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    God Save la cuisine anglaise!

    (par Vera Murray, L'actualité, 15 avril 1997)

    Si c'est tiède, c'est de la bière, si c'est froid, c'est de la soupe! dit-on de la cuisine britannique. Mais les choses pourraient changer: Delia Smith s'est donné pour mission d'apprendre à ses compatriotes à faire la popote.

    Il y a la nourriture terrestre et celle de l'esprit... En matière de littérature et de théâtre, l'Angleterre reste un pays admirablement bien pourvu et qui ne cesse de se renouveler. Mais quelle punition quand il faut manger anglais (faute de restaurants indien, chinois ou italien à proximité)! Il vaut mieux alors garder l'esprit fixé sur des choses immatérielles et ne pas trop regarder dans son assiette.

    La cuisine anglaise contemporaine a de ces mélanges qui, partout ailleurs – sauf peut-être aux États-Unis –, passeraient pour l'invention d'un cuisinier devenu fou: des jacket potatoes (pommes de terre cuites avec leur peau remplies de thon, de maïs et d'ananas en conserve) ou des pies (tartes salées dont la pâte est trois fois plus épaisse que la farce), qui baignent, tout comme l'accompagnement de pommes de terre frites (obligatoire), dans plusieurs centimètres de gravy, quand ils ne sont pas déposés sur des haricots à la sauce tomate...

    Ce n'est pas que Dieu ne soit pas au courant du problème. Delia Smith, grand manitou de la cuisine en Angleterre (depuis plusieurs années, elle y fait la pluie et le beau temps grâce à une émission de télévision, à la publication de plusieurs livres et à un poste de conseillère auprès de la grande chaîne alimentaire Sainsbury), est une fervente catholique qui va à la messe tous les matins. « J'ai reçu une mission de Dieu: instruire les gens de ce pays dans l'art de mieux manger », déclarait-elle récemment dans une entrevue!

    Delia Smith sait qu'elle a affaire à un public pas très doué aux fourneaux, qui veut des recettes simples et précises qu'il pourra suivre... religieusement. Elle se fiche totalement des critiques culinaires qui déplorent son manque de fantaisie. « Les mots clés utilisés dans ses livres et ses émissions de télé sont simples et à l'épreuve des imbéciles... Cuisiner à la Delia, c'est comme faire de la peinture à numéros: suivez les instructions à la lettre et vous obtiendrez exactement l'image qu'il y a sur la boîte... » écrit le critique gastronomique du Sunday Times.

    Peu importe que les experts la traitent avec le même mépris qu'ils réservent au bouillon en cubes, le peuple, lui, l'adore. « Delia a compris que les gens veulent être guidés », dit son agent littéraire. Son influence est si énorme qu'elle a déjà provoqué une crise sociale majeure, qui est entrée l'an dernier dans l'histoire anglaise sous le nom de « Cranberry Crisis » (la crise des canneberges). Après qu'elle eut utilisé ce petit fruit dans une recette à son émission de télévision, tous les magasins Sainsbury ont en effet été dévalisés: en quelques heures, leurs stocks de canneberges avaient disparu. Des clients frustrés se battaient pour la dernière barquette. Sainsbury a dû s'en faire livrer d'urgence, mais ce n'était toujours pas suffisant. À la fin, tous les magasins et entrepôts du pays étaient complètement « décannebergisés ». Résultat: pendant qu'une partie de l'Angleterre se mettait à table pour manger le fameux plat aux canneberges de Delia, l'autre se jurait de ne plus jamais remettre les pieds chez Sainsbury.

    God Save the English kitchen!

    (By Vera Murray, current events, in April 15, 1997)

    If it is tepid, it is some beer, if it is cold, it is some soup! As we are said with the British kitchen. But things could change: Delia Smith gave himself for mission to teach his fellow countrymen to make the popote.

    There is a ground food and that of the spirit... In literature and in theater, England remains a country admirably provided well and which does not stop being renewed. But which punishment when it is necessary to eat English (for lack of restaurants Indian, Chinese or Italian near)! It is better then to keep{*guard*} spirit fixed to immaterial things and too much not to look in his plate.

    The contemporary English kitchen has of these mixtures{*miscellany*} which, everywhere else - except maybe in the United States-, would be supposed to be the invention of a cook become mad: jacket potatoes (cooked potatoes with their skin filled{*performed*} with tuna, with corn and with pineapple keep{*preserve*} it) or magpies (salty tarts the dough of which is three times as thick as farce), which soak, quite as the (compulsory) fried accompanying potatoes, in several centimeters of gravy, when they are not put down{*deposited*} on beans in the tomato sauce...

