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November 17, 2013

Food Thread -- The classics: They Work For A Good Reason: They Taste Good [CBD]

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The modern conceit among a certain type of food enthusiast is that the quality of the chef's cooking is in direct proportion to the number of piercings and tattoos, and the oddness of hair style. This is demonstrated best in New York and San Francisco, where the newest and hottest chef is invariably a tatted freak who looks as though he (or she) just wandered in from the alley in back after sleeping off an eight-ball and a bottle of Mad Dog.

And of course coupled with his avant-garde looks is a hard-left or anarchist political view, which is manifested not by direct action but by the art on the walls and the comments on the menu.

Sometimes these folks get around to cooking some good stuff, but that's not really the point. It's the edginess of their lives that really means something. Their food is meant as a reflection of their politics and is not an end in and of itself. And needless to say, they carefully discard classic technique and classic recipes, preferring the novelty of odd combinations and even odder technique (molecular gastronomy anyone?).

But occasionally chefs emerge who seem to buck the hip trend...who focus not on themselves but on their food. And more often then not they rely on the tried-and-true techniques of cooking that have been refined over several hundred years. That doesn't mean that they aren't inventive. On the contrary, not having to reinvent the wheel allows these chefs to discover wonderful combinations of technique and ingredients, or refine old ones.

Ashley Christensen's fried chicken is a great example. Classic brine. Classic batter. Classic technique.

No tattoos, no gages, no politics front-and-center....just excellent food. Although....she is extremely involved in one thing...charity work.

Not surprisingly she is Southern to the core, and is part of the reason why the South is eclipsing New York, Chicago and San Francisco as the source for great American cooking.

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posted by Open Blogger at 03:33 PM

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