Cured meat platter at the Bricklayers' Arns, Hammersmith London, August 2001

From: Bureaucrat Ben
Category: Other stuff
Date: 26 August 2001


Conversation is often awkward when out with workmates. Its not even lack of things to talk about, just a question of finding the right mode in which to talk, and having the cool and patience to wait for develop. The pub is noisy and trying to be cool like in the centre of London. There's art on the walls and flat screen TVs show what is something between advertising, hotel corporate blurb and art video on a too-short loop. Beer is fancy and pricey, the wine list is extensively described, and the kitchen is open. Our boss is kindly buying us drinks and making the conversational effort for us. Then my platter with cured meat arrives. Actually a seection of greek starters with chorio and some kind of ham added. But what an experience! Across the range of mutable, hummus and something auberginey, something avocado-y, the flavours sing out, strong and rich and toothsome. It is always great to re-experience something quite foundational, in this case the stron tang of garlic explains to me afresh the meaning of 'mouth-watering' - really nothing about anticipation, but the moment when the juices of your mouth and body gather and wash across the beach of a slice of soft bread dripping with oily salty garlicky flavour. The ham seems remote and distant, tender and soft and yielding, and the sausage, an enormous slice, is powerful enough to hold its own, thick-textured and chewy. Not all good meals come to an end so soon, only a chosen few. Bangers and mash (Guy Ritchie in reverse anti-snobbery in the same worthless aesthetic vein) are also superb.

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