How to eat: scrambled eggs on toast

This month, How to Eat is tackling the classic breakfast dish. That means no cheese, no avocado, no hot sauce – just eggs, sourdough and salted butterIn the 12 months to July 2017, British egg sales topped 6bn for the first time ever. Apparently, health-conscious shoppers are abandoning the industrial food complex’s sugary cereals and going to work on an egg, with poaching and scrambling – the hip serves du jour – fuelling the humble egg’s fashionable moment.Never let it be said that How to Eat (HTE) – the blog series identifying how best to eat Britain’s favourite foods – is not sensitive to the national mood. So, this month it will pick over scrambled eggs on toast with all the forensic rigour of a Michelin guide inspector forced to confront the £9.99 belly-buster breakfast at a motorway service station. Continue...

Hyperlocal heroes: meet the chefs growing their own

Stockport’s Sam Buckley is part of a wave of Noma-inspired gourmets swapping gastro-science for gardening and and sourcing produce from within a few miles – or metres – of their restaurantsThere are plenty of tools you might expect to see in a chef’s hand: a knife, a blender, a blowtorch. But Sam Buckley, the 34-year-old chef-owner at Stockport’s Where the Light Gets In, is standing in a small field in nearby Marple, holding a rake.It is January and so this patch of land, rented from the surrounding farm, is green but dormant. Its apple trees are bare, a frame of runner beans is brown and withered and, but for some chamomile shoots in the greenhouse, there is little sign that by summer this will be the primary source of fruit and vegetables for WTLGI (scored 10/10 by the then Guardian critic Marina O’Loughlin in 2017). Continue...

Heating’s cheating: why taste reigns supreme in the new chilli sauce scene

The surge in interest in spicy condiments around the UK is not just about ludicrously hot concoctions – for many producers, it’s all about the flavourSean Evans, host of the cult US online TV show Hot Ones, is trying to recall his highlights from its four seasons, in which he has interviewed celebrities including Cara Delevingne and Seth Rogen. But he concedes: “It’s kind of a blur. There’s been so many people spitting in buckets, dry heaving and coughing. It’s all just one big fit.”Yes, you read that right: spitting, heaving, coughing. For Hot Ones is no ordinary chat show. Instead, like a sadistic Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, it involves Evans firing questions at celebrities as he and they eat 10 chicken wings dressed with hot sauces of increasing ferocity. The final wing is dressed with Hot Ones’ own Last Dab, made with the world’s hottest chilli, Pepper X. By this point (note: DJ Khaled bailed after just three wings), most guests are in a whole world of sweat-soaked pain. Or, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s game star Terry Crews put it: “OH MY GOD … you get high off this shit. My voice is changing. You’re turning into three people, man! I’m hurting. Why can’t I open my eyes?” Continue...

The new rules of dining out: resist table-hogging, tip in cash, don’t moan about cakeage

Britain’s restaurants may have become less formal – but modern life has thrown up a new set of etiquette dilemmas. Here are the dos and don’ts of sharing plates, queues, amateur food photography and more The modern British restaurant scene is more casual and popular than ever before. Formal etiquette is, thankfully, history. But in this newly democratic realm there are still ways we can behave for the good not just of our fellow diners, but also restaurant staff and the venues we love. In the past few months, I’ve noticed chefs on social media making pleas for drunk patrons not to grope staff, and taking rude customers to task. So, to prevent that kind of thing and more from happening, here are the new rules of dining. Continue...

‘A brief rummage is acceptable’  – how to share Christmas chocolates

As a great man from Walsall once yelled, it’s Chriiiistmas! But how should you tuck in without causing a decades-long family rift?Remove any cellophane or seals prior to guests arriving. It suggests generosity. Any painfully slow, fiddly unwrapping of a box, as if guests are being grudgingly indulged (“We never really eat chocolate, you see”), will put the recipients on edge. A good host’s demeanour says: “Dig in!” A wrapped box sourly infers: “Eat sparingly, we like to eke these out into January.” Continue...