Philobiblon: Why is French food so good?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why is French food so good?

... and English so bad?

I had lunch today, in a little glassed-in concrete area above the public toilets in a little bay on the headland of which stands a statue of the Virgin Mary, just south of the old port of Biarritz. No, you guessed, I'm not quite sure what the bay is called, but with that description you'll find it.

A similar facility in England would probably serve indifferent fish and chips, microwaved hamburgers and similar culinary monstrosities. At this cafe, however, I had the dish of the day, which was two dorade fillets, panfried to have a crispy outside but with still firm flesh, on a bed of carrots, with a light cream mustard sauce. The sweetness of the carrots was perfectly balanced by the cut of the mustard, the textures were all different, and all complementary, and on the side was a green salad of half a dozen different flavourful leaves, with a tasty dressing, accompanied by a giant, crispy, garlic slice of fried bread.

All of that, and coffee, cost 11 euros (about £7), with a gorgeous view.

Why is there such a difference between the two cuisines and food cultures? I'm really trying to work that one out!

P.S. You've probably concluded that I survived the surfing lesson without any broken limbs - and I even stood on the board for about 5 milliseconds at one point. I think it would be possible for me to learn to ride a surfboard (and if I can anyone can), but I reckon I'd have to devote two solid weeks to the task.

I've also discovered, however, that it takes a lot more work from your shoulders than you'd expect - in the moment of upward propulsion from lying to standing, which would require me to get my dodgy shoulder fixed first. (Still to recover from a lot of painting of ceilings earlier this year - can't imagine how Michelangelo managed it!)


Anonymous Celadon said...

I always tell people that English food is good. It's just that very few people know how to cook it anymore.

9/09/2005 12:48:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Perhaps to be clearer I should have said restaurants and cafes. If you shop around the raw ingredients are perfectly good, I agree, although I`m not sure Id want to match up 2 average supermarket baskets.

9/09/2005 06:00:00 pm  

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