My attempts at catching up on the enormous backlog of science fiction television I’m facing have floundered somewhat because I have found a new cookery series to watch. I’m not a big fan of celebrity chefs, but I do like Rick Stein. There are several reasons for this. His restaurant is in Cornwall. He started his career focusing on fish. And of course the shows are directed by David Pritchard who also discovered the mercurial genius that was Keith Floyd. Stein has nowhere near the personality, nor capacity for alcohol, that Floyd had. However, his shows are refreshingly free of lecturing about diets, healthy eating and so on, majoring instead on simple enthusiasm for good, fresh food well cooked.
The new series, Rick Stein’s Road Trip to Mexico, obviously features Mexican cuisine. However, it started out in San Francisco because there is a tale of Greater Mexico here, before the USA took so much territory away. There is also the story of Mexico’s influence on American cuisine, and of course of the current political fuss over immigration. Safely back in England after filming, Stein can’s resist the occasional dig at the orange-faced monster.
It is the food, however, that is the rightful star of the show. I have long been of the opinion that Mexican cuisine is one of the finest in the world. The combination of chili, lime juice and coriander is irresistible. The slow-cooked meats are utterly delicious. And the burrito is one of the world’s great portable food inventions. All of which is before I get onto the subjects of cooking with chocolate, and the Margarita.
Anyway, I’m hooked. Given that the Winter Solstice holiday is the only time of the year I ever get the time to do some serious cooking, I am looking forward to trying some of Stein’s recipes. I shall sit back on my couch and imagine that I am basking in the warm Mexican sun rather than listening to the rain pour down outside.