Joshua Baring – I’m Taking a Running Leap

Thursday 11th June 2020

I’ve been tormented. I wanted to mark Joshua Baring’s cuisine, one of the great features to emerge, via Insta, from this Time of Wrong. But it required Research, in particular studying a text called ‘Patience from a Weed’ … no, that’s not right… ‘HONEY from a Weed’ by Patience Gray, Joshua Baring’s great influence.

Well, it’s impossible. I’m going to take the Nancy Mitford approach, who when questioned over certain omissions from her book about Louis XIV, ‘The Sun King’, said, ‘I suppose I could have brought in the peasants more. It’s all a matter of temperament.’ One must also remember that Harold Nicholson said that scholarship was just ‘middle-class pedantry and caution.’  Bedint, in other words.

So I’ll stick with what I know, which is colour, atmosphere and impressions. The colour of Joshua Baring’s cuisine is pale green. There has only been a tomato once in six weeks.

I was looking through my cookery books the other day wondering how to manage fish for one and ended quickly in despair. I don’t want great loud flavours, anchovy, caper, chilli, whole sliced lemon, olive, with fish, thank you very much, Jamie. Thank you very much, Ottolenghi. Where’s the quiet note, the gentle pale green or grey? Then I realised it was staring me in the face – on Joshua Baring’s Insta.

Joshua Baring’s cuisine is wrought; there’s a lot of tart work, detail and rigorous restraint. You wonder if anyone else has made a milk jelly this century. He says No to Otto, no to Jamie and no to Asia, no to noise and blare, no to scattering pomegranate seeds and slamming in the oven. The sources are Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David and Theodora Fitzgibbon (her memoir I once reviewed).  Also someone called Richard Olney but I’ve never heard of him as well as Alistair Little, in whose restaurant we all dined in the 90s. Joshua will be straining, sieving, managing stocks, building up flavours with care and attention. These delicate ingredients, lettuce, asparagus, celery, can so easily be ruined. Anyone can daub rose harissa or tapenade and call it cooking.

Remarkable to see a young person going back, pushing back into the past and making it new.

Joshua Baring's Lettuce Soup

Joshua Baring’s Lettuce Soup

Poulet au Sauce Concumbre by Joshua Baring: So Quiet!

Poulet au Sauce Concumbre by Joshua Baring: So Quiet!

The Asparagus Risotto: Alistair Little Receipt

The Asparagus Risotto: Alistair Little Receipt

The Pea Tart: Incredible puree-ing and detail

The Pea Tart: Incredible puree-ing and detail

The Cheese and Leek Tart

The Cheese and Leek Tart with Rare Leaf 

The Pasta (Self-Made) with Weeds

The Pasta (Self-Made) with Weeds

Milk Jelly (!) with Apple: Ghostly.

Milk Jelly (!) with Apple: Ghostly.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted Thursday, June 11, 2020 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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