Walking around the streets of London after work is usually connecting point A with point B through a number of footsteps. Eyes are tired from staring at a screen, feet in pain from standing all day, brain full of the little details you forgot, or can not stop remembering. All the senses fast asleep in a fast-paced walk that is purely functional.
I was on my way home, adding a list of task on my iPhone for the evening and tomorrow morning, frown set above my eyes, tummy rumbling for a quick food fix.
You see, after a whole day, there are times that you can not go home and cook- you don’t want to. You just want to eat something that will fit your absent-minded experience, a snack that will fill you without distracting you from your distractions. Something that you can chew while thinking about the day, or slurp while you are watching the same episode of the Big Bang Theory on E4 that you saw last week.
And here I am, distracted from my absent-mindedness. The smell is absolutely mouth-watering. I can smell barbecue, and lemonade, and sweets (yes, I am very hungry, my senses are heightened to Superman level). As I register the smell, the frown disappears, and my eyes dart around the street to find its source. I find myself turning on a different corner, into a street I have not been before; how can I pass from here everyday and not notice how beautiful it is?
Soon, I hear music, and laughter, and the kind of oohs and aahs only good food can produce. As I walk to the end of the street, I see a crowd sitting in the middle of a circle made by food stalls, and a live band in the corner entertaining the hungry audience. I see the sign in the entrance: Waterloo Quarter Food Festival, and as I hear my stomach’s excitement, I realize that I am sitting on the wrong end of the street.
A few steps inside, I spot food stalls from some absolutely amazing pubs, restaurants, bakeries and patisseries. I grab my GastroPassport, and look at the amazing range of events, discounts and offers it has (with a lovely design in the end for food travel stamps and competitions). I look around me and smile.
A huge selection of colour and taste from Indian Brasserie Bangalore and Turkish Restaurant Tas; a touch of Cuban flavor from Cubana; a brilliant selection of products from Greensmith; a healthy offering of alcohol from Auberge, Jack’s Lounge Cocktail School and La Barca; the best of both worlds from the Three Stags gastropub; and last, but not least, one of my favorite cake shops, Konditor and Cook, with their signature cupcakes.
I am now sitting in the middle of the festival, taking in the live music from Candythief, eating a delicious combination of flavors, savoring each bite. I am trying to remember what had me worried just 10 minutes before, but I am enjoying my food to much to care.
In a celebration of food, I realize that food can be a celebration of the everyday, of the small moments that go in with the ingredients; the ability to escape the mundane and make it special; one mouthful at a time.