Pot au Feu , Coq au Vin, Sup Tulang, Cassoulet, pasta, polenta, confit, —all of them began with the urgent need to make something good and reasonably sustaining out of very little. So many of the French classics began with the need to throw a bunch of stuff into a single pot over the coals, leave it simmering unattended all day while the family worked the fields, hopefully to return to something tasty and filling that would get them through the next day. French cooking, we tend to forget now, was rarely (for the majority of Frenchmen) about the best or the priciest or even the freshest ingredients. It was about taking what little you had or could afford and turning it into something delicious without interfering with the grim necessities of work and survival. The people I’m talking about here didn’t have money—or time to cook. And yet along with similarly pressed Italians, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indians and other hungry innovators around the world, they created many of the enduring great dishes of history.
So the notion that hard working, hard pressed families with little time and slim budgets have to eat crappy, processed food –or that unspeakably, proudly unhealthy “novelty dishes” that come from nowhere but the fevered imaginations of marketing departments are—or should be—the lot of the working poor is nonsense.” —
I agree with Bourdain on this because I’ve also experienced it in traveling and living in different parts of the world. That isn’t to say that poor folks in the US are individually responsible for the societal conditions which have created the US food system and its gastronomical and nutritional degradation. But I know from my time in China that being poor doesn’t mean eating poorly. And when I say “poor”, I’m talking no plumbing or electricity.
When I was a child I spent time living with relatives in China, in a house made of stamped earth, with no plumbing or electricity, next to fields fertilized with night soil, in a village where folks had never ridden in a car or seen a TV and could not possibly imagine a supermarket. And I discovered that poor rural Chinese probably eat better food than many middle-class US Americans. I loved that food. Later on, as a student in rural China as well as Hong Kong, I was able to eat amazing, delicious, nutritious food for nickels and dimes.
Obviously, China has the advantage of thousands of years of accumulated food knowledge; and don’t get me wrong, life is tough in those conditions and I’m not nostalgic for Third World poverty. But the point is that poor people around the world demonstrate ingenious ways of making food work for them, and the US could probably use a few lessons from those food cultures.
This is going to date me, but:
What is up flying rainbow, cat-toasters?
And those poorly drawn cat eyed, demon-people with horns? Sort of like this, but more mangled?
I do like the rainbow vomit.
Guess I’ll go do my research…