I’ve never really been that into food. Sure, the sort high quality food you can get in a swanky restaurant or hotel definitely gets me interested – such as a trip to my local Aagrah curry house. But things like going to a carvery, or eating pie and peas, or fish and chips or any of that sort of thing doesn’t enthuse me at all. They’re bland, average, uninteresting meals that I consider fuel rather than any kind of interesting eating experience and you’d never catch me fantasising about pouring gravy on a Cumberland sausage and mash. This attitude didn’t prepare me well for when I moved to Yorkshire however…
When I was originally courting my good lady we’d go out for meals with her parents or her family and the thing I noticed was that they talked about food all the time. We’d be eating a meal and they’d be discussing the next meal they were going to eat in intimate detail. I thought maybe it was just them but every Yorkshireman (and Yorkshirewoman for that matter) seems to be exactly the same. A conversation about a recent holiday in the sun can go along the following lines (you may find it easier to read the conversation aloud as I’ve tried to use the correct regional dialect where appropriate):
ME: “I say, how was the holiday? Did you get some jolly good sunshine?”.
THEM: “Oooooo. We ad a raaaa’t good taaam. The food were raaaa’t luvly. On the first naaat they ad plates of sausages as far as the eye could see. And buckets o’ gravy. And the potatoes – eeeeee. They had roast, boiled, jacket and loads of others I’d n’er seen before. Then we had a full English the next morning and the bacon were to die for! And then we went out for lunch at an all-you-can-eat carvery and……..”
ME (CUTTING IN): “Goodness me old bean, that sounds interesting! So did you go to <Insert Landmark Here>? I hear it’s one of the 7 wonders of the world and is quite a sight!”.
THEM: “Ye, it were alright. But on t’way back to t’hotel we saw a raaa’t good English pub in t’middle of <Insert Foreign Country Here> and we ordered scampi and chips and it were bloody luvly, joust laak home…….”
By this point my mind would have wandered off somewhere while they spent the next 10 minutes telling me about every piece of food they’d eaten without actually telling me a thing about the holiday.
I was brought up talking about pretty much everything except food when at the dinner table. Such topics could include any of the of the following:
- How our respective days went
- Some interesting piece of gossip or news
- My brother and I winding my dad up
- Being shouted at by my dad about our table manners
- A frosty silence
- My brother and I winding up my dad some more
But sitting talking, obsessing, fantasising about food would definitely not be one of them. Food just isn’t that interesting! I initially found it a culture shock sitting eating food and everybody talking about nothing but food.
However over time I’ve managed to adopt a strategy that allows me to blend in as though I were a Yorkshireman myself (albeit with a very un-Yorkshire accent). Instead of talking about blandiose food (note: I’m pretty sure I invented the word blandiose many years ago but I note that someone else thought of it too) I try to steer the conversation to food of a higher quality and reminisce about fine meals I’ve had in some lovely restaurants. Unfortunately the experience has slowly changed me and I now find myself eating out with friends who’re not from Yorkshire and having to stop myself talking about food!
You know what they say, “when in Rome….”. And I hear the food’s raaa’t luvly too! 😉