Culinary History

Okra
A hangover cure from Atlanta

My sort of ex-wife asked me and my sort-of-ex-sister-in-law and one of my best friends in Australia (not that I don’t like MSoEW or MSoESiL, they’re lovely) to produce a Culinary Journey based on something she’d read on the Sydney Morning Herald. She sent her’s.

It was a good one. So was MSoESiL’s. My very good friend was too busy with a new job. So, I decided to respond. It was fun. Both ExMissus and ExSisInLaw’s were also very readable. I’ll see if I can get permission to post them here.

So, here’s mine.

1) Two fried eggs, pepper, chips, vinegar, salt: my dad was a man of simple tastes.

2) Sunday lunch of roast lamb, Rosemary, homemade gravy, buttered crunchy cabbage, roast spuds in the lamb fat, minted peas: The only meal I remember us sitting down to as a family with radio comedy on.

3) Lasagne: From about 1973 when my mum got past the Cordon Bleu collect’n’keep card set and found lasagna pasta and basil. Introduction to herbs and tomato sauce made with… Tomato!

4) ‘Chicken Caribbean’: crunchy breaded (I made the breadcrumbs!) chicken in soy and pineapple juices. Followed by Bramley apple and a lump of cheddar. My introduction to mixing sweet and savoury.

5) Doner kebab: Working at Paddington in London after leaving home at 16 I discovered food from all over the world from the other people working at the nationalized railway. Just off Praed St was a Turkish guy and his brother who made fresh doners for a 75p. Amazing. Fresh salad and tabouli went in after the sliced lamb. Enormous and not murdered by chili sauce.

6) Lebanese messe (mezze): as a student with pals, we used to head to Queensway, the other side of London, for this £15 ( for five of us) messe, which changed each Sunday depending on what they had, you all know the kind thing.

7) Brick lane curries at midnight. Kashmiri mostly. Subtle and not made to blow your head off.

8) Dalston fresh bagels with cream cheese at 5am after a night in the clubs with my mate Jaz.

9) Schwartz Brothers blue cheese hamburger in Bath. Remembering my London times with my first McDonalds in London’s first McDonalds on The Strand, the first Schwartz I had was incredibly different. Texture and flavour!

10) Fried chicken, grits and okra from a cafe in Atlanta. Previous night, playing chess and drinking cocktails in the Sun Dial revolving restaurant with a guy called Mike Gamble before going to play pool and drink beer in a place where you had to check your guns at the door, the cafe chicken and grits was a superb breakfast.

I didn’t get out of the 1980s. So, I think I’ll do another set of 10.

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