food & drink


This passion for making lists of everything from worst-dressed women to dog breeds suitable for caravan living has got out of hand. It seems that everything must be rated, from pork sausages to magnifying glasses. Wines of course have been graded for decades, as have marzipan and electric shavers, but do we really need to be insulted by media giant CNN's latest suggestions? Its World Best Foods list is practically an insult to any self-respecting foodie, let alone serious gourmet. Are we really to accept that British potato crisps have any worthwhile merit that crisps from other countries do not have, or that buttered toast with Marmite can be referred to as food on the same level as Chinese roast duck or Spain's seafood paella, both on the list? Apparently, we are. And can a corn cob, usually fed to livestock, produce the same enthusiasm in the consumer as Japanese sushi?

There is no indication of what yardstick CNN has used to rate food as worthy of inclusion, and no clues are given. Nor even whether any of the dishes were tasted for the purpose of drawing up the list. In fact, with the exception of a few classic national dishes, such as Singapore's Cangrejo de Chilli (chili crab) or Lechón (roast suckling pig) from the Philippines, there is nothing of note. Do we really need to be told that toast and Marmite (UK) or croissants (France) must be nominated as a 'best food'? Looked at coldly the majority of items would qualify for a list of junk food, including Canada's Poutine, 'an iconic Quebec dish mixes French fries, Cheddar cheese and gravy.' Ugh!