Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Taste of Honey

Yours was the kiss that awoke my heart,
There lingers still, 'though we're far apart,
That taste of honey...
tasting much sweeter than wine. - "A Taste of Honey", Scott & Marlow, 1960

"I look at Guy Fieri and I just think, 'Jesus, I'm glad that's not me.'" - Anthony Bourdain as reported in Bob's Blitz

It was a blast from the past. From the days when the world was black and white and gray. Rita Tushingham - I'd forgotten about her - in the British movie, "A Taste of Honey", directed by Tony Richardson who was later to become one of the big names in British film.

Apparently the movie wasn't popular in America when it was released, and I'm not surprised as the main actors were not good looking, the setting bleak, and the ending - far from happy.

"A Taste of Honey" was a "kitchen sink" film - a new genre at the time epitomized by social realism, and which often depicted the domestic situations of working-class Britons.

A time when there were no cell phones, no color TV, no Internet, no iPads, when travel by air was a luxury and women were not allowed to fly airplanes in Australia.

I tried to think of what was better back then, and it was hard. What new thing has happened that we in the West at least, were better off without. And the answer, for me at least, is ... celebrity chefs.

The first celebrity chef I didn't like was, and still is, Gordon Ramsey. I used to watch his aptly-named reality TV show "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" when I felt like being annoyed. Watching "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" would take my mind off things I really needed to be annoyed about - like preparing US tax returns, or George Bush. Ramsey yelling at some poor family for daring to have a lousy restaurant that was losing money. Talk about kitchen sink! Talk about nightmares!

Michigan Meals
Now we live in even more enlightened times - we don't have Bush. So I don't need to watch Ramsey anymore thank god.

Still there's Santorum, a possible US presidential candidate who thinks that god created the world in seven days and that all Americans have the right to be unable to have health care. If HE gets in I'll need more than Ramsey to get me up in the mornings.

I'm so not into celebrity chefs. The only one I sort of like is chef Anne. I think it is because she has a boring name and looks a little vague and fey.

Possible second to Ramsey is Jamie Oliver. "Jamie" - it's a child's name. Grown-ups aren't called Jamie! ASIF! Jamie Oliver who called an Australian reporter a "bitch" for asking about his apparent weight gain, when he was visiting Australia this month to promote a healthy food initiative.

Next to Jamie is Anthony Bourdain. I used to quite like watching his TV show, "No Reservations" where he went to different countries and tried out the local cuisines. Who couldn't like a man who ate a raw seal eyeball and an unwashed warthog rectum, and who says the most disgusting thing he has ever eaten is a Chicken McNugget. But when he started to get stuck into other celebrity chefs I became fed up with his boasting ways.

Not content with making money from TV shows and cook books, celebrity chefs are dominating kitchen speciality shops and the kitchenware sections of major department stores. What's the difference between a Wolfgang Puck fry pan and a Gordon Ramsey fry pan? Apart from the fact that they are both most likely made in China?

Still, the way the run-up to the 2012 American elections is panning out, I might surprise myself and start watching Gordon Ramsey again.

Anything to keep me from thinking of a "President Santorum".


chinamonty said...

I didn't like Gordon Ramsey either until I saw his Christmas show when he was cooking with his kids. It was very entertaining. Here he was being a cook rather than a chef (who runs a kitchen full of cooks). I like Jamie's 30 minute meals series but he does get on my nerves at times.

Anonymous said...

Used to like Bourdain, but I find most of the stuff he puts in his mouth pretty disgusting.
Loved "Taste of Honey" when it came out but wasn't aware that it didn't go over well in the U.S. but then, at that time we weren't around a bunch of fuddy duddies as we are now.
There seems to be a malaise in the United States. It shows itself in the reactions older of some people and Conservatives have to Change. The median age of the neighborhood I live in is around 75 and the majority are opposed to Change, but it expresses itself as 'hate' and does not entertain any reasonable discussion of differences of opinion. I can see where the Tea Party gets support. Tom Friedman have some good strokes to Oz and EnZed in his article on Elephants Down Under. Pity us Yanks can't follow their lead and have a parliamentary system.

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