Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The British version- B2 + level

For English classes via Skype, Contact Lisa by email lis.j.grant@gmail.com or Whatsapp 0034645424237.


Food Crimes

Apparently, when pizza was first introduced to Britain in the 1950's, it was sold as "Italian Welsh rarebit", for those of you that don't know what that is... It's basically toasted bread with melted cheese. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/welsh_rarebit_05821  The British are, contrary to popular belief, quite open-minded when it comes to food and they will try anything with an exotically "foreign" name. So why do we adapt foreign food to look like our everyday cuisine? It's understandable that those who have visited Britain from far and wide are horrified to discover what's been done to their food!

Anyone who has sat through a discussion between two Spanish people about whether or not you should put onion in tortilla might think that this is just the pickiness of a nation who, sadly, lack the iron-stomached British ability to eat absolutely anything. However, it soon becomes clear that he has a point.
Paella in a bag might be convenient, if convenience is the important issue here, but paella in a sandwich?

Even Francis Drake would have called that an unnecessary provocation, even if it was invented as a riposte to the equally delicious-sounding lasagne sandwich. Ruiz reserves most of his ire, though, for the indiscriminate use of chorizo in supermarket "Spanish" dishes. It has long upset many Valencians that Jamie Oliver recommends putting chorizo in paella (it makes the rice turn orange), so you can imagine how Ruiz feels about chorizo soup or the even more inventive "chorizo with waffles". "There hasn't been a Belgian-Spanish conflict like it," he says, "since the last War of Flanders."

But it's not just Spanish food that's been given this treatment. Indian food expert Nisha Katona, who is about to open her first restaurant in Liverpool, says: "I spend my life in a state of grimace at the nuclear slop they call curry." Among other terrible "fusion" cuisines, she lists "cheddar cheese saag paneer", fruit cocktail korma and, best of all, chicken tikka-flavoured Blackpool rock. (this is a stick shaped boiled sweet).

The Italians still haven't resigned themselves to the rest of the world's version of pizza, but MasterChef finalist and York-based restaurateur Sara Danesin Medio, says that, for her: "The horror story starts with spaghetti in a tin." Even worse is the misappropriation of words to mean something entirely different. "Pepperoni," she points out, "is actually peppers. Not spicy salami." Luckily, she doesn't seem to be aware of the existence of the lasagne sandwich.

You might think that newer culinary arrivals on British shores would be immune to such "innovations" but Robert Ortiz, head chef at London's Lima restaurant, claims to have witnessed ceviche made using vinegar, mayonnaise and, "possibly the worst, ketchup". However, it's not just the British who do this kind of thing. Caroline Bennett, who introduced the first Kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi restaurant to the UK, Moshi-Moshi, remembers seeing "strawberries and cream cheese" on pizza when she lived in Japan. "So, when foreigners do similar things to their food it only seems fair," she says.

In fact these so-called "atrocities" against food are pretty encouraging. Anyone trying to export food from Spain must be pleased that British supermarkets believe that the word "Spanish" can help flog everything from sandwiches, to soup, quiche and even waffles (although the Belgians might not be so happy about the last one). There's a lot more affection in Europe for different cultures than certain newspapers would have you believe. Seen anything criminal of a culinary nature?

This article has been adapted from the guardian, to suit B2 level learners.
Source: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/sep/01/britain-crimes-against-foreign-food

Vocabulary builder:

pickiness; (noun) fussy, choosy.

ire; (noun) anger; wrath.

riposte; (noun) to retort quickly; to make a return thrust. a retaliatory action.

grimace; (noun) a sharp contortion of the face expressive of pain; contempt or disgust.

slop; (noun) soft mud or slush. unappetizing watery food. 

misappropriation; (noun) to appropriate wrongly; to use illegally.

atrocities; (noun, pl) appalling or atrocious condition, quality, or behavior; an appalling atrocious act of unusual or illegal cruelty; behaviour or an action that is wicked or ruthless.

Questions for students;

Did you find this article interesting? What did you like about it?
How has your country adapted foreign foods to suit the tastes of the locals?
Do you believe that it is an insult to change "foreign dishes"?

For English classes via Skype, Contact Lisa by email lis.j.grant@gmail.com or Whatsapp 0034645424237.

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