Belcher Gastronomique

A cheerily unalphabetical dictionary of food terms

Food in popular culture #1: In The Loop on cling film

Toby Wright talks to his girlfriend Suzy on the phone as he enters a lift with Malcolm Tucker on his first morning at work.

Malcolm Tucker: [on phone, trails off as exits shot] Fuckety bye.

Suzy: Sorry darling just a quick thing, did you put away the lasagne?

Toby: Of course, it’s in the fridge, it’s got cling film on it and everything.

(Toby Enters lift and steps to the back. Malcolm hovers in the foreground, pacing occasionally as he talks into his phone.)

Malcolm and Toby later in the film

Suzy: Why d’you put cling film on it?

Toby: Because that keeps it fresh. That’s the point of cling film.

Malcolm Tucker: Can I speak to James Lewis of the PM programme please?

Suzy: [Indistinct due to Malcolm Tucker talking in foreground] …keep it fresh.

Malcolm Tucker: No I don’t want to hold. He’s had me on hold already.

Toby: But but but, It might dry out, that’s an amateur mistake you’re making.

Suzy: [indistinct]

Malcolm Tucker: I’m not holding any longer right, what’s he waiting for a fucking sex change?

Toby: It’s not carcinogenic

Suzy: [faint, exasperated] It is.

Toby: …Cling film doesn’t give you cancer… this is insane, what kind of a country do you think this is? Cling film doesn’t give you cancer

Malcolm Tucker: What, Simon Foster? ‘Diarrhea for nobody’ yeah I like that.

Toby: …any more than aluminium foil gives you…

Malcolm Tucker: Ok, apropos of that, tomorrow I want… [becomes indistinct]

Toby: …AIDS or, you know, lasagne gives you syphilis. That’s, it’s not a.. thing.

Malcolm Tucker: [shouting] NO YOU RELAX!

Suzy: [indistinct].. god who’s that?!

Malcolm Tucker: [shouting] GET ME FUCKING BRIAN!

Suzy: [indistinct] …cream on your way home.

Malcolm Tucker: YOU DON’T GET ME BRIAN I’M GONNA COME OVER THERE AND LOCK YOU IN A FUCKING FLOTATION TANK AND PUMP IT FULL OF SEWAGE UNTIL YOU FUCKING DROWN.

Opening credits.

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January 6, 2010 Posted by | commentary, Food in popular culture | , , , | Leave a comment

Soffritto

Soffritto is an Italian term referring to various incarnations of a base common to a wide variety of Italian dishes. A basic soffritto typically consists of chopped onions, parsley, and carrots or celery fried in olive oil (though butter, or a combination of oil and butter may be used, especially in the North of Italy). Though there are many regional variations, the soffritto is ubiquitous as a first step in the preparation of risotto, marinara and other ragu, soup, and many other dishes.

“Was there ever a dish more misunderstood than spaghetti Bolognese?… Some vague folk memory of the soffritto (the sautéed mix of onion, parsley and carrots and celery that forms the base of almost every Italian pasta sauce) dictated that carrots were usually present, but usually accompanied by all sorts of surprising vegetable additions.”

– Heston Blumenthal, In Search of Perfection, p. 172

January 6, 2010 Posted by | S, So, Sof | , | Leave a comment

Cathepsins

Cathepsins, abbreviated CTS, are a family of proteases (proteolytic enzymes) found in all mammals. Most of these enzymes are activated in the low pH found in lysosomes, (the organelles within cells which contain enzymes).

“At the lower temperature muscle proteins contract and squeeze out water far more slowly, which is crucial to keeping the meat moist. But it also needs to be tenderised, which at this temperature is done by enzymes, particularlycalpains and cathepsins that weaken or break down collagen and other proteins. Calpains stop working at 40°C/105°F, cathepsins at 50°C/120°F, but below these cut-off points, the higher the temperature, the faster they work. Heating the meat slowly means these enzymes can perform their magic for several hours before denaturing, effectively ageing the meat during cooking. The result is the tenderest, tastiest meat imaginable.”

– Heston Blumenthal, In Search of Perfection, p. 166

January 6, 2010 Posted by | c, Ca, Cat | , , , | Leave a comment

Calpains

Calpains are a family of calcium-dependent, non-lysosomal cysteine proteases (proteolytic enzymes) that are expressed ubiquitously in mammols.

“At the lower temperature muscle proteins contract and squeeze out water far more slowly, which is crucial to keeping the meat moist. But it also needs to be tenderised, which at this temperature is done by enzymes, particularly calpains and cathepsins that weaken or break down collagen and other proteins. Calpains stop working at 40°C/105°F, cathepsins at 50°C/120°F, but below these cut-off points, the higher the temperature, the faster they work. Heating the meat slowly means these enzymes can perform their magic for several hours before denaturing, effectively ageing the meat during cooking. The result is the tenderest, tastiest meat imaginable.”

– Heston Blumenthal, In Search of Perfection, p. 166

January 6, 2010 Posted by | c, Ca, Cal | , , , | Leave a comment