46 – World Food Fair

There was a factual error in my last post. It read that I was in Poland for Euro 2000. I wasn’t. I was in Nottingham watching the Belgium keeper let a shot roll through his legs. My great friend Stan contacted me last week as he couldn’t understand that if I was in Poland during the Euros, why wasn’t I with him in the Mexican Restaurant in Warsaw watching the same match. What! My brain’s exploding…

It took us a few minutes to clarify the situation. Neither of us were in Poland during Euro 2000. In fact, we were both watching the Holland vs. Belgium match together in my flat on Gregory Boulevard. It’s true that we both lived in Warsaw. But at different times. We knew the same people, the same bars, but never a glass of beer was shared between us in this great city. Stan’s reference to the Mexican restaurant was in fact the 2002 World Cup two years later.

But back to 2012. There’s a world food festival on in the city this weekend. The strap line on the advertisement boards around the city is: Tout le Monde Dans Deux Jours. With one glaring omission.

Last month on my birthday I went to Yorkshire with my dad. Hungry, we settled on fish and chips, mushy peas and a pot of tea in a restaurant in Leeds. I have nothing against Gabonese, Somalian, or even French food. But give me a meal better than the plate of fish I had for my birthday and I’ll eat my hat.

I can imagine the organising committee’s pitch: ‘We would like to promote all the world’s culinary delights. Except those of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.’ Garlicky murmurs of agreement echo around the halls of power.

I’ve just returned from this so-called World Food Fair and out of the 50 stands, not one was represented by the British Isles. They even had a German stand for fuck’s sake! Bratwurst and Sauerkraut served by men dressed in Lederhosen. Quite ridiculous.

Fish and Chips, Roast Beef, Fish Pie, Shepherds Pie, Toad in the Hole, Sausage and Mash, Steak and Kidney Pie, Beef Wellington, Chicken Tikka Marsala. Don’t you remember your gran telling you one of the above was for tea. Your gran being the greatest cook in history. Your snot covered face lit up like a Christmas tree as you scampered to the table knife and fork at the ready. But clearly Granny’s finest is not good enough for the Lyonnais.

I’ve come to like the French but this annoyed me. I mean Foie Gras is good, but not that good. I bet my fish wasn’t force fed for one. Tartaflette is also good, but Beef Wellington is better.

But despite my grousing, the festival was good. I’ve just returned, as fat as a house. Lots of free food. In addition, they had a band from each of the 50 countries represented. I saw a Lebanese folk band and an Algerian Hip-hop outfit. Both terrible. Stick to food lads. That was excellent. Especially the Lebanese fare. A type of kebab filled with cheese and meat and hot sauce washed down with a strange tangy drink made from raisins.

It probably explains why there were so many people. The lure of food. Especially as the French stall was bigger than everybody elses. Hang on, that’s an understatement. Everybody else had a stall the width of a toilet cubicle; the French had a marquee the size of Paris. What was the slogan again. All the world in two days. If you can find it behind our massive tent.

I’m exaggerating of course, the tent was only the size of a tennis court. The good thing though is that it’s open until nine. So I’m off for a free dinner and hopefully some wine. Then the pub for the footy. Saturdays in Lyon. Things could be worse.


One thought on “46 – World Food Fair

  1. stan says:

    My dad, who now lives in France ( and has done so for the last 14 years) commented on French eating habits. He debunked the whole thing about ‘ Haute Cuisine ‘ by explaining that most French people( or those with a French passport are actually quite poor and simply cannot afford the oh- so- famed cuisine.

    A quite ordinairy dish of let’ s say beef, veg and some salad can easily set you back 40-50€ in Paris, and that’ s without wine, dessert or ‘ service charges’.

    Round where he lives ( a tiny village, pop. 600), one of the most popular foods is a baguette filled with pommes frites and mayo, which sells for 1.75€…


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