The Waitrose supermarket chain in Britain recently marked the 100th issue of its Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine by listing the 10 Least Glorious Moments in Food History.
The Least Glorious Moment in Food History was the invention of margarine in 1869, says the magazine. Rounding out the Top 10 were the inventions or introductions of the following:
• cheesesteak (yes, they mean the Philly favorite)
• Kentucky Fried Chicken
• Lymeswold cheese
• the "ploughman's lunch"
• pot noodles (better known as "ramen noodles" in the U.S.)
• monosodium glutamate ("MSG")
• deep-fried Mars bars
A couple of these are obviously particular to Britain and largely unknown in the U.S. Lymeswold cheese, for instance, is an industrial cheese similar to brie that was invented in the early 60s to use up excess dairy production. The ploughman's lunch is a prefab cheese/ bread/salad combo meal that is the poor bloke's traditional pub food order. As for quiche, maybe it's inclusion is a reflection of British disdain for anything French.
Anyway, the Scotsman, a Scottish newpaper, asked a local culinary expert, Chris Law, head chef at Glasgow's Baby Grand restaurant, to suggest ways to improve some of Waitrose's 10 Foods from Hell. Here are some of his comments, which might provide some inspiration for onsite chefs looking for "something completely different":
Pot Noodle—"Serve them as they are, but make them tastier and more palatable by serving with cooked scallops or king prawns with a little ginger and chili."
Kentucky Fried Chicken—"Lose the fries and serve them with home-made mango salsa or a home-made sweet chili sauce. Serve with freshly tossed cucumber and tomato salad."
Spam—"Cut it into slices and gently grill, like a traditional gammon steak [a kind of ham steak]. I would top it with a fried egg and a slice of pineapple with homemade chips on the side or sliced potatoes."
Deep-Fried Mars Bars—"I would freeze Mars bars before cutting them into bite-sized chunks and deep-frying them in a nice tempura. Instead of a heavy chip-shop batter, this coating will be really light and crispy. Top with chocolate sauce and then serve with vanilla whipped cream."
ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID CLARK