Friday, 14 September 2012

In Defence of Crap Cooking!

Deep-Fried Mars Bars North of the Border

FOOD is seen as a trivial concern except as a fuel to keep your belly full by many in England.  A year or two ago, after Chris Draper wrote 'Six O' the Best Northern Tea Time Treats' in Northern Voices No.11, Derek Pattison said that there was too much on food in that publication.  Another of our writers, Les May, dismissed our coverage of food as being boring, saying that Chis Draper's concern that Eccles Cakes are no longer baked in Eccles in Salford as being of little importance:  'We're not like the French', he declared, 'we don't need food to have geographical protected status'.

And yet, we have the French Revolution to thank for the development of the restaurant trade.  This was an unintended consequence, but it was only when the chefs to the aristocracy became unemployed after the French Revolution that they set about opening restaurants. 

It can't be trivial either that on Radio 4 only today some environmentalists are calling for a ban on fishing in some European fishing areas for the next nine years.  That would almost certainly put up the price of fish in the shops at a time when on health grounds people are being urged to eat more fish.  It would certainly upset the Spaniards wherein the quality of fried fish is sought in every tapas bar, and where they are prepared to pay more than most of us for the pleasure of eating fish.

Last Saturday's Financial Times had a leader that began:  'Food is no joke in most of Europe... France and Switzerland once spent years fighting to claim special status from Brussels for their respective Gruyere cheeses.  (The french have holes, the Swiss do not.)'  But beyond our North of England border at the Carron Fish Bar of Stonehaven, in the north-east of Scotland, was last week told by Mars PLC that it was not authorised to use the trade-marked chocolate bar's name to finest and fry its speciality the 'deep-fried Mars Bar'.  Mars PLC had been alerted to the chippy's intention, according to the Financial Times'to apply to Brussels to request protected food status for the confectionery that first emerged from its deep-fryers in 1995'

The Financial Times leader writer declares:  'It is as clear as the batter on the hot and squidgy caramel treat whether the owners ever intended to apply for the same standing as Asiago cheese, champagne or Cornish pasties... Despite the creative initiative, the Mars bar is not Scottish and does not need protection from foreign bootleggers.'   The F.T. writer also reminds us that the Scottish diet is perhaps the unhealthiest in Britain, and that the country has some of the highest rates of heart disease and cancer.  It is hard to find good restaurants north of the border as well, I had my worst meal last year in the Scottish borders.  Yet, a bad diet is probably better than no diet at all, and one is bound to ask where does all the Aberdeen Angus beef and all the Scottish salmon go?  Does it all go down South?___________________________________________________
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