I’ve written before here about the witty and acerbic writing of Jay Rayner for the Observer Magazine, and do so again now as I rather enjoyed his restaurant review Belly Laughs in today’s edition, laughing out loud myself at one point, though this isn’t the first time reading his work.
I have been prompted by two particular references/portions: the first because I recently ate at a harbour-front restaurant in St Ives and on the dessert menu there was an item titled [not exactly sure] something like Apple and Custard? [question mark definitely there] which then mentioned other apparent options within this, or so it seemed. When my wife ordered this I did ask if she wanted the custard – pavloved by that question mark – to be snootily informed by the waitress that this was a ‘deconstructed’ dessert and therefore custard wasn’t an option to discard, having also been educated by her that the apparent options were in fact the constituent parts of the ‘deconstructed’ whole.
Not watching many current cooking programmes, I wasn’t aware of this familiar literary term having acquired a newish culinary meaning, though I’m sure Derrida is fully up-to-date and pleased [having deconstructed his death in 2004]. Therefore, feeling just ignorant since, I was bolstered to read Rayner today mocking the term somewhat by writing of a dessert, There is also a “deconstructed” vanilla cheesecake, which, as too often, is code for “We couldn’t be bothered to make a proper cheesecake.” A cushion of whipped vanilla cream lies under a landslide of shattered digestives with a few berries in mourning.
Sweet, if you’ll excuse the pun.
The second is the following portion [I won't say it....] which could/should also appear in my ‘Nebraska’ series of posts, and reads, The corn-fed, dry-aged Nebraskan rib-eye, with a carbon footprint big enough to make a climate-change denier horny, is bloody marvellous: rich, deep, earthy, with that dense tang that comes with proper hanging. And at £100 a kilo it bloody well should be. At that price they should lead the damn animal into the restaurant and install it under the table so it can pleasure me while I eat.
A beastly reference not to everyone’s taste, if you’ll excuse the extended pun – and the restaurant being reviewed is called Beast. No need to deconstruct any further.