Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kitchen Nightmares

A local restaurant was advertising their summer special on the radio the other day. The special was a shrimp, avocado and strawberry salad. Good luck with that.

Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant makeover show, Kitchen Nightmares used to be a good show when it was filmed in Britain. Well-meaning people did badly because they just didn’t have a clue. Then he did a version in America, but it featured a smarmy narrator with pop-in quickie comments by Ramsey, and mostly him throwing fits, which is what Americans like to see. They don’t care about sincerity; they just want reality show drama. So they picked insane eateries run by insane people. Thus it is that Ramsey’s reputation in America is one of being a bully and a coarse-mouthed thug in a white jacket. It has nothing to do with cooking.

What had happened was that the American show was a TV version of the very thing he was trying to “fix”: it was a rubbish show, with a terrible “menu” of content and no amount of shouting could rescue it from oblivion.

Whenever I see food pairings of obvious folly, I am reminded of Ramsey’s original show. In it, he often had to explain to hapless chefs why strawberries don’t go with fish or some such incompatibility of nature.

There is no need to put pineapple on top of your barbecued ribs. Don’t do it, people.

Meat Cook Book, Better Homes and Gardens, 1969

 Also from this book: Common Cored

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