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Saturday, 26 July 2008

On Food

Belgian Fries
By Ronald Alonzo
My education in food and wine started with the late Ralph J. Carreño, a founder of Junto; Curt Klus, now of Florida; the Pernod people of France; and things French in general.

Most people don't realise that France didn't develop the French fry - - it was the Belgians, and they were famous for using beef suet, which American crazies changed during a cholesterol panic.

The French cut their potatoes into tiny shoe strings, called a French cut, hence French fry. (In the foodservice trade --- les anglais liked bigger cuts called 'chips'. American potato chips are called crisps in England, of course. C'est la vie, what?)

French cooking took off when Catherine de Medici married a French king, and she found horrid food, and she brought cooks form Florence to teach the French how to make respectable, digestible dishes. Florentine cooking usually includes spinach because Catherine loved spinach.

Wine to the consumer taste was developed by the English: Aquitaine, Bordeaux (claret, they called it), Sherry, amontillado, oloroso, Champagne Brut, Cognac VSOP, and Port. The French let the English pay for the expensive labels.

Modern-day wines, created by University of California at Davis, changed the dynamics of wine around the world. This, to the point where you can get a Cabernet Sauvignon in a blind tasting to taste better than a Grand Cru from Medoc.

Ralph Carreño's famous line was: 'Wine is like a horse race. If we all bet on the same horse there would not be horse racing.'

(Ronald Alonzo is a writer based in Land O Lales, Florida. He can be reached via Writers.Clearinghouse@comcast.net. Subject: Ronald).