Tuesday, April 17, 2007


A few moons ago I was in charge of planning a banquet for a DAS weekend. For those not au fait with such events, in brief, about thirty or so hungry and thirsty assorted Vikings and Saxons get together in a hall after a hard day's killing each other, in order to quaff as much ale and mead that will fit in their horns, and stuff themselves silly with whatever foodstuffs are available.
Back in the Dark Ages, planning such a banquet was rather easier. What you did was harvest as much food as you could and go hunt down a couple of boars for a spit roast, but nowadays, if you want to do such a feast as authentically as possible, you have to research what was available at the time, and it's not everyday you find wild boars running around London. Foods such as potatoes and tomatoes are a no-no, as they hadn't been invented back in the 9th century.
So, what to do in order to impress at the do?
I decided to venture down to Borough Market a couple of weeks before the event in order to get some ideas and prices, and took a then friend along with me to help with the inspiration getting.
After a hearty lunch, (it is never wise to go food shopping when hungry) we hit the stalls, did our best not to get distracted by chocolate, and began sniffing about in earnest.
After an hour or so I'd managed to find where to get a whole side of venison, a ready-to-roast pig, all the authentic vegetables I could need, and also a rather tasty bottle of mead*
But I was still stumped for something special for the smörgåsbord I had planned.
I already knew where to get some excellent cheese and duck eggs, but I wanted to push the (long) boat out with something that no-one else had had on the menu.
And then, I found it. The best fresh fish stall in the market. My mind raced at the thought of preparing my own pickled herrings and serving them with crayfish and mussels, but then I saw something really special.
I really, really should have thought before I called out to my friend who was standing a few feet away from me, in a loud voice,

"Hey, I've just realized, I can give everybody crabs!"

Exit one Misty, pursued by sense of burning shame as the crowds part before her in an effort to stay clear in case of contamination.
I still haven't been back to Borough Market.

*For me, not the banquet.