In this the 21st Century, I lived in my grandfather’s homeland, Westray, in Orkney. One November I opened my back door and watched The Merry Dancers aka The Northern Lights”. Was it November because it’s January now and there’s a great deal of fuss and beautiful photos about The Northern Lights oop North in mainland Britain? When I say fuss, I mean AOL news and Radio 3. Twas brillig. Aah the wind.
One July our polytunnel (the first on the island and built using old building bags .. tell me about recycling!) just got clean blown away and landed in another field. We weren’t expecting that, not in July. Local farmers retrieved it for us. In Iceland they’ll have said the Little People did it.
That polytunnel served us well with lush vegetables and the rearing of an exotic long shape, as seen by many of the older islanders and pronounced by them as “Cumber”. In the shop I’d be asked, “And how do you cook a marrow?” Diet of tatties, kale and mutton, see. Nowt wrong with that but the way the healthy eating hood patronise the urban masses would make you believe every farmer’s wife cooks a variety of green vegetables every day and munches on citrus fruits segmented into portions of course. Back to reality in urbanland, the cost of grub in Tesco soon put paid to all o’ that pseudo-science. Habits die hard especially where money’s involved. Remember that tin of beans in the larder, that tin you could rely on when every other thing was eaten before pay day, when your stomach needed food whether it were laden with GMs , processed glunk, colouring ? Luxury now; priced out of our commoner laps.
So many assumptions about cultures. So many prescriptions from others. So many stereotypes still (and unfortunately evermore in the project- funders’ grips. Who are these people?). The Healthy Food site in Hackney via Hackney Age UK is totally Caribbean and African in essence and promotion. We’ve explored cassava, yam, maize, pumpkin. Waiting for potatoes and cabbage. It will never happen. Never ever. Not a way to build multi-culturalism especially when up to this day fish ‘n’ chips are upheld in the urban myth as the daily food of white indigenes and dismissed, and together, by inference and facial expressions too, a whole culture. Good the woman who pronounced at “A Taste Of Hackney” that not all West Indians come from the same island. Let us celebrate the differences and learn something unstereotypical from the mix. Good the West African woman who said that actually “White English” food was missing from the props (?) list . Brave the woman who said the printed highlighted recipes only included African, Caribbean and one Jewish plate. Which communities are valued? Who feels devalued? We are building a weaker link.
Many times I couldn’t open the back door of my renovated 200 year old ‘hoos’ because the Westray winds are fierce. The fishermen, for there were no women, were able to tell the population of 473 to batten down their hatches when they knew which type of wind was coming. Magnificent nature. Bit different if you have to work in it.
“A Taste Of Hackney” suffered a setback yesterday (“just the one, dear?)… Duh! If you work with children in a school you need to be police-checked.
Other fish to fry…..