Monday, 27 February 2012

Musings on Authenticity

I know you are all nail-bitingly anxious to see the results of the first round of WWII recipe-testing results. In a nutshell: surprising and not surprising. Not surprisingly they were difficult to cook. Using ingredients in ways that we wouldn't in this age and using different techniques to achieve good results are challenging and there is plenty of room for error. Surprisingly tasty! A look at the names and list of ingredients in these recipes has you dreading the thought of putting the end product down your throat. They simply do not look good on paper. And as photos did not and do not accompany most wartime recipes, the most unappealing of ingredient lists is all you have to go with. Just go with it.

First up: Woolton Pie.

A simple, hearty dish. I am at a loss of what else to say about it as simple and hearty are about all this pie has going for it. Flavours are on the bland side of bland. The vegetables meld together in a sloppy, flavour-poor stew kind of way and the pastry leaves much to be desired - mainly a bottom crust.

As the very first dish I tested, I was faced with the question of authenticity. Leave the dishes as intended and serve food that has a 99% chance of being bland, tweak the recipes slightly in method or ingredients as to preserve some of the historical integrity yet still serve a dish that guests would want to eat, or simply base my own creation off of wartime recipes that people could get really excited about. 

What would you do if faced with this issue? What you rather be served as a guest of a themed dinner party?

I can see the merits of all three options and different rationales lead me to different conclusions. I am at a stand-still after this Woolton Pie. Curse you, Woolton Pie.

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