Remember the days when the whole family would sit together at the dining table sharing a delicious meal, talking animatedly about the day they’d had and just enjoying each other’s company?
Me neither. When I was a kid, we did share meals - and delicious scratch-cooked ones at that - but it was invariably around the TV rather than the dining table (in fact, I recall with dread the visits to friends’ houses where that wasn’t the case). So the premise of the latest Food & Drink (BBC2, 8.30pm, 10 February) - that sitting around the dining table was once part of daily routine - didn’t ring true for me. Neither did the suggestion we might be able to turn back the clock by dishing up the sort of meals on offer here.
Chicken and ham pie maybe, but chicken, ham and crayfish pie? That sounds more like dinner party than family tea-time fare to me - especially when 12 crayfish cost roughly the same as a lobster.
Unfortunately, street foodie Andy Bates’ plea to “stop putting the dining table on a pedestal” was a lone voice of dissent in the rose-tinted debate. And what was with Michel Roux Jr’s pet hatred of double dipping? Not terribly desirable at a dinner party perhaps, but among friends and family? It certainly didn’t seem to bother Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy as he tried a Korean meal, the latest food-sharing craze to hit Britain, and happily ate straight from the same bowl as others.
That said, who wouldn’t like the British ‘tapas’ Roux Jr whipped up - mini scotch eggs, a baked Tunworth, and pea and mint soup? It’s just a shame these aren’t the dishes to magically resurrect a tradition that many families never had - or would want to have.