September 29th, 2015


Wa'gwaan, me babber?

My Spanish PhD student (ex-student now, as far as I'm concerned) tells me that in Spain chorizo is never combined with chicken; at any rate, it's certainly not a Thing in the way it has become in Britain, where they are as inseparable as bangers and mash (which is to say, not entirely). Surely this is Spain's loss, though, for they go together very well. In fact, the other day I bought a chicken and chorizo Cornish pasty in a railway station - it was delicious.

Of course, the British have long had a way of domesticating foreign cuisines (Chinese and Indian most notably) and it's customary to look down on the bastardised results, but why is chicken tikka masala not as worthy of respect as the creations of any trendy fusion restaurant?

I've also enjoyed the recent rise of exotically flavoured popcorn. For years, we've made do with just a few flavours: plain, salt, sugar, toffee. Now, popcorn has suddenly become almost as diverse as crisps: I'm particularly partial to Portlebay's wasabi and ginger. Has this trend hit the States too, I wonder, or is it (like weird crisp flavours) more a British thing? Either way, I embrace it.

These thoughts were prompted by a graffito in St Paul's, in which a friendly camel enquires after the well-being of passers by in a way that combines Jamaican patois with Bristolian slang - thus nodding to the Somali, Caribbean and indigenous populations of that lively district. What's not to like?

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