vrijdag 18 oktober 2013

Mapping Raymond Blanc with Map Your Recipe [more recepimatics]

In the last post I ran 21 recipes of BBC's James Martin through Map your Recipe and exclaimed how surprised I was with the variety of ingredients and their original source. 

This evoked the comment from a reader that UK food is not so much 'open minded' as I said but the result of an imperialist heritage which was anything but open-minded.     

I do not necessarily disagree with pointing to British colonialism as a source of current food diversity in the UK as presented on TV, but I do doubt that imperialism is the only or the most important reason. 

Instead I think that the diversity of the ingredients in Martin's set of 21 recipes is the result of contemporary food culture and its ingrained values of curiosity, experimentalism and, practically, the fact that virtually every ingredient from any place and any cuisine in the world is now for sale everywhere. 

We could argue about this until the microwave explodes but I have come up with an experiment to verify the colonialist-hypothesis. France was one of the great imperialist nations of Europe with colonies in Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia and Oceania. But French cuisine is not known for its eclecticism and the French themselves have never taken up a food habit similar to the UK's fondness for Indian food. 

So I have taken 21 recipes from Raymond Blanc, Frenchman in the UK, presenter of my favourite BBC cooking program. Surely this will show that culture (French chauvinism) not imperialism (England's dreaming) is the defining factor.

Well.... there goes my theory. I still believe that culture not landgrabbing is the key but Raymond Blanc is incorporating the produce of the world with even more enthusiasm than Martin does.

Martin uses 32 ingredients from 9 centres of origin. 

Blanc uses 37 ingredients from 11 centres.
Interestingly, ingredients from Ethiopia (sesame, barley) are entirely absent.

Needless to say this a random selection of recipes and Blanc's nor Martin's food can stand for the general cooking in their respective countries.  

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