We watched the recent “Masterchef – Back to Win” TV series because it’s fun watching “home cooks” trying to create modern Gordon Ramsay-style meals in 45 minutes. Some of the meals looked interesting, even good enough that I would try them out if I had a chance and didn’t have to pay $200 for a meal at some fru-fru restaurant.
It comes down to this: my mother and grandmother cooked midwestern-style and southern-style food the way those dishes were prepared in the 1940s and 1950s in home economics courses or as presented in cookbooks like the Joy of Cooking.
- Among other things, this means that a meal was composed of various elements that were placed separately on the plate rather than as something called a “dish” in which the elements are placed in an artistically assembled thing that’s viewed as one item–meaning stuff is piled top of each other.
- I generally refuse to eat rare meat even though Ramsay and the other judges consider anything cooked longer than rare to be ruined. I don’t know when rare became the default cooking level when, to me, it’s basically still raw.
- Whatever I order, I don’t want it placed on top of or next to some horrid-looking puree. This stuff looks (and tastes) like wallpaper paste and makes me want to pass a law that blenders cannot be used in food preparation.
- If I order meat and asparagus, I don’t want the meat sitting on top of the asparagus. Why the hell would I want each bite of steak to include a piece of asparagus on the fork?
- I love potatoes, grits, and other starchy stuff, but definitely don’t want it piled on top of the meat.
- I also don’t want a handful of mixed greens thrown on top of the whole shebang and called a salad. Sautéd arugula is not a salad.
- Random crap strewn around the plate (connected by colorful smears of puree) and called a garnish and/or an artistic presentation of the “dish” is horse hockey. Place the stuff in small serving dishes so those who want it can dump it on their entrées.
- I believe that if chefs want to ruin food they should do it in the privacy of their own homes rather than serving it to others as something special for $200 a plate.
I know I’m out of sync with the kind of meals that TV’s Masterchef and Hell’s Kitchen promote, but I like what I like and would rather have a sack of Louisiana chicken and dirty rice from Popeye’s than the swill I see on these purported upper-crust cooking shows.