Monday, January 28, 2008

Rice Rice Against Cous

The natural title was "Rice against cous cous" but I guessed that would have been predictable. Unless it was going to be a post about spaceships or pies, then you'd be puzzled. Or disinterested.

I was watching one of those TV cookery programmes recently. Since moving into my own place I often use these cooking programmes as background TV. You know, that time when you're doing other stuff, not really watching TV but vaguely aware of it, occasionally glancing at something that catches an eye or listening to something that grabs an ear.

It's just that tiny bit more productive than having an old episode of Friends on, from one of the other cable repeat channels. I'm a bit of a Friends fan and, try as I might, I can rarely resist our Jen without having a good eyeful. Half heartedly watching cooking stuff means that I learn and pick up tips too. The lazy nature of my watching means that I grab soundbites and might gleen a great tip about how to roast Mangosteens or fry an anchovy, but I've rarely paid enough attention beforehand to know what on earth the bigger picture is.

So by all means come round to my place for a roast Mangosteen or a fried anchovy or two but don't expect them to be part of a bigger and more glamorous meal as I haven't a clue what goes with them. We can always watch some old repeats of Friends if you'd like.

But, on the aforementioned occasion I caught sight, or sound, of a scruffy looking long haired chef. One of the regular TV chef types; quite good looking in an average way, a bit trendy and with his own restaurant that would benefit greatly from his TV exposure. He had been presented with some cous cous to cook, or maybe some cous to cook cook.

He said that cous cous was his second least favourite thing in the world. Before his mouth had formed the sentence I felt a wave of affinity for the fellow. Top man, I thought to myself. Cous cous is definitely one of the evils of the culinary world as far as I'm concerned. Primarily because it tastes exactly like one of those things that has no taste whatsoever, those tiny things that make me do a face like a cat having a fur ball.

Stick some butter or chicken stock, some gravy or sauce on it and it can taste better, but that's the taste of whatever you put on it, the cous cous still tastes like hair made into little balls. It's about as extreme as I get in my food dislikes. There's hardly any food I don't or won't eat and even cous cous, when shoved under the Rhythmic nose, will be eaten.

You just won't find me cooking the stuff or even having a bag of it in my cupboard for emergencies. Check out the cupboard and you'll find every spice that any Sri Lankan should have a supply of, you'll find rice of every variety from Basmati to Ambrosia and tins of baked beans (Heinz of course) aplenty. But no way will you find a bag of cous cous, a Sri Lankan has his limits.

There I was, thinking that this TV chef had his head screwed on, when he finished his little bit of wordplay, his oh so little smartarse soundbite:

"And my number one least favourite thing in the whole world is rice"

Yes, he had the balls to come out with something as ridiculous as that.

Can you imagine?

My letter of complaint is winging its way to the BBC as we speak. It's one thing to hate cous cous, a tasteless and useless thing that probably only just scrapes into the category of "food".

But I won't hear a word against rice.


sanjeew said...

well, I am- a sri lankan- not a fan of rice either.Rice of red variety is palatable but any other form is pretty bland methinks.Of course all the curries ,be they meat,parippu and etc taste simply divine when prepared properly!I reckon it is only taste of latter that makes rice taste good.

sambol is yummy too :-)

Indyana said...

Ha ha....."tears"....ha ha

PBG said...

LOL! I hate the stuff (cous cous), but rice? That's a different story.

Stuff like Basmathi and the regionally available Keeri Samba taste great! But for most non-rice eating cultures, rice=samba. It's more out of ignorance.

Nice to hear that you've got a well stocked kitchen! :)

Darwin said...

I confess I like both. I'd probably never order cous cous if I was eating out, but I don't despise the stuff either.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sanjeew - I can't believe it!

PBG - yes the cupboards are beginning to smell like those in a proper SL kitchen, I'm pleased so far.

Darwin - I always thought you were weird!

Damith-TS said...

Im a good ol lankan boy so ,Cant beat rice. Basmathi all day and night baby ! (With some sambol and parippu mmm mm mmmm)