Breaded, battered, fried, covered with bubbling molten cheese, carb-heavy, snooze-inducing and artery-clogging, beige food is the best, and kind of the worst. At home, I generally try to create a multi-coloured plate in an attempt at balanced nutrition, but it’s difficult to escape my appetite for hearty, comforting monochrome stodge. The recent UK domination of American staples mac ‘n’ cheese, pancakes, burgers and fries etc is raising beige food to a fine art, while dovetailing so nicely with our own taupe traditions of pie & mash, chip butties and the like.
Mac ‘n’ cheese in a bowl made of bread. Delicious and terrifying.
I blame my need for beige on my Northern/Scottish heritage. And Guy Fieri. His show on Food Network, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, is a sticky and excessive kind of food porn, and a true guilty pleasure for almost as many of my friends as EP on Sunday. Triple-D (as it’s known) isn’t one of those sickening Man vs. Food things, but a celebration of Americana on a plate. There is nothing these restaurateurs and dive-owners can’t barbecue, deep-fry or slather in sauce. And it all looks delicious.
With a couple of impending US trips on the horizon, it’s going to be difficult to keep my greed in check. Especially on a work trip, where beige foods are offered every hour on the hour, and their idea of a canape is meatloaf in gravy (not even joking). I’m even using the fansite Flavortown USA (which maps all the places shown on Triple-D) to help find local dining joints for my upcoming California road trip. The urge to line up places that just serve massive brunches and deep-fried things -with-dips is overwhelming, but I’m striving to find something a bit more colourful too. It is California, after all.
M’learned colleague Greg (who travels to the US regularly) actively pursues beige food in its many forms, and has become rather an aficionado – he highly recommends The Cheesecake Factory for its beige “bible” menu. His brand-new Tumblr, A Symphony Of Beige, celebrates the infinite configurations of beige food the world over. While America is probably the fondest of taupe-coloured treats, there’s a universal language of beige food. His table-snaps look tempting and yet slightly tasteless, as all good beige food should.