Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Tag: food

Weaknotes for m/e 5 October 2019

So I let a month go by. That’s why I went with ‘weaknotes’, after all. Bullet points required here, I think — just the highlights, the most remarkable that I didn’t already tweet or blog. Here we go. More…


Yotam Ottolenghi’s hummus recipes

Hummus is dead easy to make and I really should make some more often. (Same goes for chimichurri, though I’ve found it harder to get the flavour balance right.) #link


What perfectly normal food can you just not stand?

I would quibble with pith as a ‘perfectly normal food’ (if you’re not avoiding the pith when you eat citrus, you’re doing it wrong). Other than that, this mostly leaves me thinking about how much my palate has changed over the last few years. Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was That Guy who lived on starch and didn’t touch fruit or veg; I still don’t really eat fruit (it’s a texture and tartness thing for me) but I’m game for most vegetables now, provided they’re properly prepared and in the right combinations. (For instance, raw tomato is not appealing — but slice it, salt it, put it in a sandwich or on a burger? I’m good.) #link


The Weird Science Behind Chain Restaurant Menus

It’s not all that weird, unless you were naive enough to think your favourite mom-and-pop-feeling chain wasn’t decided upon down to the last detail. Maybe it also feels uncomfortable to think of oneself as an individual while at the same time fitting a little too neatly into a brand’s demographic classification, like a negation of individuality? No sweat; it’s as much in their heads as it is in yours. And I’d be more worried about Facebook doing it than a ‘fast casual dining experience’. #link


The best homemade cacio e pepe

Experienced some serious Baadher Meinhof with this dish, or the title of it anyway, in 2017. So I’ll have to try making it, won’t I? #link


Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age

It’s only to an extent, but I can identify with this; I don’t care so much about how others perceive me, but I know I would feel better, holistically, if I can get my head right. And for me, managing what I eat really is all in the head. #link


This Greedy Pig on the gentrification of the Italian-Irish chipper

I’ve seen a couple of these ‘Chipmonger’ places and I can understand, at least on an intellectual level, the need to compete in an increasingly hipster marketplace, minimalist and fashionably distressed and all that. But even at that, they look fairly bland and soulless; at a glance, could be a barber shop as much as a chipper. Give me a Macari’s or a Romayo’s (or a Milano’s, for our current go-to local) any day. #link


Jay Rayner’s Observer review of Le Cinq, Paris

Bad restaurant reviews are the best restaurant reviews, and Jay Rayner brings us a doozy here. I normally think of Rayner as an insufferable dick, the smug dandy from MasterChef and that, but I can warm to comments like this: “I have spent sums like this on restaurant experiences before, and have not begrudged it. We each of us build our best memories in different ways, and some of mine involve expensive restaurants. But they have to be good. This one will also leave me with memories. They are bleak and troubling. If I work hard, one day, with luck, I may be able to forget.” #link


The Guardian on the UK’s recent hummus ‘crisis’

Highlighting the actually not-so-secret world of mass food production, and product manufacturing in general. Streamlining is cheaper, hence single producers are contracted by various brands and chains to supply their needs. They’ve been doing it for decades. (That branded thing you like? There’s probably an own-brand equivalent that is literally the same product.) But there’s a cost for this efficiency, whether relatively benign (like ‘metallic-tasting’ hummus) or more significant from a public health standpoint (see the horse meat scandal, which was really about not knowing what was in the food, rather than that thing being horse meat). #link