Food in Phrase and Fable

After my recent article R is for Rum, my friend Ian I and I exchanged a few emails about phrases in the English language which are food related. My dealings with Ian go back to when he was Clerk to one of Scotland’s major licensing boards. Many of you will know that I was once…

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R is for … Rum

Given the Caribbean theme, today’s subject for the Food Alphabetical shouldn’t have been too hard to guess. In Barbados, where we visited before Christmas, rum is still a very important part of the Bajan economy. Although rum is now made world wide, many connoisseurs still believe that the finest stuff comes from the West Indies.…

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Tom and Lesley Eat a Lot in Barbados

Ravi Shankar Melting pot. It’s a lazy phrase, one used far too easily by people from a predominantly white skinned country. Want a melting pot? Consider our own history. Picts, Scots (from Ireland), Angles, Saxons, Danes and Vikings. And that’s before you get to the Norman Conquest over 1000 years ago, and everything that’s followed…

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At Christmas We Feast by Annie Gray

Christmas. Less than three weeks to go. In which camp would you place yourself? The come all ye faithful, let’s get carolling, gingerbread and spice, let it snow brigade? Or the not again, ridiculously over commercialised, well really it’s only for the kids, bah humbug camp? Either way I suspect that come the big day,…

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Salmon – Are You Sure?

In Britain, we eat a million portions of salmon every day. It is the second biggest Scottish export after whisky. And virtually all of these million portions will be farmed salmon. Wild salmon is no longer fished commercially anywhere in the UK. Most salmon rivers now require anglers to return fish to the water after…

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Q is for…Quite a Few Things

Well, not much choice for today’s instalment of the Food Alphabetical. The Larousse Gastronomique devotes only six pages to the Qs, and two of these are on quail. A lovely bird, if a bit tricky to cook well. Perhaps for another day. Let’s consider some alternatives. Q is for…Quorn Not in this blog it’s not.…

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We Celebrate A Food Hero

First impressions can be important. Let’s take a reaction test. Loganberry Yum! Large luscious fruit. A thornless bush. What’s not to love? Genetic modification I’m hearing a lot of Boo! Hiss! Nasty Monsanto! Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (MSS) I can hear a pin drop. You’ve never heard of him, have you? No, neither had I till…

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Ultra-Processed – Ultra Scary?

For as long as I can remember, there have been food scares. Eat x, we are told, and you’ll get cancer or high cholesterol or have a heart attack. These things went in cycles, and were usually debunked fairly shortly thereafter. Milk, potatoes and eggs have all come in for the treatment. In recent times, however,…

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Why Chopsticks?

I seldom go out for Chinese food these days. It doesn’t really work for me unless you have a decent sized group who can share a wide variety of dishes. For that reason I hadn’t used chopsticks for a good while until our recent trip to Japan. No great hardship – it’s like riding a…

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Chef Watch featuring Brian Grigor of eòrna, Edinburgh

    Chef Watch Featuring Brian Grigor Chef/Owner, eòrna restaurant, Edinburgh       How long have you been a chef? Just over 25 years now. Why did you become a chef? I started washing the dishes at the local hotel while I was going through the process of starting an apprenticeship in joinery. One…

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Enjoy A Glass of Wine? Why Not Have 40? Or 85?

I recently lost a wonderful friend who in his heyday was wont to say, 1 bottle good, 2 bottles better. And if you enjoy a glass of wine, why not 85, as recommended by Decanter? To clarify, that is their recommendation for the maximum number of wines that a taster should sample in a single…

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In Japan S is for Soya

Don’t be confused with the Tom’s Food! alphabetical. Yes, I know we haven’t done Q or R yet. When we get to S, we may do sprouts or succotash or some such, but that won’t be for a while yet. We are in Japan, where S is undoubtedly for soya. With every day that passed…

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Japan: Some Initial Food Thoughts

Sushi Tokyo Fish Market Some of you who noted the absence of Tom’s Food! these past few weeks may have been labouring under the impression that I was on holiday. As if! Those who follow me on social media will have known that L and I have been in Japan, researching frantically to keep these columns…

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French Food is the World’s Finest? Discuss

The only food magazine to which I subscribe is delicious. While the adjective is one I do my best to avoid in Tom Eats! columns, I very much enjoy the periodical, with a good range of columnists and recipes. It is enthusiastic and entertaining without being condescending or patronising. The September issue was dedicated to France, and contained…

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Coffee Overtakes Tea in the UK

 According to a report in The Times  this week, coffee has overtaken tea as Britain’s favourite drink. I wasn’t entirely blown away by the statistical evidence which was quoted. To say, as the article does, that shoppers bought more than 533 million packs of coffee compared to 287 million packs of tea, is meaningless. From a…

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Can’t Cook? Can’t Even Boil An Egg

Can’t even boil an egg. The ultimate culinary put down. But why, one wonders? Can’t even make toast, or can’t even open a tin might surely be more damning. The topic came up the other day in The Knowledge, a daily newsletter which has interesting features on politics, society, arts and miscellaneous trivia. Twenty years…

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The Pepperpot Diaries; Rice Table; Upgrade

Confused by the title? Well, come and have a look at my (overflowing) book shelves. For a good number of years I tried to operate a one in, one out policy when it came to cookery books. Now, however, I can’t think of a single one in my collection I could bear to part with.…

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How Well Do You Treat Your Suppliers? A Fine Tale for August

Tina and Ross Coventry While I’m thinking about the food and drink industry in particular, it’s quite a wide ranging question to anyone who is in business. The butchers, bakers and wholesale merchants who supply the food that you cook or sell on; the fishermen and farmers who labour, often in arduous and dangerous conditions,…

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Restaurants: When Will There Be Good News?

Boarded up restaurant

It seems to be a gloomy day. I’m not just referring to wildfires and strikes and global warming. On one of this column’s favourite subjects, restaurants, the news seems to be worse than usual. Now I’m not shedding any tears over the impending closure of Noma. Rene Redzepi has declared that the model for his…

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The Air Fryer Chronicles Part 1

Air Fryers. Didn’t have one; didn’t have a view for or against, though a few friends are keen devotees. Life changed last week in the shape of a large box as a  birthday present. Indian giving, possibly. Anyway, have beast, will fry. For experiment 1 below, I had no clue what to do and nothing…

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What’s In A Name? I’ll Drink To That

Dionysus NOT Dionysios Dionysios, I said to myself. Are you sure? Is it not Dionysus? Sad, I suppose, that the idea for a column can materialise when you’re taking your best girl out for a hot date. Early evening at the flickers followed by some leftover chicken stew. Don’t tell me that I can’t show…

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Strange Culinary Things At Galungan

A question I’m commonly asked relates to unusual foods which I’ve consumed over the years. People are usually expecting tales from far flung places, involving Johnny Foreigner and his more disgusting habits. Well, it’s not just charity which begins at home. Try, as I have done, describing haggis to a busload of 50 non Scottish…

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