Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Let’s face facts.  Even though the term “chindogu” was coined in Japan…even though the concept was refined and the Society founded by an American…even though there are German, Dutch, French, and Finnish evangelists who have tirelessly championed the art form…more fan letters come from the UK than any place else.  Yes, there are more people familiar with chindogu in the British aisles than there are anywhere else in the world.

This could be because the British have good taste and are remarkably forward thinking.

Or it could just be because of Hugh.

Hugh attached himself to the International Chindogu Society early on.  He became something of an ambassador helping to unify the odd world that is chindogu with the odd world that is the United Kingdom.  And he punched up the recipe with a few sprinkles of cheesiness and a dash of wit.

Chindogu is not a dish one serves wearing a clown suit.  The enjoyment of the art lies in the universal comic tragedy of well meaning doodads that really want to be useful, but just don’t quite make it.  We like chindogu in rather the same way we like the little tramp character that Charlie Chaplin played so well–the tramp does his best, he tries, but we just have to smile when he takes a fall because that’s part of life.  Chaplin’s tramp isn’t clowning about for laughs, yet he does give us a smile every now and then to remind us that it’s okay.

This is Hugh’s take.  You don’t cry when your soufflé collapses.  You smile instead.

Perhaps there’s something very British in that.  They once had an empire that covered a fourth of the globe.  It collapsed.  But they kept smiling and they’re the better for it.