Wednesday, 22 October 2008

What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a food manufacturer in possession of a hot new line must be in want of a fresh supply of marketing ideas.

Which is why, sooner or later, he’ll bring it out in Tandoori flavour.

If you don’t believe me, take a stroll round your local superstore. You’ll see Tandoori Pizza, Tandoori flavour Pasta sauce, Tandoori sausages, All-American Tandoori flavor [sic] potato skins, Tandoori style Peking duck, (honest – I’ve seen it, packaged with pancakes and ‘genuine’ spring onions,) Tandoori kebabs, complete with pitta bread doing nan impressions, racks of Tandoori ribs, a whole raft of Tandoori-flavoured nibbles, and so on etcetera.

Even the humble takeaway chicken sandwich can’t escape the statutory tandoorification. And more often than not it comes accompanied by the fashionable but markedly non-Indian ‘oven-roast’ (how else do you do it?) vegetables. With a dollop of fromage frais atop and wrapped in a tortilla. (Whatever happened to Hovis?) Ethnically confusing, but delicious.

So - you name it, and with the possible exceptions of sushi, which really would be a culinary paradox; jellied eels, which really would be revolting; and bagels, which might invoke the attentions of the Race Relations Board, some bright spark, with an insouciant disregard for theoretical ethnic pedigrees, will have smothered it in the spices of the Orient and flogged it to Tescos. Harry Ramsdens are probably road-testing Tandoori cod’n’chips as we speak, (and what are mushy peas, if not dhal with a Yorkshire accent,) I’m expecting Tandoori Yoghurt any minute, Tandoori Ripple is only a matter of time, and even that nice Mr Kipling has been spotted lurking around the Indian spice shops in Tooting High Street. And he ain’t about to make cinnamon buns.

Of course, it’s not just a Tandoori thing. Gastronomic cross-breeding has become part of our way of life. You can buy almost any ethnic foodstuff you like, and quite a few of our indigenous dishes, dressed up in the national colours of almost every other cuisine or discipline you can think of. Add to all this the considerable influence that fad, fashion, fancy and foodies have had on the range of comestibles on offer in our shops and restaurants, and almost anything becomes possible.

So – my highly-tuned nose having sniffed out a gap in the market, I feel a caff coming on. I’m going to call it “Uncle Phil’s Multicultural Cuisine-u-like” or something equally snappy. Here are some sample menus:

Swiss muesli, with organic Greek goats milk and genuine Canadian Maple syrup. (Hoi-sin sauce optional).

Sweet ‘n’ sour Kipper blinis

Eggs various, served with piri-piri , garlic butter, satay sauce, or tiramisu


Pizza Cosmopolitana, either Deep Pan or Thin ‘n’ Crispy ( sorry folks – I don’t know the Italian for either of these terms) from a build-it-yourself smorgasbord groaning with hundreds of delicious ‘morning-fresh’ fillings and flavourings, including deep-fried seaweed, rollmops, lemongrass, whelks, vintage Marmite, bacalhao, crystallised pineapple, ackee, gravad lax, sauerkraut, pemmican, smoked haddock (non-dyed, naturlich ), Mortadella (no, sorry – that’s Italian – we can’t allow that), Thai-style Cumberland sausage, California raisins marinaded in chilli and garlic, goose khorma, quails eggs in ginger & spring onion, aromatic crispy saltbeef, barbecued grapefruit segments, Cajun fricasseed whitebait, prune and pine nut tempura, strawberry raitha, anchovy and blackcurrant pesto, quenelles of goat’s thigh topped with feta cheese, sun-dried ostrich steaklets, squid and pistachio passata, kiwi fruit & wasabi coulis, shiitake mushrooms in balsamic vinegar, baby beetroot in brandy, and of course that old favourite, tandoori gefillte fish

Sorry – somehow I don’t feel up to doing dinner. If you’re still hungry please avail yourselves of the leftovers from lunch. On the House.

Failing that, I suppose I could always take the battle to the enemy and open a Mexican takeaway in Beijing. “You likee tly unworthy tortirra ? Rotsa derricious orfentic firrings. Rancashire Hotpot, Gleek Kreftiko with flesh Coliander, Tandooli……………..?”

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