Is it just us, or have you too on occasion turned your dinner party conversation to a debate on what the best carb is? Of course, it’s a bit of a two-pronged debate encompassing not only what the best carb is, but also what defines best – is it versatility, taste, widespread usage?
Whatever you might decide, here are my top five carbs and some thoughts you might want to consider next time the topic arises – do you agree, or do you have your own favourite to add to the list?
Warm bread, fresh out of the oven is hard to beat – especially once you’ve slathered on a multitude of fillings, spreads, or even just good old pure salted butter. But let’s be honest here; the stuff has no place at dinner other than to fill you up and prevent you from finishing your main course. And at breakfast and lunch, it’s simply a carrier for real taste and flavour, the overshadowed sidekick of the real deal.
You can’t have sushi without rice. Or risotto. Or paella. Or rice porridge, or even rice pudding (if that’s what takes your fancy, but you really should have graduated onto solids by the time you’re one). And what would the two and a half billion Chinese and Indians eat to keep up their productivity, thereby ensuring the rest of the world benefits from good quality fakes and disposable fashion?
There’s got to be a reason why pasta is the consumed meal type at home in the UK, and no doubt in many other countries outside of Italy as well. Just take a look around at the proliferation of Italian restaurants in every westernised culture, and you’ll soon see why spaghetti bolognaise and lasagna feature in almost every cooks repertoire. Delicious, quick, and able to be matched with a host of flavours, pasta really is all it’s cracked up to be.
Mashed, baked, fried, chipped, crisped, daupinoised, BBQ’d, sautéed, hash browned, curried – this versatile gem even has a toy based on its humble form, Mr Potato Head. Plus the Irish have such great accents, and they love the stuff. Enough said.
Noodles maketh the meal! I’m sure Shakespeare once declared after another tasty dinner, wolfed down between rehearsals at the Globe and sleeping with women dressed as men. These bad boys come in thick, thin, flat, curly, rice, egg, brown, white, yellow, dried, ambient, fresh, chilled. They can be fried, steamed, boiled, served dry, in sauce or with soup. You can even wrap them up in spring rolls, or deep fry them into a handy bowl shape in which to serve things in. And in almost every case, the noodles are an integral part of the meal, not just a flavour carrier or side. Convinced?