James Martin on why ‘horrendous’ cooking ingredient should be banned – ‘it’s dreadful!’

James Martin on why ‘horrendous’ cooking ingredient should be banned – ‘it’s dreadful!’


James Martin's Saturday Morning: Guest impressed with pumpkin dish

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James Martin’s background as a farmer’s son, as well as being classically French-trained as a chef, has had a huge influence on the way he cooks. The Yorkshire-born 50-year-old is much-loved around the country for his simple but delicious recipes, as well as his cheeky chappy personality that shines through on shows such as James Martin’s Saturday Morning and Saturday Kitchen.

In a 2021 interview, James revealed why he believes one ingredient should be banned and never used in cooking.

He told The Herald in November last year: “Margarine should be banned.

“It’s dreadful, dreadful stuff.

“It’s two elements away from plastic, it’s horrendous stuff.”

He even went as far in saying that margarine is “not food”.

The chef was talking about one of his favourite ingredients at the time, butter, adding there is “no substitute” for it.

He explained he ate a lot of it as a child, saying: “I’m a farmer’s kid.

“We’ve always had full-fat milk, butter and cream. And that’s what we had.

“There wasn’t such a thing as semi-skimmed milk in our house.”

Some people would argue that butter is unhealthy and shouldn’t be consumed often, or if on a diet.

But James disagreed. He said: “It’s not the butter consumption.

“It’s the ready-made food, it’s the packet food, the hidden salt, hidden fat – that’s the problem in this country.

“It’s not the butter in a butter block, or butter you put on your toast.

“It’s the fact that not as many people cook in the UK as they do in France or Italy or Spain.”

James went on to speak more about his childhood, telling of what his mother would usually put in his lunchbox for school.

He said: “I’d have buttered white sliced bread and mashed up banana with a Cadbury Flake on it, press it down, wrap it in cling film.

“Then you get to lunchtime and it would sort of look – when it was out the cling film – almost like a tennis ball.

“It would be all congealed together. But you managed to eat it.

“Nobody wanted to swap with me, but it was proper.”

James has evidently carried his love of butter into adulthood and even now ensures to put enough of the spread on his toast.

“I can’t do butter if it’s not visual on hot toast,” he said.

The chef continued: “People just think butter is butter, and it’s not.

“If you’re going to do French-style patisserie, you just don’t use the stuff you get in the supermarket – it’s too heavily watered, and there’s too much water in buttermilk.

“Really, really good pastry butter should snap in half like a Dairy Milk.”

To go into further detail about the best ways to cook with butter, James has written a book about the ingredient.

Butter: Comforting, Delicious, Versatile – Over 130 Recipes Celebrating Butter was released in October 2021.

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