Thursday, 15 September 2011

A new Golden Age for the EU (and the US)

A Chef as the head of the European Union could be the beginning of a New Golden Age

We live in challenging times, to say the least. The present leaders of the European Union (and also the US) seem incapable of solving the serious financial crisis and other related problems that threaten western civilization. A completely new - or in this case old - approach is needed.

Why not learn from the Chinese success story (not the present one, but another somewhat earlier one)!: 

Ancient Chinese historian and astronomer Sima Qian (145-90 BC) pushed cooking to the next higher dimension in human history. He declared that Yi Yin, the earliest well-known prime minister to Chinese emperors, became prime minister because he was a fantastic cook.

Sima Qian, or Ssi-ma Ch'ien, wrote in his celebrated Shiji, or "Records of the Historian", that Yin was originally Ah Heng, a slave of the Youxinshi family. In due course of life as a free man, Yi Yen wished to convey to Emperor Tang his humble ideas on how to run the empire.
Yen, perhaps founder of the school of thought that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, arrived for the appointment with the emperor armed with his kitchen utensils. He proceeded to cook a feast so delicious that the sated emperor decided anyone with such outstanding ability to cook would also have an outstanding ability to govern the country.

Emperor Tang, according to official Chinese history, was right. Yi Yen did a good job as prime minister.

Other cooks flourished in ancient Chinese politics. Peng Zu, hailed as founder of Chinese cooking, became a confidant of one of the great Chinese emperors Emperor Yao, about 4,000 years ago.

Less time chewing food was converted into more time preparing elaborate feasts. Historical records say that imperial kitchens in the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-476 BC) had 22 departments and over 2,300 food and beverages staff. This is reckoned to be the golden age of Chinese cooking.

Read the entire article here

Think about the blessings of having the huge - and mostly uselesss - EU bureacracy in Brussels converted to food and beverages staff for a future new EU Chef President. There are now 33 or so departments (Directorates-general, DG), but the number could very well be reduced to 22, or less. There would not e.g. be any need for the Translation DG, because the language of haute cuisine is of course French.  (This is something the Francophiles are going to like!). But what should be done with the EU´s Climate Change Action Service, which is soon to be out of business anyway. Connie Hedegaard and her people could perhaps be offered jobs as dishwashers and cleaners. Former maoist José Manuel Barroso and haiku poet Herman van Rompuy will not have any problems finding new jobs - waiters are are always in demand.

As always in the EU, there is going to be a lot of internal fighting about who will be the first EU Chef President. The UK will probably insist on Gordon Ramsey, but his style of diplomacy may not be appreciated by all. Germany and France could therefore opt for a compromise candidate, like e.g. the Danish chef René Redzepi, whose Noma is the winner of the best restaurant of the year award, 2010.

My personal choice for Vice Chef President and Head Maitre´d in charge of customer relations would be Nigella Lawson.

Instead of being cought in a seemengly endlesss spiral of crisis, the European Union (and also the US) could  learn from China and head towards a New Golden Age under the stewardship of  bold new Chefs! All it takes, is to start the ball rolling and get the stove steaming!

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