The twisted Trail…..
GOOD FOOD As good as it looks
A universal truth that continues to hold good is the appeal that good looking food has. It proves the old saying, “We feast from our eyes and not from our mouth.”
Interestingly, my doctor recently said, “The mantra to remain fit is to take a single helping during the meal.”
The French have a longstanding love affair with food that can be traced back to the 15th Century. Have you ever wondered how the Parisians manage their slender frames despite this gourmet food and wine? Maybe they have succeeded in following my doctor’s advice!
Gourmet cuisine reminds me of one of my food adventures in Paris, where food and fashion go hand in hand. During my Hotel Management college days, while sweating it out in the kitchens trying to learn the finer nuances of French cuisine, the college organised a weeklong French festival.
The participating students had the Herculean task of cooking a dish from France of the 1540s. This was a period when dinner virtually became theatre.
However, in late 20th Century, Frenchman Montagne turned the French cuisine from architectural presentations into simplified decorations and short menus .
It was only recently that new generation chefs in France developed Nouvelle Cuisine, which simplified cooking. Cooking now became about smaller portions, and visual artistry was restricted to the plate.
What they did not change was the dramatisation of the dish being served. Again, it was about trying ones best to feed the mind and eyes of the diner.
Sitting by a cobbled boulevard in an old village outside an old bakery, Escoffier, one day, I was enjoying a warm cup of aromatic French café. At the table by my side, I saw a beautiful young girl, fit to be a model, busy eating a flambéed cherry pie. A few moments later she bought another one and gobbled up that too. Amazed as I was seeing this, I coughed up the courage to ask her the secret of her slim silhouette in spite of her diet. She laughed loudly and answered in heavily accented English that though she was full after the first pie, her eyes convinced her she needed the second one too. Later she paid for succumbing to temptation by hopping on the jogging machine. . During my term at the catering institute, working with some of the fine chefs, I realised that each one of them had some other passion. One wanted to be an artist, the other was a failed musician and the third a philosopher — they all brought a lot to their role as a master chef. Cooking is like performing arts: One has to be first an artiste and later a chef.
Surprise, men are more sensible about their comfort food than women. There exists a real mood-food connection. When we are sad, we want immediate euphoria, and what better way to do that than with hot buttered popcorn?
On the other hand, when people are relatively content and just want to retain their good mood, grapes may just be fine with them. Meanwhile, a distinct divide exists between the sexes when it comes to comfort food. Men crave for meal-related food while the fairer sex craves snack-related goodies .
To conclude, the mind plays an important role in our eating habits. Thus, a great chef creates his dishes likes an artist at a canvas, to entice the mind of the diner.
Today , every where a great importance is given to food presentation .In the Gourmet schools many hours are spent on the presentation and food styling .Besides taste it is the packaging that sells a particular product. Globalization in the food industry – different cuisines , attractive food styling have greatly influenced us , here in India and why not every one wants to see a beauty ….
One of the rare evening ,set in the most beautiful settingson a terrace overlooking the magnificent Qutub Minar , with dramatic lightings ready for the shoot for the ist episodes “Twist of the cuisine” finale of the first episode where chef Vineet Bhatia from Londoon was challenged by his wife to replicate the `Motimahal`s Buttter chicken ,Murg Malai tikka , Karim`s Seekh kabab and to make a dessert with phul makhane (PS-I dont know the English of this ingredient).We started with the appetizer which was beautifully presented White sesame seed coated -Potato and peas tikki with plum sauce and very interestingly there was a Golgappa stuffed with sprouts , to be had with Lassi Bloody mary.Followed by the seekh kabab stuffed with melteed blue cheese and coriander paste and peas and mint potli .The main course , ofcourse ,the white butter chicken – it tasted great but to me was a fusion of Pasanda sauce and tomato residue, which later ,the chef explained ,that he had roughly chopped the tomatoes and sprinkled salt , pepper, garlic water and hung in a muslin cloth to get the tomato residue with out the red colour which he used to make the butter chicken sauce mixed with butter and Cashew paste.In the absense of the tandoor t,he chef had sauted the marinated chicken fillet on griddle plate and sprinled withthe oven dried tomato skins tempered with garlic, salt ,oil and crushed cashew nuts.The treat was great and the finale with the classic carrot halwa topped with phul makhane rabri with vermacily crips made with sweetened flour , rolled into thiin sheets and deep fried and then shredded was the show stopper.
We ate to our hart content and had a great evening discussing food, family food secrets etc.
Rashmi Das Gupta Food and life style writer ,enlightened us with some new eateries in towm and also about her mothers adventure with cooking in foreign land.Our young and charming Designer sisters Gauri and Nainika Karan to my surprise were real foodies belonging to a family in love with Food .Their mother a published cook book author and excelling in Hyderabadi cooking.My mouth is still watering with their description of their mother`s orange lamb Biryani recipe
.Waitng to try in my kitchen.
On this note I take your leave , waiting for the morning when I lay my hand on Mrs Karans 100 Biryanis cook book and start the experiment
ALLA Faccia- Italian for cheers