I just posted a reply to Toru’s comments about fish ‘n’ chips and the maddening inability to find decent nosh in Britain. I think it’s worth repeating what I commented here as this ‘foreign muck’ series gradually comes to a close – maybe three more posts and that’s yer lot. I’ve interspersed the post with shots taken from Toulouse central covered market, Saint-Aubin Sunday market (Toulouse), Saint-Gaudens weekly market (45 mins from Toulouse) and Tesco Supermarket (UK). “Fish ‘n’ chips is not for everyone. And there’s far more bad fish ‘n’ chips than good. However, I’ve only met a couple of Asian born Asians who liked it (not that you are of Asian descent) – the rest found it repulsive. It is a ‘difficult’ taste to get into. Much like the way I first found Kimchi in S. Korea. However, you’re quite right about the availability of decent fresh fish in Britain. For an island nation it’s shocking, but also indicative of what has happened to Britain’s food supply in general since the 1970’s.
Supermarkets have taken the simple freedom to taste away from the British consumer. Most Brits do not know what veggies, meat, fish and fruit should taste like anymore. What they are being sold looks fab, but tastes of sod all.
As I always say to folk who go to Britain. There is great food in Britain, but unless you know where to go (and also when – food is seasonal after all. Although how many Brits still realise that I do not know) you will not find it. Whereas in France, Vietnam, Japan… you don’t have to hunt for a decent meal or ingredients.
The ‘disappearance of taste’ from British food is a fascinating topic. This extract from Joanna Blythman’s scarily accurate book, Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets says it far better than I can.
On a more positive note. The mini-boom in organic delivery services and slow growing interest in organisations like Slowfood is helping redress the trend towards crap. I have my reservations about the growth in Farmer’s markets in the UK – sterile and dull was my recent experience, but the fact that they are happening is also a step in the right direction.
Don’t mean to harp on, but it’s a topic I am keenly interested in. TBH, if I hadn’t spent so much time out of the UK – and experienced many different tastes – I probably wouldn’t question what I was buying either. The Brits ‘musn’t grumble’ attitude explains a lot – we’ll put up with any old shit :))”