This undoubtedly stems from our love of celebrity chefs; Raymond Blanc and Michel Roux Jr have both given us insights into the food they grew up on; it is inexpensive and simple, and not at all what we would expect Michelin star chefs to cook. However, there is something endearing about watching these men who are so famous and so acclaimed for their cooking go back to their roots and cook simple French dishes that they ate when they were growing up, and that inspired them to become world-class chefs in the first place.
What strikes me as unusual is that we do not seem to embrace rural, rustic food in the same way as the French. I watched The Great British Food Revival a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to see how many people were turning up their noses at the thought of eating rabbit, an ingredient that is rife in the British countryside and an animal that farmers are keen to get rid of due to the fact that they are, essentially, pests. We have got to break away from the idea that rabbits are only meant as pets, and that they are far too cute to be put in a pie. I am not saying that we should all go feral and start acting the way our pre-historic ancestors did in order to get food, but I do feel it is so important to embrace rural dishes in the same way as the French. We have our Lancashire hot pot and the French have their Coq au Vin from Burgundy, we have Chicken Parmesans in the North East, and the French have Cassoulet from Languedoc. We have the regional dishes that we love in Britain but rabbit and even pheasant are two ingredients that seem to be disappearing from our menu, and if you go to a local butcher for them, they will not be expensive at all. You can pick up a rabbit for between £2 and £4 depending on where you go for it.
We need to start having more respect for rural dishes and ingredients, because if we don’t they may disappear into obscurity before we even notice.