egg tempera..ment


Like a sun tanned Humpty Dumpty, I am cracked and broken. As with H.D, I am basically a good egg but fragile. The last few days have provided me with a cogent and flawless argument against the extension of the retirement age from physical labour. On reflection, maybe the flaw in the argument is that it touches more on the dangers of a late entry into physical labour rather than an early exit. I have done both and, of the two, the leaving was far sweeter.

The last few days have afforded me little time for writing or picture making. Lack of these outlets has allowed my mind, numbed with the repetitive dullness of the tasks in hand, to dwell on words remembered: annoying words remembered such as ” …if you drink milk you should be obliged to eat veal” as written by an established food writer in a Twitter conversation on “head to tail” eating. The main thrust of the argument centred on the premise that unless a person is willing to eat every part of an animal, including the offal, that person should not eat any of it”. The patronising morality that lays behind such didacticism is so ridiculously misplaced as to beggar belief. Aside from the fucking outrageousness of such bollocks (and very tasty tidbits they are too), there appears to be no conception that the milk drinker might well like to eat some veal if only he/she had the wherewithal to buy some of the stuff. I am a committed supporter of Fergus Henderson’s mantra but, if my memory serves me right, I saw no one but the well heeled during my many visits to the St.John in Smithfield some 13 years ago. This is no criticism of that or any other of his excellent restaurants, just a statement from my memory. The prime morsels of offal are not eaten by the short of a few bob. What they eat is “meat”. Very often the provenance and  type of “meat”  is uncertain and may well contain many of the pieces of offal that, unaware though they are of the obligation, they should indeed be eating. I am no friend of statistics, but I am fairly sure that the majority of people, at least the majority of those who are lucky enough to have the choice, eat meat out of laziness which is why Ronald’s outfits proliferate, why meat pie producers profit and why pubs are placed close to establishments offering the whirling doner dervish option. The amount of people who are considering, at a butcher’s counter this morning in the UK, whether to have lambs’ brains, calf’s head or sweetbreads for dinner tonight could be counted on the beads of food zealot’s rosary. My delicious spleen is now vented and I shall return to sanding and painting shutters ….after a glass of wine and slice of a very good tart. I’m not risking milk…..


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, Baking, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Digital photography, Emotion, Excellence, Expectation, Farming, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, hypocrisy, Meat, Memory, Photography, photography course, Pie, tart, Uncategorized, Wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to egg tempera..ment

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Ha ha I’d better stay quiet. You know what I eat and that I’m fully prepared to kill it myself.
    Fantastic photographs as always 😉

  2. Misky says:

    Agreed. And photos: perfection. Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

  3. Vicki says:

    Superb photos as always Roger, although the first one is exquisite (in its simplicity) – any photographer, professional or amateur who can photograph a simple subject like a pastry brush in a bowl of egg to perfection, is a great inspiration to my simple brain.

    As to the other question, when still earning a salary and with serious chronic health issues, I researched and worked out the ‘perfect’ diet (for me at that time in my life). It included organic meat, fish, eggs, organic fruit & veg, nuts & seeds. 2 organic steaks, 2 turkey breasts, 2 salmon and one egg (or vegetarian meal) were the norm for the week. My choice, but there’s no way I could kill an animal. I like my meat cut to meal size (ok, maybe the occasional roast chicken or Spring leg of lamb which is a bit larger). Vegetarian or carnivore? Whatever suits you, but I would love to know that my animal food was raised in a happy, healthy environment living as close as possible to its natural habitat and killed in a humane way. I’ve eaten liver, heart, chicken feet, snails, frogs legs, and intestines, but I have to say much of this stuff is far too expensive for my purse.

    Most people wouldn’t buy offal purely and simply because they don’t know how to cook it in Australia and most large Western cities. Many people have a poor diet because they’ve never been taught how to cook. I worked with a lady once, who on her marriage, didn’t know how to boil an egg…….literally. She was the youngest of 5 girls and never learnt to cook.

    Europeans & Asians living in Australia usually come from ancestry that placed great importance on using every piece of the animal they might have killed and with only seasonal produce, learned how to use every piece of the available wild/farmed animal.

    In my opinion, ‘technology’ has killed fresh food. Materialism is partly responsible for the need for both parents to work, so they haven’t the time or energy to cook fresh food. (Although I could always prepare fresh food every night in 20mins if I had to, so don’t understand that they ‘haven’t the time’).

    Today, living on a frugal Disability pension myself, I say… what you can afford. Wild game here in Melbourne costs a fortune. Good clean organic fresh food costs a fortune. Why is the healthiest fresh food expensive and the ‘crappy’ rubbish cheap.

