Thursday, December 3, 2009

Meat Pies and Other Staples

One more post devoted to food. I can't resist.

Inside the Covered Market in Oxford are gourmet groceries galore. There is such pride and care in these stores. One gets the feeling that the butchers have been butchers for generations, that the tea is a legacy, and that Ben's cookies are absolutely the best in town. Ok, that's not a feeling, that's a fact.
Butchers hang fresh kills outside their doors and pile sausages in their windows, and the tea shop stores its tea in 90 year old Chinese canisters.

Now this is the kind of small agriculture I'm talking about. I mean look at it! It's not pre-packaged, it's not plastic-wrapped, it's not in neat little cartons, it's real, honest food that came from a farm, or a field, or - a duck pond. But it came from somewhere nearby, delivered by someone who was proud to have produced it.
Ok, enough of my waxing poetical about raw meat – here is my new favorite place in the world: Pie Minister.
Next to the ancient butcher and tea shops, Pie Minister is jarringly new. But there is nothing more traditional or comforting than a meat pie. And meat pies are all they do – with sides of mashed potatoes and mushy peas. Have I mentioned my unhealthy (literally) fixation on meat pies? Oh how I love them.

And I love all their variations too. Put anyting in a pocket of pastry dough and I'm happy. Incidentally, that is the exact recipe for a Cornish Pasty: anything wrapped in pastry dough. There is a very old joke that the Devil never dared to go into Cornwall for fear of ending up as a filling in a Cornish Pasty - since those Cornish wives would put anything in there.
Before I leave the subject of food, at least in Oxford, let me pay homage to my favorite mocha, found in Puccino's coffee shop just outside the Covered Market.As much as I have touted the improved tastes and culinary skills of the English in these last two posts, sometimes they revert back - behold this version of ... cheese fries with ketchup and mayo? Oh dear God, that's disgusting.


The Kid In The Front Row said...

I just read this blog whilst drinking a nice cup of tea. Mind you, everything I do is done with a nice cup of tea, except for when peeing - when I take a short break from drinking a nice cup of tea.

Lauren :) said...

mmmmm Ben's Cookies. mmmm Puccino's.

not so mmmmm... Why is the meat on the meat pie green??