Sunday, April 03, 2005


I checked in at the Fat Duck yesterday. The restaurant is much more humble than I had anticipated. But I have tried not to have too many expectations as I am usually wrong when I guess. It is inside an old house whose cielings vary in height from 7 to 9 feet throughout the rooms. The waiters are all short frenchmen who look just right in the small rooms. The dining room is minimally decorated and feels very warm and cozy. The kitchen isn't much larger than Lampreia. In fact, the hot line is smaller, but shaped as a triangle so you can wedge 5 cooks in there. Then the back station fits another5. There are 7 storage sheds on the back patio that house everything from produce to pots and pans. This leaves the kitchen open for working. The butcher station, pastry station, and prep station are all housed across the street in another tiny house. They fill the downstairs along with a large walk in refrigerator. Upstairs is the labratory, which unfortunately I haven't seen yet.

The kitchen was in a buzz as they were not only preparing for lunch and dinner but also preping for a dinner in Morrocco. They are flying all the food and equipment out today. Tomorow the Chef, Pastry Chef, and a handfull of cooks fly out. I was told that there is a chance that the government will not allow the food into the country. In this case these lucky staff members will be having a 3 day holiday instead. I can't deny that this kind of jet setting cooking seems very exciting to me.

My adventures with food have not extended past the grocery store. I have been shopping at Tesco. Which I imagine to be much like Safeway. I passed up Waitrose, which is much like Wholefoods. I couldn't afford that kind of store when I was getting a paycheck. But as this is a foreign country even the most humble of grocery stores is full of new exciting food. I found cooked beets (beetroot) in cryovac which I am very fond of as a snack. My cereal is little granola like clusters with caramelized almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts, and milk chocolate bitsies. I bought eggs which are all stamped with the farms name, the house and cage in which they were laid, and the date. I guess in case i want to write a thank you note to the chicken. The package that I purchased advertises that my eggs were "laid by hens free to dustbathe and perch in barns." My roommates eggs were "laid by hens free to roam the yard by day." Here you choose your eggs based on the hens hobbies.

The cheese isle is beautifuly long and very well stocked. It's amazing how affordable the cheese is when it's not an import. I bought a mild farm cheddar and a nice stilton studded with apricots. My roommates who claim to know nothing about food have a wealth of knowlege about cheese. One even attended a wedding that featured 3 tiers of cheese rather than a cake.

I did purchase some Potnoodles strictly because of my roommates suggestions. they are large cup-o-noodles in crazy flavors. I bought spicy curry, sweet and sour, and my favorite, Seedy Sanchez fiesta flavor. The package even has a seedy mustache. While in Greece on my last grand adventure I came across hotdog flavored ramen. I'll get back to you with a flavor analysis after I have consumed them.


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