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Thread: How the World Sees England

  1. #31

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    Well, like I said, I didn't watch it. I did read what you wrote, but I can't help it, I don't expect to be receiving a history lesson when I watch these programmes. Nor did I sit there fuming at Keith Floyd for being a colonial English cunt when he came to Wales in 1989 and took the piss.

  2. #32

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    though thanks for making it clearer to me who the audience for these sorts of programs is.
    You're welcome.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubberdingyrapids View Post
    did you even read what i wrote? i said they should know something about the subject. ie the food, its history, etc. its not expecting too much. food is meant to be their specialised subject. i accept every chef cant know about every cuisine but if they dont, get one who does. its not a difficult concept to grasp.
    I see your point here, but it's more a feature of modern documentary making than British cultural colonialism, isn't it? You can't just have someone telling you about something they know a lot about, you have to have James May asking them blokey questions about it and then frowning in concentration when they answer.

  4. #34

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    I hate that sort of programme, but (previously, anyway) Stein hasn't made that kind of thing.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    So what exactly do you have to do to prove that you "really like" Indian food, then?
    My Rick Stein Eastern Odyssey cookbook and an exquisite curry I had at one of his places in Padstow, which I've no doubt he laboured over himself, suggest he does really like Indian food.

    What makes this rubber dinghy bloke a pan-cultural panjandrum? Absolutely fuck all, I bet.
    Last edited by HMGovt; 08-02-2016 at 05:01 PM. Reason: questionable

  6. #36

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    I just think that his post revealed more about how he views the English than, say, the rest of the world does. And it seemed a bit cruel dragging poor old Rick Stein into it, as if it's remotely comparable to Sue Perkins on the Mekong river or Stephen Fry in America or something. If the English have got anything to be embarrassed about it's Fry, but everyone loves him. At least Stein knows a lot about fish and can write good recipes for them.
    Last edited by craner; 08-02-2016 at 05:16 PM.

  7. #37

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    I guess Michael Palin started all that off, didn't he?

  8. #38
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    I quite like Rick Stein, and his curry recipes look pretty decent to me, but it's hard to deny he does sound like a bit of a knob during some of this programme ('it goes without saying that not everyone from the East India Company was liked by the Bengalis'):

    [enhanced here by making him sound like a hobbit]

    it's not that he's particularly bad, it's more symptomatic of a format that does attempt to explain history at the same time as cookery, but does so in such a cursory way that it can only come off as staggeringly ill-conceived. Better if they just sidestepped history and politics altogether, if they're going to get a white English chef to present the programme.

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubberdingyrapids View Post
    confidence+stupidity=lethal combination.
    Reminds me of some solid advice from Mark Twain: "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."

  10. #40

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    Yes, I agree with all of that (even though I still haven't seen the programme in question, but seen enough Stein stuff to get the drift) but I would only say your measured assessment makes a fundamentally different point to the original one made by Rubber Dinghy. That's the shit group think of current BBC documentary making that reduces everything to pseudo-dramaturgy and glib sound-bites: it's the idea that history has to be sold to a uneducated audience either through established historians or art critics debasing themselves or unleashing some idiot former Footlights performer or unfunny Comedy Club twat on an interesting part of the world.

    Now that technique and style has polluted the cookery programmes, too; bit that's not Stein's fault, and however much of a knob he is (and he's just a bit of a knob, he's pretty good otherwise) he is a good food writer and a decorated chef. There's nothing fundamentally stupid about his programmes, or unwarranted in their commissioning.

  11. #41

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    That was a reply to Baboon, by the way.

  12. #42

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    Presumably if Atul Kochhar had made the same programme, then, it would've been alright?

  13. #43

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    The reason I wrote that was not necessarily to bait Baboon on his deployment of the category "white" but to make the point that I've seen Stein's programmes where he travels around cooking and he's invariably booked in to meet local top chefs and they never respond to him as if he's some bastard colonial invader come to steal their recipes, but always as an equal top chef. They just treat him like another talented human being in their field. That's the most important thing for them. Floyd got much more shit from Gaulish dragons in provincial kitchens in 1987 for trying to cook local peasant food, but nobody could claim that it had anything to do with colonialism.

  14. #44
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    If historical accuracy is the aim, then surely an English Chef in India should be taking their food away, not learning how to cook it?

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Presumably if Atul Kochhar had made the same programme, then, it would've been alright?
    The script would surely have been changed to something much less boisterously colonial in the absence of a white British presenter (and yeah, I think whiteness is important here) ... so, yep, it would have probably been better. Plus it'd likely have been more informative if presented by someone who actually lived in India for decades.

    [I didn't see this bit int he show, but from a review I just found - "Stirring the odd drizzle of Indian history into the mix, Stein dutifully acknowledged the profound poverty in Kolkata and much of Bengal, even if some of his remarks at other points – about 'all the happy cheerful people' in India and never feeling threatened there “because everyone’s just getting on with life” – weren’t exactly out of the post-colonial handbook." !!]

    But we're both in agreement that it's not necessarily Stein's fault that he's given such ludicrous stuff to read. And I'm sure the other chefs do treat him with respect, because that's his field of expertise. I made one of his recipes tonight in fact, and it was damn good.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 08-02-2016 at 10:18 PM.

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