The Ritual Of Eating

One of the things I love about trying new cuisines is learning the rituals of eating the food. Eating Asian food with a knife and fork is a different experience to using chopsticks. Shaking parmesan cheese on a seafood dish is considered a grave insult in Italy.

A meal is as much about how you eat it as it is the food itself. The first time I had a dish claiming to be Peking Duck it didn't come with the traditional pancakes. It wasn't until many years later I was convinced to try it again by a friend in London that I discovered how wonderful the dish can be.

Take a freshly steamed pancake, add a dollop of plum sauce, a few sprouts, maybe some carrot slivers and pieces of delectable, crispy duck. Now roll it up and munch away. The textures and flavour are markedly different from a pile of said duck in a pool of sauce served with rice and not a pancake in sight.

What got me thinking about this was the Southern fried chicken at Charlie's Cafe today. I've had Southern fried chicken before and when it's good, it's delicious. Spicy, chunky breadcrumbs encasing moist chicken, usually served with something decadently artery clogging.

Today was no exception (Mac 'n' Cheese on the side, yes please) but it was one of my workmate's who introduced me to a particularly Southern ritual. Eating the fried chicken with your fingers and dipping the piece in honey, instead of something like tomato sauce.

It was delicious. What more could you want? Deep fried food dipped in pure sugar, it's the American dream ;)