An encounter with English food

One of the natives I have been in contact with has been offering to show me “some proper English grub” for several days. I was given to understand that this meant he intended to feed me. Yesterday, the rations I brought with me ran out, so I finally gave in.

The scientists have told me that, by happy coincidence, the majority of the natives’ food is perfectly safe for our kind. I simply needed to inform my host that I was allergic to nuts, tomatoes, pulses, mushrooms, gluten, lactose and dogs. His response was: “Don’t worry, none of that crap in my kitchen! Proper English food, remember?”

The plate held a steaming mountain of yellowy white with flecks of brown and a big dollop of green on the side. Nestled on top lay three fleshy cylinders, browned on top and grey on the sides. I poked one of these with my fork (a skewering utensil with several – usually 4 – prongs in a straight line.) and a greasy liquid trickled out from the puncture.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s bloody delicious, is what it is,” said my host, around a mouthful of brown and yellow. “Tuck in!”

His mountain was already down to a modest hill by then. Determined not to be rude and not to begin starving, I cut the end off a cylinder and put it in my mouth. Based on the shape and texture, I was expecting a vegetable, so I was pleased to encounter a savoury-sweet meatiness upon chewing. Encouraged, I devoured the rest of the cylinder in one mouthful. I thought perhaps this was an insect of some sort; the aforementioned ‘grub’.

“Good sausages, aren’t they? I got some of those fancy ones with 95% pork.”

This only made me wonder: if only 95% is pig, what is the other 5%?

Put off my sausages, I considered my other options. The green area gave off an unappealing odour and looked equally unappetizing. So I set to excavating the white mound. An initial sample proved it bland and starchy but quite inoffensive. Larger portions came with tiny, yellow-brown seeds, which sent a pleasant heat up my nose, and burnt-brown squares, which sweetened the white paste. These embellishments altered my opinion considerably and I said so to my host.

“Yeah, mash is a bit boring. I always mix in a little something with the spuds to spice it up… usually wholegrain mustard and caramelized onions, like today. Sometimes cheese, but I guess that wouldn’t work for you!”

Bolstered by these encounters, I finally braved the green mush. There are, after all, many foods that look and smell disgusting and yet taste wonderful. At least, that was my reasoning, but I still cannot think of any. It had the taste and texture of wet and mouldy tissue. While I was trying to wash down the layer left in my mouth, I had the discomforting feeling that the whole meal had been chewed for me.

“Not a fan of mushy peas, then? Oh well, they’re not for everyone…” said my host, scraping my green onto his plate.

“Peas… are a pulse,” I choked, just before my food splashed back onto the plate. It looked rather like it had before I ate it, only wetter and mixed around a little.

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Writing Excuses gives listeners a writing prompt each week. This week’s was: “Describe a food that is familiar to you from the point of view of a character who has never encountered it, nor anything like it.”

Greetings, the internet!

A blog, a blog, another blog.

The internet has more of these than you can shake a cliché at. Of course, clichés are an abstract concept, so you can’t really shake one at anything…

At the moment, this is mostly a way for me to be marginally productive as I, hopefully, recover from my illness. More on that in a later post, maybe. I just want to get into the practice of thinking and writing again. If other people are interested, great! It will feel less like I’m talking to myself.

I’ll probably begin by making short posts about books, games, TV, films and storytelling in general. I also hope to post a few stories of my own, which are cooking slowly at the moment. I tend to gravitate towards the speculative fiction genres. If you’re the sort to dismiss those blindly, this is no place for you!

The quantity and quality of posts should improve with time, as my brain limps out from its long convalescence.