Sunday, 16 November 2008

On the gravy train

The British have a long and distinguished history in all things gastronomic.

No, you're right, I can't even type that with a straight face.

The combination of a northern European climate together with a robust approach to carbohydrates means that Britain hasn't, in the past, approached the giddy heights of those pesky continentals when it comes to cuisine.

In recent years this has changed, however - in fact, you only need to see how popular food and cooking are in the TV schedules to see evidence of this evolution. I will regularly eat meals cooked here at home by Katie that would have been alien to my grandparents.

It's a similar story if you choose to eat out. Where once the height of sophistication was a well-done steak at a Berni Inn washed down by half-a-bottle of Blue Nun, we now have a potential embarrassment of riches to choose from. And this is a good thing.

However it does have a potential downside, in that everyone seems to think that they're Marco Pierre White.

Take today, for example. Katie and I went to Stratford on Avon, for a general pootle around and to get Sunday lunch. It was a chilly autumnal day and we were ready for some comfort food. This was precisely the sort of situation where classic British was exactly the style we were after. And Lamb's, on Sheep Street (see what they did there?) delivered beautifully. Simple food, great ingredients, cooked superbly.

I ended up with the ribeye of beef, roast veggies and Yorkshire pud. I gazed in anticipation at the lovely pink meat and reached for the horseradish. The waiter returned to my table with a white china jug, and used five words that chilled me to the bone.

"Here's some extra jus, sir."

Jus? JUS?

W, and, I might add, TF?

It looked like gravy, smelled like gravy, and wouldn't you know, it was gravy. It would still be alien to my grandparents - mainly because my grandmother, bless her, made gravy that didn't move very much when you touched it - but it was, nevertheless, gravy.

Not sauce, not roux. And certainly not jus.


Le laquet said...

Did you not say "oh you mean the gravy you pretentious arse"? Mind you I'd have been too busy dribbling onto the ribeye of beef.

Lisa said...

I don't care what they call it, I love it regardless!

City Girl said...

au jus + roux = gravy

rashbre said...

We used to look out for menus with jus. More recently they have been overtaken by - er - gravy as part of the C3 credit crunch cuisine.

Bangers and mash, anyone?



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