To thine own self be true

Don’t mess with the classics

Posted by Polonius on 23 September, 2006

There’s a saying “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” (A little googling suggests it may be due to Douglas Bader.) The trouble with this lies in the word “wise”. The saying could be written “…the guidance of those who understand the reasons behind the rules.” The wisdom lies in knowing whether or not you do understand those reasons.

I’ve made my views clear on the subject of fashion elsewhere. Sadly, food is not immune to the hazards of fashion. Fashion victims can ruin classic recipes without even knowing that they don’t understand what they’re doing. The Caesar salad is a little piece of culinary magic. The magic is in the melding of a few none-too-subtle ingredients to result in a unique flavour that bears no resemblance to any of its parts. It only works if the ingredients are cut up small and thoroughly mixed. I’ve just had a Caesar salad garnished with half anchovy fillets and parmesan shavings the size of a postage stamp. It doesn’t work that way! Don’t change what you don’t understand!


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