    It is not that God does not know about the problem. Delia Smith, big boss of the kitchen in England (for several years, she makes for it the rain and the good weather due to a broadcast{*emission;issue*} of television, to a publication of several books{*pounds*} and to counselor's post with the big food chain Sainsbury), is a fervent Catholic who goes to the mass every morning. "I received God's mission: to educate people of this country in the art better to eat", declared recently in an interview!

    Delia Smith knows that she has to deal with a public not very bright in furnaces, who wants simple and precise receipts which he will be able to follow religiously. She{*it*} makes fun totally of culinary criticisms which regret the lack of whim. "Keywords used in his{*its;her*} books{*pounds*} and the broadcasts{*emissions;issues*} of TV are simple and in the test of the imbecile... To cook in Delia, it is as to make of the painting for numbers: follow instructions literally and you will obtain exactly the image which there is on the box" wrote the gastronomic critic of Sunday Times.

    It doesn't much matter that the experts treat{*handle*} her{*it*} with the same contempt as they reserve for the broth in cubes, the people, likes him{*it*}. "Delia understood{*included*} that people want to be driven{*guided*}", says his{*her*} literary agent. The influence is so enormous as it has already provoked a major social crisis, which entered last year the English history under the name of "Cranberry Crisis" (the crisis of cranberries). After she{*it*} had used this small fruit in a recipe in the broadcast{*emission;issue*} of television, all the Sainsbury shops were indeed ransacked: in some hours, their stocks of cranberries had disappeared. Deprived customers fought for the last pastry boat. Sainsbury had to be it delivered immediately, but it was not always sufficient{*self-important*}. In the end, all the shops and the stores of the country were completely "décannebergisés". Result: while a part of England put itself in table to eat the first-rate flat in Delia's cranberries, the other one swore never to put back{*hand*} feet at Sainsbury.

    God save English cuisine

    (by Vera Murray, L'actualité, 15 April 1997)

    "If it's warm, it's beer; if it's cold, it's soup," it is said of British cooking! But things could change: Delia Smith has taken on the mission of teaching the people of her country how to fix meals.

    There is earthly food, and spiritual food. In matters of literature and the theatre, England remains a country admirably blessed, and one that is continually breaking new ground. But what a punishment when one has to eat English food (for want of a nearby Indian, Chinese or Italian restaurant)! It is better then to keep one's mind fixed on immaterial things, and not look too closely at one's plate.

    Contemporary English cuisine has the sort of combinations that, everywhere else – except perhaps in the United States –, would be regarded as the invention of a cook who had gone mad: jacket potatoes (potatoes cooked with their skin and stuffed with canned tuna, corn and pineapple) or pies (savoury pies with pastry three times the thickness of the filling), swimming, just like the accompanying chips (obligatory), in several centimetres of gravy, when they are not deposited on top of baked beans!

    It is not that God is unaware of the problem. Delia Smith, the guru of English cooking (for several years she has ruled the roost thanks to a television show, the publication of several books and a consulting job with the big food chain Sainsbury's), is a fervent Catholic who goes to mass every morning. "I've been given a mission by God to educate the people of this country in the art of eating better," she declared recently in an interview!

    Delia Smith knows her followers are not particularly clever in the kitchen, and that they want simple, clear recipes that they can follow... religiously. She couldn't care less about food critics who deplore her lack of imagination. "The key words in her books and TV programmes are simple and fool-proof. Cooking Delia's way is like painting by numbers: follow the instructions to the letter and you'll get exactly the picture that's on the box," wrote the gourmet critic of the Sunday Times.

    It does not matter that the experts treat her with the same disdain they keep for bouillon cubes, ordinary people adore her. "Delia has understood that people want to be guided," says her literary agent. Her influence is so great that she has already caused a major social crisis, which entered English history last year under the name of "The Cranberry Crisis". After she had used this small fruit in a recipe on her TV programme, every Sainsbury's shop was effectively stripped: in a few hours their stocks of cranberries had all gone. Frustrated customers fought over the last basket. Sainsbury's had to bring in an emergency delivery, but it still was not sufficient. In the end, all the shops and warehouses in the country were completely "decranberried". As a result, while one half of England sat down to table to eat Delia's famous cranberry dish, the other half swore never to set foot in Sainsbury's again.