I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a high immigrant population. This means that we have food of every kind here. There are Indian shops, Polish shops, Iranian and Afghani shops (often called “mesopotamian” for fear of stupid people), African, Chinese, Japanese, West Indian, Lithuanian, Arab and Persian shops. There’s even Australian and South African shops, for the homesick travellers (AKA bar staff).
When I first moved here, I was used to supermarkets and neat little corner shops. The first time I went in a shop and saw sheep’s heads and goats feet at the butcher counter I was, well, weirded out. Who cooks sheep heads? But obviously, lots of people do. I still don’t know how.
Now, these are my favourite shops. They have rows of food that I had NO IDEA what they are. Foul medamas, callalloo, kombu, ackee, garden eggs, daikon. What do they taste like? How do you eat them? How BRILLIANT is this?
And I’ve been here almost 18 months and I know that I love ya pears, that you make Japanese stock with kombu, that callalloo are greens popular in the West Indies. But I’ve still never had a garden egg or ackee or daikon. Or foul medamas. It’s going to take a little bit of nerve before I cook something called “foul”. But still. I WILL. And then I’ll find something else.
That’s the great thing about food. There’s always something else to try and something more to discover.