And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

søndag 27. februar 2011

The Great Exchange

                                       to compare
Great things with small
- Paradise Lost, John Milton (after Virgilius)

(...) to see so rich an Assembly of Country-men and Foreigners consulting together upon the private Business of Mankind, and making this Metropolis a kind of Emporium for the whole Earth.
- The Royal Exchange, Joseph Addison, The Spectator no. 69 (May 19 1711)

This weeked there was an international market in Parliament Street and I became aware of it by coincidence on an idle stroll Thursday afternoon. This made me very happy as I had looked forward to the international market ever since I came to York, remembering with pleasure the market from last time I was here. Since Thursday I have come to the market every day to feast on the various foodstuffs available there. Sadly time, money and capacity did not allow me to try everything, but what I did try I enjoyed.

During my visits I was perennially reminded of Joseph Addison's essay on the royal exchange quoted in the epigraph. I consider it a charming piece of writing despite of - or perhaps due to - its childish naïveté, and also very suitable for the occasion, although it is to compare great things with small. As Addison's Mr. Spectator I walked among the booths and took delight the variety of available options, the colourful sights and the delicious smells exuding from the vendor stalls.

He seems a bit disappointed that I didn't buy anything.

 As a friend of mine pointed out, everything sounds suspicious if you put "Dutch" in front of it. Be it pancakes, macaroons, donuts or handshakes, "Dutch" makes it sound quite nasty. I didn't try any of these things.

Thus Pontus sends her beaver stones from far;
And naked Spaniards temper steel for war.
- John Dryden's rendition of Virgilius' Georgics i.54

The rice was heavy in taste and texture and the spices were nicely mixed together. The portions were very generous; this is a medium-sized portion and I didn't even manage to finish it, although that could very well be mainly due to a recently-devoured burger.

 It is a bit disturbing that "posh pies" sounds like a pun on Posh Spice. I hope this was not intentional.

I can't recall exactly what they all contain or which pie contains what (except pork meat), but there is one with sage and onion stuffing (the one closest to the camera), one with onion relish and one with gloucester cheese, just to mention some of it. The two I have eaten so far were very good indeed.

This burger stall had a wonderful selection of meats and I bought one every day to try something new.

The ostrich burger. Its taste was quite bland, but fortunately very juicy and well grilled.

The kangaroo burger. Immensely rich in taste, this succulent burger was a thoroughly pleasant experience. The taste itself was unfamiliar but good. According to a friend of mine, studies have concluded that the kangaroo releases less methane than sheep and cattle and could therefore be a good substitute. After having tasted the meat I strongly approve of the solution.

The wild boar burger. Despite being less tasty than the kangaroo burger I still favour this one since it had a milder flavour more reminiscent of the game I'm used to from Norway, unsurprisingly. The burgers were, at least judging from the ostrich, not sprinkled with any additional spice and although this caused the occasional blandness mentioned, I consider it the best solution as this really brought forth the meat itself. The onion topping did not divert the meat flavour but rather underscored it.

And I thought to myself, 'a little fermented curd will do the trick'. So I curtailed my Walpoling activites, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles.
- The Cheese Shop Sketch, Monty Python

Here are both bread and cake for the people.

This picture was taken Saturday and I was told Gordon Kaye himself had been serving the day before. I was annoyed by this since I had been to the market that day, but I hadn't even noticed him.

Because of the Viking festival.

Even the Finns were represented.

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