Friday, December 06, 2013

Foam

culinary foam... or cuckoo spitMuch as I'm enjoying the current series of Masterchef I nevertheless find myself shaking my head in unpalatable despair at the current trend for flavoursome "foams".

I say current trend but the reality is foams could have been on the menu of high class restaurants for the last 3 years for all I know; I'm not known for patronizing either Le Gavroche or Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons on a regular basis and get funny looks whenever I get sniffy about the size of the bread sticks in Carluccio's. I'm hardly a professional diner.

But Masterchef has brought foams to my attention. Suddenly I have a foam radar and, really, I'm amazed I've got through life so far without ever having one.

I've lost count of how many foams I have now seen on TV.

Foam of quail. Foam of celeriac. Foam of DFS sofa.

Without fail they all resemble cuckoo-spit. Or worse: real proper human spit. A great big gooey lugey that somebody has hawked up onto the plate. For all the customer knows the sous chef has swilled his mouth out with cream of chicken soup, sucked on the cork from a bottle of cheap red wine and then gobbed out the scrapings of his molars all over the dauphinoise potatoes and then charged some poor hapless diner £78 for foam of coq au vin.

The poor diner won't know whether to sip it up with a straw or wipe it down with a napkin. Either way he's as stuffed as Scotch egg. Not so much et tu Brute as et tu veloute.

Is this really the way fine dining is going?

Foams? Essences? Sprays?

Are we going to end up with some hoity-toity overly-superior waiter spraying an aerosol can across our faces and claiming we have just imbibed spray of beluga caviar with a fine jus mist of sea bass and then charging us a four figure sum for the privilege? Couldn't I just save myself a load of money by eating the contents of my bathroom cabinet?

I've got a can of Lynx upstairs... mix that with foam of Bisto and I reckon I've got a meal that would set most people back a few hundred quid. Suddenly Old Spice takes on a different meaning too; I could save a fortune by boycotting Pataks and my curries will be the most fragrant in the street.

Maybe I just ought to let my mouth water more and get onto the gravy train?  After all, I could charge for the steam... I'm sure I could rustle up some foam from somewhere too... something with a very personal touch that'll get your umami taste buds a-tingling.

So anyway, next time you're about town and you see some lowlife spitting onto the pavement, just remember you could be passing up the opportunity for a free meal.

Don't be proud. Hunker down and enjoy.

Heston Blumenthal will be charging £150 for it guaranteed.





24 comments:

libby said...

At last...somebody agrees with me about this hideous monstrosity!

Colin A said...

Foams have been around for a while as has the notion that a spoonful of puree, lovingly smeared across the plate with the back of a spoon, adds value to the meal. I laughed out loud (well, mezzo forte) at the '
Without fail..' paragraph. I am with you on this. We must go out for steak pie and chips together one day.

the fly in the web said...

Having paid a fiver for it in the first place....

Steve said...

Libby: I'm foaming at the mouth!

Colin: that sounds good. Something with proper gravy... none of this jus rubbish!

Steve said...

The fly in the web: money talks... or at the very least spits.

Nana Go-Go said...

I agree also...looks hideous on whatever plate it's on. That Monica gets on my one last nerve - bossy cow!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: have to say I wouldn't mind seeing Monica dressed in a nice foam...

Gorilla Bananas said...

The chefs must be trying to recreate the beer experience, but your beard is doing the talking here. It knows that foam is what it's going to feel before it gets the chop.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: that describes my eating experience at these high-end establishments perfectly.

Marginalia said...

Lynx??? Of historical interest I hope. Such products are designed for spotty teenagers hoping that a quick squirt of the stuff will get the little squirt into his date's knickers.

Frankly all the fussing about on Masterchef leave me cold - as are most of the dishes by the time they've been farted about with.

Steve said...

Marginalia: I can tell you that after a lifetime of clinical trials Lynx definitely does not work. Er... what man-spray do you recommend?

Keith said...

And sand. Have you noticed the like to crumble stuff that looks like dirt on the plate and call it sand ? Someone served Olive sand the other night ? I thought she was from 'On the Buses' !

As an aside on the subject of eating your bathroom cabinet... On 'Only in Kavos' ( the perfect antidote to 'Masterchef' if ever there was one ) we were treated to the sight of lads drinking beer mixed with shower gel and sardines.

How long before that appears on 'Masterchef' ?

Steve said...

Keith: ah yes... sand or as I have also heard it referred to: "soil". Chocolate and giblet soil. Beetroot and apple crumble soil. Special B&Q soil.

Beer, shower gel and sardines is nothing. I look forward to the day when Gordon Ramsay drops a huge turd on a plate and slathers it with his special urine reduction and then charges a fortune for it. The most honest meal you'll ever eat.

Marginalia said...

Steve, my wife goes ape when I wear "Gentleman's Cologne" by Castle Forbes and "feuilles de tabac" by Miller Harris.

Steve said...

Marginalia: she goes ape as in she gets very angry?! Does Gentleman's Cologne bear any relation to gentleman's relish?

Trish Burgess said...

Brilliant post. One of your best.

Just love watching and laughing at Masterchef - all those tiny portions of nothingness. Have you noticed they use the boil-in-a-bag method of cooking. They call this water bath a 'sous vide' , poncy name for something Uncle Ben has been doing for years.

Steve said...

Trish: why thank you. I do my best. Should we ever meet I will treat you to a deep fried Mars bar; proper food.

Nota Bene said...

Oh dear. I'm in a minority of one here. I like the foam...it's generally a sign that the chef has thought about the flavours and this adds a finishing touch. Oh dear. I shall never be able to swallow foam again

Steve said...

Nota Bene: bloody foam eater!

Wait. That doesn't sound right.

Bloody foam sipper!

Licker? Sucker? Drinker?

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

My pet peeve is foam. No need for it, whatever happened to custard or gravy?

Keith said...

Maybe, in honour of Nigella, they should start adding "powder" to their plates.

Or "dust"

That will keep Marjorie Dawes happy.

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: or sauce. You can't go wrong with lots of sauce.

Keith: *snorts*

The Poet Laura-eate said...

This trend has passed me by. Obviously not watching enough TV cook shows. Though I fully share your antipathy to such a ridiculous notion.

Steve said...

Laura: I knew you'd be with me (in spirit, definitely not in foam).