    McD’s & KFC are just too cheap & convenient to ignore…………. (except for someone like me who has lived most of her life on fresh food, cooked from scratch).

  4. lulu says:

    Your mind has done a bit of wandering as you perform your necessary but not so pleasant tasks. As for me, I’ll eat what I choose and, hopefully, know from where it came.

  5. Delicious prose and fabulous photos, as always. There have alays been a few eggcentric people around – not an offal lot you can do about it, and definitely not worth getting your intestines in a twist.

  6. So often I hear some (I think it might be too crass to throw out the “I” word, the one that ends in iot, on your beautifully written page) “person” bandiying about a catch-phrase that they think supports their worldview and make them sound clever, but who has forgotten to actually examine said phrase in detail. Pretty soon one hears it echoing throughout the masses. The oft repeated lie is often taken as truth.

    While I’m sure the same can be said of any subject, I tend to notice it most in subjects I am familiar with, food being one. I’ve heard that particular phrase before, from some young vegan friends. While they weren’t interested in “head to tail,” they used the phrase to condemn the lesser carnivores and misguided vegetarians.

    Frankly, you hit the nail on the head – if one wishes to eat frugally, one is often limited to the basic cuts sold en masse. Stepping into an arena of anything that would be considered a “specialty” cut or a cut that is less popular means you’ll spend more. Even if years ago the said items were considered to be lowly and cheap.

    The tart looks lovely! It seems to me that you may be able to “buy” the labor of friends with a few lunches such as that one!

  7. I really enjoyed this post–both the writing and the photos!

  8. Sally says:

    We all make difficult choices about the food we eat – most of us do the best we can. I used to believe that consumer choice had a bearing and we got what we deserve but increasingly feel that we are powerless in the face of ‘Big Food’. Anything but the choicest cuts are whisked away and presented in ways to animals and humans in ways we cannot image. Keep ranting Roger (was he the lead singer of The Beat?)…. and taking divine photos.

  9. If you’re sanding and painting shutters, you should have at least two slices of tart, Roger………

  10. Francesca says:

    In Australia,we call the folk who make these outrageous pronouncements, wankers. Or fucking wankers. I think I eat very well,I grow most of my own veg, because I can afford to and because I have the time. But to insist that all and sundry eat organic foods ( expensive) or even more annoyingly, biodynamic foods- that is, organic with attached witchcraft, and to sound holy and self righteous about it, makes want to puke. I have said enough. I love your posts, not like them. Enjoy your labours.

  11. Great recipe!I really enjoyed this post–both the writing and the photos!

  12. The painting continues! Best of luck with it. Have another slice or two of that gorgeous pie.

  13. EllaDee says:

    I wouldn’t risk milk either milk given the bastardisation the product has suffered…

  14. karen278 says:

    I am eyeing up that tart, and wondering if it is too early for a glass of wine…….fabulous post, and I have seen your amazing images before, as I was a guest at the Pink Lady Photo Awards! Karen

  15. Well said all in all. I enjoyed this essay from you very much. Lots of “food for thought”. What a lovely tart with those red-red tomatoes. I do believe in the cathartic process of physical labor….and a glass of wine. Happy September.

  16. Sanding and painting–ugh! Hope it’s over soon.
    The photos are sublime.

  17. cecilia says:

    Painting shutters! sigh.. poor you.. but have you chopped all the wood for winter yet? then you will be needing a steak and kidney pie i think.. with a glass of milk.. (kidding about the milk..a robust wine of course) though I have been making a few tomato tart morsels lately too.. c

    • Wood chopping will start next month…Oh joy. Although I do have our new little cat, Molly, to keep me company. She/he lives in the dependance…this is the first time we’ve had a pet who is going to live outside. I hope I can resist the sad kitten looks and keep to our plan:)

  18. Now I want to google who would say if you drink milk you should be obliged to eat veal. They need to be careful not to trip over their pretentiousness. Honestly.

  19. So I googled it and the only reference it brought up was this blog post!

  20. ardysez says:

    Love the vent and the comments and the photos. Having eczema at the moment, from God knows what food now, my body continues to narrow my choices, so I eat what I can and try to be healthy about it, and thoughtful. Mostly I find I have gone back to the food of my Grandparents who grew their own (though I live in the middle of Australia and cannot, I do grow my own citrus and herbs) and also focus on fresh, simple ethnic dishes.

    • That’s a tough call…I have to say that I don’t remember any of my friends, at boarding school in the 50’s, having eczema. I think you’re right about going back to basics …it would be a good idea for everyone…bon courage:)

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