It's What You Call It

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kyheirloomer, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    Something popped into my head recently, while preparing an 18th century dish. Nothing earth shattering, but of interest nonetheless. Things aren't what they are, but what you choose to call them.

    F'rinstance, there's a recipe To Roast A Leg of Pork in an 18th century cookbook. Essentially, it's pulled pork. The major difference being that instead of using a tomato-based mopping sauce, as we're likely to do, the meat is basted with wine, which is also used to create a sauce at the end.

    Occurs to me that if I slapped that dish on a menu, I could call it "Fire Roasted Shoulder of Pork in a Cabernet/Anchovy Butter Sauce," and charge 30 bucks for it. But you know what? It's still just pulled pork.

    What do you all think? Are things what they are? Or are they what we call them?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,416
    Likes Received:
    434
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    You've often said there's no new dishes out there--short of molecular cuisines I suppose.

    What you call something reflects the time you're in and how you're presenting yourself.  Lots of people do pulled pork in the slow cooker with commercial barbecue sauce. But there's a lot of difference between that and what you describe in the dish from the past. At least there is to me where pulled pork better be cooked with real smoke and fire along the way.
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Pork, cooked to the pulling stage, and braised in or basted with wine is not uncommon on the modern, European or American plate.  I seldom use tomato based sauces even for pulled pork; preferring vinegar or -- yes -- wine.

    In a barbecue (smoking) forum in which I used to participate, I suggested a wine based inject which was working very well for me and the Southerners went ballistic while the Californians were intrigued.  Go figure. 

    BDL
     
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    You've often said there's no new dishes out there

    Not me, Phil. Several other blokes here at Cheftalk.

    While I understand their point, I don't fully subscribe to it.

     I agree that we pay for the time it takes someone to create them.

    Well, yes and no. If you buy a barbecue sandwich from a truck, or from a cue shack, are you really paying for the 12+ hours that the pitmaster put into it? I think not.

    If we buy the same sandwich from an upscale restaurant, are we paying for the time invested? Or for the ambience?

    My point, however, is that if you call it pulled pork it's worth a couple of bucks a plate. If you put a fancy name to it, however, you can charge an incredible amount. And likely get away with it. But it's still just pulled pork.
     
  5. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    275
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food

    You see it with seafood, how many new fish names have been assigned to what were otherwise just regular fish so that they could be marketed better?
     
  6. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,164
    Likes Received:
    281
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    What do you all think? Are things what they are? Or are they what we call them?  

    I think it's both.

    For me it comes down to discription and perception.

    I think right side brain thinkers will fully understand/relate to a pulled pork sand. for 3.95

    left side brain thinkers will fully understand/relate to Fire Roasted Shoulder of Pork in a Cabernet/Anchovy Butter Sauce,  forfor 23.95

    Like Phil said, it's how it's presented. Marketing

    Things are what they are unless we perceive it's not from the discription or value added..

    Oh well, I know what I mean in my head.
     
  7. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,426
    Likes Received:
    275
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Food is framed in a context that goes well beyond the ingredient and preparation. Pulled pork basted with wine, presented with thoughtful plating, in am ambient setting that is extraordinary means that the pulled pork has been elevated somewhat and that usually incurs a cost. That same pulled pork served out of a food truck, with the only plating being a kaiser roll and cardboard box means that it is ordinary which usually equates to less cost.

    In both cases the quality of the pulled pork, its preparation, etc. doesn't have to change, yet most would agree the end product which includes the experience is different. I think what you see in marketing food with names that appear more posh is an effort to make the product extraordinary. Whether the whole endeavor is worth it is really up to the consumer. I'd like to think that food purists focus on the quality of the ingredients and preparation alone and understand that sometimes the best meals come from cramped back-ally family owned establishments. Even still, sometimes you want something to be extraordinary and in those times I would think it is worth paying extra.
     
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,551
    Likes Received:
    193
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Hear, hear Eastshores!  Well put.

    BDL
     
  9. gourmetm

    gourmetm

    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    23
    Exp:
    At home cook
    In "Romeo and Juliet," Shakespeare writes: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I'm not so sure! Would a rose called "garbage" smell as sweet? And would you pay the same price for it as you would for, say, an American Beauty rose?