Day 76: Food Fetishes

Food continues to preoccupy my mind. This is not unusual for me while at sea. Mealtimes are the punctuation marks in a day of rowing, and the anticipation is almost as enjoyable as the eating – in fact, sometimes more so.

My foodie thoughts today have been fueled by “Eating for England“, by Nigel Slater. I hadn’t quite finished “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” – I had got past his temporary conversion to vegetarianism, and he was just about to go out and shoot his hunter/gatherer dinner, when the iPod battery went flat and refused to recharge. So I’ve had to abandon Michael Pollan to his hunting in the wilds of northern California, and transfer my attentions to the cuisine of my home country.

Some people might think that “English cuisine” is an oxymoron, and admittedly thirty years ago much of our food was pretty bad, with a well-deserved reputation for school-dinner stodge, overdone beef and soggy vegetables. But we’ve come a long way, and English food at its best – or even at its most nostalgic – can be superb.

Nigel Slater’s book is an entertaining dash through the best and worst of English food, laced with personal anecdotes,
with an emphasis on nostalgic favourites, especially biscuits and sweets (US translation: cookies and candies), along with some less appetising traditional dishes such as tripe and faggots (erm, again, something may be lost in translation here, faggots in the English sense being a kind of meatball made from offal).

He made my mouth water with some of his descriptions – of scones with clotted cream, boiled eggs and soldiers, full English breakfasts, fish and chips, and other goodies not easy to come by in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I really shouldn’t listen to this kind of gastronomic pornography while at sea – most nights I have at least one dream about food, and now I’m daydreaming about it too. A big portion of (sustainable) fish and (organic) chips, with malt vinegar and salt, NOT ketchup, and wrapped in paper, would go down extremely well right now.

Whatever you’re having for dinner tonight, please enjoy it extra-much as a tribute to me, as I tuck into my rawfood crackers…. (see photo)

Other Stuff:

Today was rough, splashy and bashy, as I rowed across the waves. But I’m gradually making my way across the adverse current, and have now regained the ground that I lost over the course of the last few days.

I had technical problems with email last night, not succeeding in uploading my blog until this afternoon, and I haven’t yet been able to download incoming messages. So I haven’t yet seen the latest batch of comments, kindly sent to me each day by Aimee. I’ll catch up with them when I can.

Quote for the day: There is no love sincerer than the love of food. (George Bernard Shaw)

Latest Podcast now available. “Farmer in the Waves.”

Sponsored Miles: Louise McHale, Podcast Connect, Cynthia Ford, Louis Girard, Barbara Henker – thanks for sponsoring a good number of miles!