My friend Mike, who lives in Singapore, writes a wonderful blog that includes a very delightful ‘Eat Drink Men Women’ section that covers those certain pleasures of the flesh.

I’ve been reading Mike’s blog for something like 5 years now and I have to say he is one of the only food writers who truly gets it right. Meaning there is an honesty to his writing about food.

Food. Writing about food. TV shows about food. Media and popular culture’s take on food have all combined to push food into a very misunderstood and silly place. Namely, the more lavish and the more expensive a dish is somehow equates to better food. And food that justifiably carries a higher covet quotient.

But that is just plain stupid.

I love good food. And good food writing. And good food shows. M.F.K. Fisher anyone? And I like old episodes of Bourdain. Why? They both understand food. They demonstrate that understanding by mostly sticking to the bistros, family meals, and street food. For them it is all about locally produced, quality ingredients prepared right.

I exchanged an email with Mike this morning about the celebrity chef type establishments. He did a post yesterday that included his thoughts on whole high-end cookery scene and rather scornfully denounced the hype and consumer excitement around Noma’s plan to move to Sydney, Australia.

I just got back from Las Vegas and said some less than kind words in a subsequent post about their over the top and over priced restaurants.

It is interesting that Mike and I are having this conversation as just a few days before I left for Las Vegas I scribbled a note to myself that said,”The average person does not need (nor will ever understand) ancient Chinese Imperial Cuisine.” Meaning in the larger sense all those subtle flavor nuances, the intricacies of preparation, and the dozens upon dozens of individually prepared dishes. Food with extremely high production values.

What triggered that note to myself was how appalled I felt after watching a video of some chef in Minneapolis make some over produced piece of culinary nonsense that involved assembly with a pair of tweezers.

I don’t care how many critics applaud that particular chef’s innovation, I still think it’s a fool’s mission.

And if you buy into that brand of nouveau cuisine and worse, spend your hard earned cash for it then you are a sucker and someone who clearly does not understand what true gastronomy is all about.

Side note: I was recently reading a comment to the NY Time’s article/expose that blasted Amazon’s harsh work environment and that person’s decidedly defensive comment included the words ‘purposeful Darwinism’.

That made me smile. Thinking about Las Vegas in that context made me see Vegas’s entire ecosystem as one giant sticky fly-trap.

Anyway, so what is true gastronomy? Small production values, big food values. Food that tastes of what it is. Examples: chicken tasting of chicken with just a perfume of bay leaf. Fresh fish seasoned with only salt and lime. A fresh salad of greens, onion, tomato with only a splash of olive oil and a dash of vinegar. Good noodles with pork, ginger and soy.

Simple, seasonal, fresh, quality ingredients. Anything else is wasteful, indulgent hype.

PS – I do like the way the French prepare stock.That preparation is pretty lengthy and to some way of thinking marginally elaborate. Ahh. But it’s not wasteful. Preparing a stock (beef, chicken, fish, or pork) is all about reclaiming that rich flavor from the bones.