Wednesday, September 16, 2009

RIP Keith Floyd

Choucroute d'Alsace

I wonder how many of my fellow food bloggers in the UK felt the urge to cook something special last night in memory of Keith Floyd, the incorrigible cook and TV presenter, who had died the night before. It was a particular shock as on that very night, the BBC had broadcast a programme about him. I couldn't help wondering whether watching it had given him the heart attack - Floyd had looked frail enough during the filming, and I don't think the Keith Allen led documentary did him any favours.

Let's rather remember his larger than life exuberance, his lack of reverence, and the abundance and abandon he brought to British cooking. I got out Floyd on France, cracked open a bottle of wine, and Choucroute d'Alsace is what I ended up with.

"Trust you to hone in on a region the Germans invaded", was Mr ALOMP's reaction to the rather Teutonic, meat and Sauerkraut dominated dish. Hmm, yes, apparently due to domestic pulling powers, such as 'what do I actually have in?' (I'm German, so I always have Sauerkraut in) and 'what needs to be used up?' (smoked ham, smoked sausage - both Polish, but then, so were the ancestors if you go back far enough), I had to forego Floyd's maxims "careful shopping" and "fresh ingredients", and decided on an approximation of the dish featured on page 227. But maybe there was more to it? Maybe all that talk of good, honest, hearty home cooking had me salivating for childhood fare? (Come to think of it - at the Malmö Food Festival, of all the international dishes I could have gone for, I had plumped for Bigos - the Sauerkraut based Polish Classic, interestingly sometimes referred to as Silesian Bigos, Silesia being the area my Mum is from.)

In any case, it had made me block out the fact that neither of my remaining men (D eventually off to explore the Capital of the fatherland, or rather, in our case, the motherland) like Sauerkraut, a fact which wasn't helped by the only one of Floyd's maxims I adhered to - "an unhurried approach" - which resulted in the food being served very late. They ate it all but they didn't love it. Whereas I have to admit, I did. In rather colloquial German, "Ich hätte mich da reinsetzen können" - roughly translated, "I could have settled in it".

Oh yes, there was plenty of Riesling in the Sauerkraut and I also made Poires au vin rouge (p 33). Needless to say copious amounts of red and white were also imbibed. Ah, no one quite like Keith Floyd! I very much hope that he ended as he did in the epilogue of Floyd on France:

"And me? I am sitting - another fallen star - waiting for the early train. But happy."


Anonymous said...

Someone as inventive as Keith Floyd deserves his day in the sun. He will be missed and I'm glad that there are people out there to give him the respect he deserves...he was at the top of his game.

Zabeena said...

I think 'he was real', as they say these days, which isn't what you can say about any other TV cook personality. I'm glad he had a superb last supper and plenty of good booze and then just dozed off. Way to go. I only wished he'd known just how much he meant to people.

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