I confess. When I have been in the dining company of vital, health-conscious young women who are fat-phobic (a rather high percentage of this demo), I have been able to make them see that butter is a beautiful thing. I have been able to make them see that olive oil is a beautiful thing.
I remember eagerly clutching my red Michelin guide in France, way back in the early 1970s, expecting to find at the starred levels nothing but the best of French food. Later, Michelin began publishing a red guide to Italy–but often took criticism that their judgments in Italy had a French sensibility. The same thing happened in Spain. Today, Michelin covers 23 countries in its books–but still has difficulty losing the image of “French-oriented.”
When the “Northern Italian” restaurant boom hit in the 1970s, one key change was that “Veal Parmigiana” went away–and an array of tomato-less veal and chicken cutlet dishes took its place. Veal Marsala became very popular. The Roman Saltimbocca, in which a slice of prosciutto is placed over the veal, had its day. Myriad versions of veal and chicken cutlets with melted cheese and no tomato sauce (usually some kind of wine sauce was served instead) invaded our “ristoranti.”
There is a dichotomy in the world of olive oil that’s every bit as important as the wine world’s red-white dichotomy: some people prefer olive oils made from under-ripe olives, some people prefer olive oils made from fully ripe olives. The styles are as different as night and day. Each style has its advantages…but each style also has its disadvantages.
We’re sitting pretty in the food world at the start of 2013: gak, is there ever new-found sophistication among millions of American food-lovers! Of course this means that some dishes are going viral on us…and of course this means that many chefs are getting them wrong.
About David Rosengarten
Journalist, television personality, and cookbook author, David Rosengarten has covered great food products, restaurants, wines, gastronomic travel destinations, and related subjects for over 25 years...
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