I watched the most amazing food series this week called Heston’s Feasts. It features Chef Heston Blumenthal, who can do some amazing stuff with food, working his magic at small private dinner parties that he holds for a handful of his friends. He creates dishes that I either never would have thought of or never would have believed could be created HAD I thought of them. In this series, his menus are all historically inspired and completely outrageous. The eras covered are Roman, Medieval, Tudor & Victorian. In addition to these, there is a 5th Christmas themed episode that features a meal derived from different centuries. I love that Heston is a true food scholar. He isn’t someone who is just interested in replicating another’s interpretation of a recipe. He researches the time periods, ingredients, and cooking methods in order to bring forth a complete experience, as well as a superior meal, for his guests.
The first episode, Heston’s Victorian Feast, is probably my favorite. The 6 layer drink inspired by Alice in Wonderland is so neat! I wish I had a reason to try to make it myself. The presentation of the mock turtle soup is brilliant. I am honestly surprised that no one has tried to market it yet, because there are a myriad of shapes and soup flavors you could make with the same technique. The edible garden is beautiful, but with my extreme dislike of insects I think I could live without the fried bugs, with or without the onion creme filling! The final dish of the Absinthe jellies was so fun! We have experimented a little with jellies ourselves, but never with the absinthe additive.
The second episode features eats from Medieval times including pigeon pies and lamprey, neither of which really did much for me personally as a finished product, but learning about their origins was interesting. I like the chocolate candles, chocolate flatware and fondant napkins. The idea was cute and it kind of looked a bit convincing. My favorite course was the meat fruit, though. It looked awesome and most of it sounded tasty (except for the bulls’ balls plum).
Heston’s Tudor Feast is next with something we all know and love: Butterbeer! I’m not too sure about the frog blancmange, not because it’s frog, I’ve had frog, but the texture of this seems like it might feel weird. The cockentrice display seems bulky and forced, however the background about it was interesting and the completed dish sounded delicious. The idea isn’t that far out there either, remember “turducken”? at the end Heston gives us a little more trickery for the eyes with bangers and mash with peas actually made out of rice pudding and fruit puree.
Number four, Heston’s Roman Feast, didn’t pique my appetite as much as the previous episodes. The pigs’ nipples and calves’ brains just didn’t seem appealing to me. I don’t like pork rinds and I think the texture of the brains would have done me in, personally. The Trojan pig looks incredible, as do the ejaculating cakes. Not my favorite episode, but still very informative.
The fifth and final chapter in this crazy food story is the Christmas episode! Everyone knows I LOVE the holidays, but starting things out with ambergris (spoiler: Whale puke) wouldn’t be putting me in a cheery mood were I one of his guests! lol Things continue to get weirder from here when he makes door mouse meat filled white chocolate mouse lollipops. Thankfully for his guests, he levels things back out with a fairly “normal” dish of venison. The final display is a completely edible winter wonderland that is just absolutely lovely!
I highly recommend this series if you are a foodie or just love history. These shows are available on DVD and there is a Youtube channel, Heston’s Feasts, that has most of the episodes free for viewing (in parts). The website features recipes, video clips, photos, a blog, a bunch of little articles and tons of information about the history of food.