Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Do you remember what you had for lunch last week? Last year?

Well, in my case, I never forget what's launched into my mouth because if it was worth remembering, I record it.

This is something my boyfriend discovered early on in our relationship and it has taken him a while to get used to and accept over the years. I've always thought it entirely normal. It's not just my food, but his food, other peoples food, food at dinner parties, sometimes people in restaurants' food, food I see on the side of the road, or in a shop, it all gets photographed - nothing escapes the net - food that's still alive or that looks repulsive, even better phallic (this of course is normal and also extends to plants, vegetables, sweets, furniture well anything really that's looks remotely like a willy and is therefore hilarious).

Generally, food that looks wonderful and appears in large quantities excites me. I think because I am one half Naylor-Leyland one half Lambton, and as far back as I know, we have all been extremely greedy. My grandfather ate scalding hot melted cheese with a fork (i wish he'd used a spoon because it always went all over my head); my grandmother whipped cream out of a brandy snap cornet; my brother ate half an entire brie once (yes those Frence ones, 12 inch in diameter), hallucinated for 8 hours, cried and thought he was going to die (but didn't I'm glad to say); I have on more than one occasion been taken to the doctors with suspected appendicitis (which turned out to be indegestion - unbelieeeeevably embarrassing); my father has had the Heimlich Maneuver administered on him on various occasions due to swallowing without chewing; and I don't think my mother would ever speak to me again if I told you what she got up to when no one's in the kitchen.  So my obsession with food is actually not my fault but can be blamed on genetics, or just simply and fairly, like everything, on my parents.

So here goes with the most exciting food encountered (and where necessary explained) by me over the past 18 months. It goes in a kind of 'Yum to Yuk' order:

The argentinian way to eat/crucify your sheep, yet this was on someone's lawn in Wiltshire. Deliciously succulent, not dry at all and rather beautiful even if it did remind me a little of an ovine Jesus.


My egg and bacon salad for 10

The close up

These magnificently voluminous sugary bosoms I discovered at the front of a Pasticceria in a hilltop town in Umbria. It took some persuading me not to pack them in my suitcase as presents. In hindsight I may have been well advised.

They sure were!
A delectable jean stand at the Village Bicycle boutique in London

Its close up. Think I used to dream about swimming through this as a child.

Wonderful little pastry cakes I found in the Siam Centre in Thailand just before it was blown up by rioters

Now time for some less ravishing but no less fascinating looking food photogrpahy...

This dainty dish below was a type of Thai fondu we foud on the side of the road (at a street restaurant just outside the night market in Bangkok). Although it looks a bit terrifying, it was in fact delicious and an ingenious alfresco type of cooking I'd not come across. You start with a dense lump of pig fat which is placed at the top of this grated pyramid, underneath which are red hot coals, then as it melts, it coats the pyramid in fat ready to receive your first bit of meat or fish.

Then came the slightly terrifying bit - the buffet choice! 
Up at the buffet table were rows and rows of little iced tupperware boxes filled with every type of meat and piece of fish you could imagine and a hell of a lot we couldn't. Slices of beef, lamb, chicken, pork, squid, prawn, octopus, puffer fish, pink fish, bits of fish still with eyes and some terrifying objects that looked like the innards of an octopus but were we 'think' tripe - going by the gesticulations and noises of the resuranteur's sons who tried to explain by pointing to their stomachs and made a sound that sounded a bit like a moo or an oink... might've been a eeyore and a whoof, but we sort of blocked that possibilty out. 
Either way, we were squeamish - and tried it all!

Here I am, living up to my reputation - eating so quckly I'm actually blurred
About 15 dips and sauces were available and as we found out, the best plan was not to ask but to try, although one was so hot I had to ask for something to cool my mouth down. Gesticulating, 'it's hot in my mouth -help!' by panting and waving your hand in front of your mouth, whilst your eyes and nose are watering, evidently doens't mean the same in Thailand though, beacuse they looked puzzled for 10 minutes then finally went off to the kitchen and brought another little bowl (which i hoped might contain some soothing yoghurt or milk) of chilli.

The best part was the moat at the bottom, which had been filled with water to begin with and became a delicious bouillon by the end. Although by that point 'you've made your bed/bouillon, you've now got to  lie in it/eat it' sprang to to mind.

Charlie tucking into his 2nd 'Chicken Ceasar Salad Hot Dog' also from the Siam Centre, Bangkok. He thought he'd found heaven. 
Disgusting boy. Wrong wrong wrong.

Right right right

Now for the less than appertising....

These were alive and jumping. Fresh - I'll give them that.
Alive also - these giant clambering toads I found next to the veg and fish stalls in a little Thai village market. Perhaps they eat them like jacket potatoes over there...

AND LASTLY, food that's so repulsive it makes you laugh...

This was our Thai Airways breakfast, which tasted as bad as it looked
These delightful little 'soft' baguettes were being sold packaged on the dry shelf (NOT EVEN REFRIDGERATED - gahhhhhh!) at a Japanese food fair in London. So so digusting looking, give me a frogcket potato with baked beans and cheese anyday.

Suitably repulsed?
My job here is done.