Lately, for the past few years, or longer, the whole ”nose to tail” eco~wave has reached a veritable crescendo. I’m not talking about a Green Day concert here either, just the entire “embrace of the PIG” has gone completely overboard. Sustainable cuisine (took that class at the CIA in 1996!) farmed raised & seasonality, is all fine and good. It’s also how our ancestors had to live. Grow your own fruits & vegetables, raise cows, pigs, chickens. So, it’s really not anything new. Nothing in the food world is ever really “new”. Go back and read MaCuisine by Escoffier, or Lady Sarah Lindsay’s Choice Recipes from 1889. You’ll soon discover that most of what is being done today, was done 200 years ago, or longer.
On to the Pig! Now I love crispy bacon, pancetta ..blah blah blah as much as the next person, I just think its been “cooked” to death. Bacon shoved down our throats in every possible way imaginable. Candied, dipped in chocolate, in ice cream, on donuts, in martinis, on popcorn, and god knows how many other inane ways its being showcased. Really people, its time to stop the madness.
I long for the days of a simple & absolutely delightful BLT. Yup. On toasted white bread. Please cut my crusts off, thank you. Nice smear of Hellman’s or Best Foods Mayo, crisp iceberg lettuce, garden tomato, 4 or 5 slices of Oscar Meyer Center Cut bacon. Nirvana. To guild the lily when you can, some tender pieces of butter poached maine lobster. Period. Heaven.
Back to my original train of thought, one of the newest “crazes” coming from the ever-present pig, is crispy pig tails. Has nothing to do with hair, though I fervently hope it’s a fad that dies out fast. We are getting close to having nothing left of the pig to tout. Ears, snouts, belly, bacon, now tails…Though I believe Laura Ingalls Wilder might have been the first to immortalize crispy pigs tail in prose in her book, Little House in The Big Woods, where she and Mary were given the pig’s tail on a stick to roast in the fire (she burned her finger in her excitement and haste) and enjoy, as there would not be another one until the next year when they butchered the hog, known today as a domesticated pig. Somehow me thinks, Hogs Tails or Crispy Hogs ears, might not fly on to many LA menus.
How come none of these new young chefs never seem to showcase a fresh ham,which in itself is an absolute wonder. Properly cooked that is. Or a classically made headcheese.
I think what im most peeved about, is that most new young chefs today, by that I mean anyone under 30, has no idea what is to “earn your stripes”. Toil in a kitchen. Apprentice for a European asshole who demeans you daily, and makes you not only a better chef, but a better person for it. Peel 100 pounds of carrots in to perfect, tourenous. Make a classic terrine. A Ballontine, all this nose to tail bullshit, we called it ” Charceutirie”.
I learned to kill a chicken, clean fresh cows tounge, gut a live kicking fish. Id love to know if any young chef today even knows what the 5 mother sauces are. It’s too “easy’ these days for young chefs, they buy a food truck or do a “pop up”for a few weeks and bang, they are on the chart. Doesnt mean they have talent, some have $$ behind them, or whore themselves out to silly TV food shows, doesn’t mean they can cook.
No, I hope the food world regains its senses, and soon. Where chefs who have worked and loved and have passion for their craft get the respect, not some ass wipe who can make a foam or dried out greasy fried chicken from a truck, all because they have a huge Twitter or Facebook following. May the humble pig, slowly go back to the farm and may Green Day always rock on.