It’s All Greek To Me

I travelled into Manchester on a warm and stuffy bus, the heat only adding to my lethargy. I’d had only four hours sleep due to the late arrival of the student due to stay with us. (Don’t ask. No really- don’t ask! My WordPress word count couldn’t take it.)

After delivering him safely to the academy I called for a quick early lunch at the food court in the Arndale Centre. Sporting different stalls offering food from many different countries, I opted for a  halloumi pitta from Zorba’s.

Don’t worry this isn’t a food post, I’m not that kind of blogger.

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I took a table and began to eat while reading the book I was currently in the middle of, maybe not a good idea whilst making a mess of myself with yoghurt sauce. A voice reached me from a neighbouring table: “Do you like Greek writers?”

I looked across to him whilst frantically dabbing at my chin with a napkin. He did indeed look Greek, but I don’t think he was one of Zorba’s workers. Perhaps an expat with a craving for home cooking.

Emboldened by the name of the food stall, I replied “I’ve read most things by Nikos Kazantzakis.”

“He is Cretan.”

I conceded that he was, and that I’d actually seen the author’s grave in Heraklion.

“Crete is not Greece,” my neighbour said firmly. And then he glanced down at my plastic tray. “And halloumi is not meat.”
You had to hand it to the guy, he certainly knew his stuff. Again I conceded the point, and briefly considered asking him for both author recommendations and favoured meat dishes but decided to cut and run. For no doubt English would not be Greek and my wife’s cooking would not be his Mother’s.

I packed both my book and lunch into my backpack and said a hasty goodbye, bus to catch and all that, making  my escape through the adjacent indoor fish market. As usual with the fish market it is your sense of smell that registers before your sense of sight, but then Conga eels, live mussels and all types of fish parts catch your eye, including, at the end of the display, a sign for Cod Flaps.

Cod flaps? What part of a fish could that be?

Surely not?

 

The Man Who Eats Roadkill

I recently read about a 72-year-old man who goes by the pretentious moniker of ‘Roadkill Connoisseur’.

He used to be a taxidermist, and would bring home roadside pickings to skin and stuff. Then he decided that instead of throwing the bodies away it would be frugal to start eating them. His palate has taken in all types of creatures such as badgers, polecats (their meat has a vile smell) and swans (tastes like mud). His freezer is crammed full with the whole gamut of British fauna.

In this day and age of recycling and trying to combat our wasteful habits there is a certain common sense to what he does. He does not like waste, and calls himself a freegan-he doesn’t pay for his meals. His vegetarian wife eats her meals upstairs to avoid a row. That is the secret to a successful marriage.  Relate take note.

Now I am sure you may be thinking he is just a harmless eccentric, and that his story is slightly amusing in a detached way. But then he goes on to say that his favourite food is labrador.

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Now that puts a different complexion on things doesn’t it? I know some of you discerning people who follow City Jackdaw have these lovely, cuddly dogs as family pets. All of a sudden, your cornflake laden spoon has frozen on its way to your mouth. Mid-dunked digestives have crumbled into your cups of tea.

I was uncertain as whether to tell you that he says Bouncer tastes a little like lamb. But in for a penny in for a pound.

The thing is, he isn’t actually killing these animals. He isn’t even harming them. But could you do the same? If you was hungry? And you wanted to do your bit to save the planet?

Waste not want not.

Walking the East Lancs road must be like a finger buffet to our dear old connoisseur.

Which brings me to something else.

I also read the story of a man who lost a finger and part of his hand due to a motorcycle accident. He had always, even before banging his head, had a curiosity about cannibalism. But of course other people’s meat is off-limits (damn the law). His culinary opportunity arose when surgeons informed him that they would have to amputate his finger. Yes, you’ve guessed correctly. He took the severed appendage home and boiled it (the best way not to damage the bones) without adding anything to the broth that may disguise its true flavour.

Once consumed, he lovingly placed the bones in a box as a souvenir. His act has been greeted with disgust, but also, notably, with the approval of a vegan. Animals unsportingly do not give their consent to be eaten, whereas this guy gave consent to himself to eat himself. Partly.

What is wrong with these people?  Is it me?

There is no way I am telling my wife that this guy ate a part of his own body because he was curious and it was no longer of any other use to him. Not when she is clipping her toenails. My stomach just wouldn’t take it.

Enjoy your lunch.