At this point in my life I don’t feel that I am challenged by life changing choices which leaves me in the fortunate state of having more time to consider a question, that question often being a choice. The downside of this opportunity is in seeing that the offer of a choice can be just so much verbiage. Restaurant menus, displaying a plethora of possibilities, are, on occasion, no more than wish lists. I am becoming unsurprised at being served dishes that bear little or no resemblance to the finely honed description which had seduced me in the first place, to the point that I am fast coming to the conclusion that it may be better to eat before I go out. I remember my producer, in the era when I made advertising films, telling me that “I talked a good commercial” which sadly suggests that my clients did not always get to enjoy the highly polished artistic endeavour, in all its intricate and exciting detail, which I had so tantalisingly suggested would be the case, during the course of numerous meetings so dull that I had slipped seamlessly into a fantasy world, closely resembling a restaurant menu or a political manifesto, where I just said what I thought would keep the punters happy.
Choosing and judging between different examples of mediocrity would seem to be the zeitgeist. Today’s media appears to have a concentration of television programmes, the thrust of which is to offer us the chance to judge the performance of inept people performing ineptly outside of their sphere of competence. Strangely enough, as in politics, we seem to unerringly choose the most bumblingly inept as our favourite, supporting him or her through innumerable prat falls and cockups. Glaringly obvious ability and natural talent are no substitute for glamourous uselessness and endearing self effacement. Ineptness aside, these unlikely competitors gamely struggle through arduous training regimes to achieve very little save for the condemnation or approbation of the viewers, a bunch of flowers and the chance to undergo a raft of similar humiliations in the future. As with a high proportion of politicians, the money and the “celebrity”status would seem to be enough to ensure a never ending queue of volunteers for us to deride, dismiss or favour at our pleasure. The TV has become the village stocks or the cucking stool ( I’m sure it should be ducking, but Stephen Fry says “cucking”, so cucking it is). The whole thing is a good example of how well democracy works. You get what most of you ask for even if the description of the dish bears little resemblance to the disappointing mess of pottage that is in fact before you. If you don’t know what “fromage de tete” is, and you order it all the same, you stand every chance of not getting what you had hoped for. If you think you know what “fromage de tete” is, and it turns out not to have cheese and not to be obviously a head, you may well feel cheated and/or disappointed. Maybe you just ordered it because it was in French and sounded right, or you’ve seen it mentioned in reviews of top restaurants so you’re confident that it will be good and that’ll you’ll enjoy it. Or maybe your family have always ordered “fromage de tete” so you’ll do so in your turn More likely you didn’t give a shit what it was so long as the waiter will go away and let you carry on drinking and chatting……who cares what it is, you can always choose something else next time.
Television, food, and politics. Out of all the choices, I’ll take the macaroon. 🙂
Now, you made that choice well:)
Such pretty macarons! I never look at T.V., but I do like that car 🙂
It’s such a cool little car.
My Mother in Law does not like to eat very much when she goes out, she says it gets in the way of her drinking..I very seldom eat out here because the food is crap.. and could you pass the fromage on my tete please? c
That’s funny – I was trying to give up smoking, some 15 years ago, with the help of an Alan Carr recording. At one point he said “Don’t you find eating gets in the way of your smoking” and that’s when I stubbed out my last cigarette. I afraid I’ve stuffed all the fromage into my tete, so none left – or have I now become a tete de fromage?
wipe that fromage off your tete! sorry, for some reason you give me license to behave like an idiot! i am going back out to the barn.. c
Any more of that, and you can stay out there:)
I’ll take the brawn over TV – i keep meaning to make some, but I’m not sure my big pan is big enough for a pig’s head 😦
Get a smaller pig, MD. I sort of guessed that brawn would be right up your alley. I remember eating a really good fromage de tete at Mon Plaisir in Monmouth Street – that would be in the late 70’s. I remember eating so well there. I don’t know if it’s there still, or if it any good if it is.
Wonderful post, Roger. I wonder if the secret of enjoying a meal and, indeed, life, is to have very few preconceptions. That way if you end up in an earthy hovel instead of a castle in the air, well, it’s just another flavour of experience.
Or perhaps that’s all complete twaddle.
Makes sense to me, Kate, although the castle in the air would be nice.
Roger, I almost feel like suggesting you rename your column the ‘Miss C and Mr R badinage’ – darn it, who has the temerity to try and equal [never mind ‘top’] you two!!!!
Mmmm.. are those pink lemonade macarons? I’d love to read your description of them:) You do have a gift with words and I’ve never thought you didn’t back up your “talking a good commercial” with a real dose of reality. There’s always something delightful to read and gorgeous food to admire!
“The TV has become the village stocks . . .” Oh, so true, especially with all the “reality” programs.
It’s extraordinary how a vast swathe of the public enjoys watching people being humiliated.
The image of the macaroon stopped me in my tracks! LOVE it!
They’ve got a metallic look – I couldn’t resist them:)
Thanks for this post! Yes, I wonder if today we really have a “food democracy”…
Too many people without any food for that to happen.
Great post, Roger! I love these rants 😉
Gotta keep ranting:)
Oh, to have those macaroons….
They were good – all of them:)
One can never underestimate the level of mediocrity that exists out there!
Never underestimate the mediocrity of the public.That belief certainly worked for Henry Ford and Macdonalds amongst others:)