!
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #10 of 23
I agree. I am a transplanted Brit (been here 20 years) and I am surprised and delighted when I go home to visit at the variety of food available in the market. Restaurant chefs and home cooks alike are experimenting and it is a very exciting time. Probably Delia had some part in this revolution but still I'm not a fan. Maybe it is because I saw her once preparing a salad and she didn't bother to cut the veins out of the red pepper and she used capers straight from the jar without rinsing them first. These are little things to be sure but if your intent is to teach, don't short change your students by taking shortcuts.

Jock
post #11 of 23
Why rinse capers since I thought that they were only drained?

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #12 of 23
The best capers and anchovies are salted, usually available at Italian delis. The anchovies are also available in 1-2 lb cans that store well for a long time. The best brand is a Sicilian brand called Agostino Recca-Aciughe Salate. I always get my salted capers loose from the deli so I can't tell you about brands, etc., though I have seen them in little jars in the store.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #13 of 23
Even if it's not part of a discussion about French cooking, I agree with Alexia! Salted capers and anchovies are definitely much better than those preserved in oil (or vinegar for capers) both for the quality of the raw product and for the resulting taste. They only must be carefully rinsed many times to remove the big amount of cooking salt. Don't know about capers, but salted anchovies can be also easily made at home...

Pongi
post #14 of 23
I agree. They're hard to find though; Italian markets or specialty food stores are your best bet!
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
Reply
post #15 of 23
I dunno. Maybe it's just a personal thing with me but I don't like the idea of consuming the preserving liquid from the jar of capers.

Jock
post #16 of 23

Delia

Delia Smith sells heaps of books here in Britain for a number of reasons.There are many people who can`t cook themselves a simple meal,many schools do not teach cookery.Some bright spark feels that it is not relevant to young people.I feel this is complete and utter bovine waste!!
I have seen lots of cookery books here in London,the majority are aimed at experienced/qualified chefs.Some contain terms that are not explained,the author assumes that the potential buyer will be familiar with them.I am lucky,being an experienced chef as well as holding an advanced diploma.
As for British people eating "bangers and mash",i would say to anyone come to Central London and be suprised.This opinion of Britain is very dated. :( There is something for everyone,irrespective of tastes,dietary requirements and affluence.Leo R.
post #17 of 23
Here, here, Leo. :bounce:

I had some lovely meals in the Covent Garden neighborhood a few years ago. We ate only one "multicultural" meal- a great one in China Town- but everything else was creditable or better. I did have an abysmal steak and kidney pie in Windsor that trip, but it was a touristy pub and my expectations weren't very high to begin with. ;)
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post #18 of 23

London restaurants

Very true Leo, and not just of London. In fact nowadays the worst food tends to be the American "restaurant" imports, for instance that one that sounds Scottish, and any Italian owned coffee bar in London is a country mile better than *$.
post #19 of 23
London is the best city in the world by far.I am prejudiced but it doesn't matter. I am the Queen of England after all :)
Seriously as Leo said, there is something for everyone there.
Even the Greek Restaurants there are the best in the world.
The " Real Greek " for example. :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #20 of 23
I have a great deal of respect for the food coming out of London, But I don't think it's by far the best dining city in the world!

New York, San Francisco and Paris are finer dining destinations (IMHO)

I don't want to start a "city war" so to speak ;) but for me New York rules in the culinary arena
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #21 of 23
I don't know Cape Chef , maybe you are right.

Kitchen is an expensive sport and since the american dollar rules,it's kind of normal to lead.
BUT only in NYC Greek Restaurants (" Mylos" for example) have the nerve to serve grilled fish and sell this for Greek kitchen for 150$...
The " Real Greek" who cooks food like those recipes of Diane's Kochylas in " Glorious Foods of Greece", propably wouldn't make it in NYC :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #22 of 23
Athenaues,
I didn't think we we're discussing only Greek restaurants.

Yes..you are right that New York can drain your wallet very easly,but I think no other city in the world can offer so much diversity in every price range.

It is a city whose heart beats with in ethnicisity (sp?)and so does it's food.

I think there are very citys anywhere in the world that can boast so much culinary and ehtnic styles of food with high quality
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #23 of 23
My thought is that you must find in advance an agreement on what you mean with the words "eating well".
-Do you eat well in a place where the widest range of different culinary experiences can be made?
-Or in a place where there is the highest number of top restaurants?
-Or in a place where the average quality of meals is good and you're sure to eat well at any price?

The answer depends on your personal choice about this point.

I mean that great, rich, multicultural cities like NYC or SF or London could be considered the best if your answer is 1 or 2...but if your budget is low and you can afford only economic meals probably you'll not eat that well as the local culinary culture leaves a bit to be desired;)
On the other side, in Italy you have a lot of top restaurants and can also get almost everywhere a good meal for $ 20...but only if you're looking for Italian food as ethnic restaurants are lacking (immigration here is mostly illegal, only few foreigners are integrated and we cannot be defined a multicultural society yet). In example, Genoa (which has 800.000 inhabitants) has about 20 Chinese restaurants, 2-3 Arab restaurants, only 1 Indian restaurant:( and no Greek restaurants :cry:
So, no Italian city can be defined "the best place for eating" according to point 1...

In any case, if I should anyway give an answer, for the above mentioned reasons I would say Paris!

Pongi
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