Reputations have a long shelf-life. As I prepared to come to England people warned me that the food is not that good and encouraged to go to France for food. Well, the foodies came to town this week and set up camp in the city centre. This weekend is the end of The York Food Festival.
The photos speak for themselves. I’m no photographer but I think I got enough for you to see there is no danger of bad “vittles” in these parts. York leads the country in organic, sustainable agriculture. Many of the people in the booths grew what they sell or at least know the people who grew what is in the booth.
As one man explained to me (yes, I’m still talking to people) that when the hoof & mouth epidemic broke years ago people cast about to find what else they could do to sustain the farms. The products you see in these photos are the results of that tragedy.
The smells of roasting meat in the air people walking about with their children and their dogs amidst tents and booths looks a little like the Grove in Oxford might this weekend. No marching bands but the street musicians do what they can to keep the party going.
I was born in 1951 and reared in the nineteenth century. The houses of Elizabeth Leary prompt my memory. They remind me of my great-grand father’s farm house. I grew up a mile from this house where great uncle Byrd, his wife Lila and his unmarried sister Myrtie lived during my childhood. Uncle Byrd (named for Admiral Byrd) was a bugler in World War I.
As a child I remember sitting in the front room of the house visiting the old folk with my dad. Sitting there in front of the fire in Winter the conversation would trail off and a comfortable silence would settle in — the wordless communion born of long intimacy — the ticking of great-grandfather John’s clock marking the time. It is one of the powerful memories of my childhood. After years of looking I found a clock that added a ticking to my office. It is an old Ansonia clock that does not keep perfect time but does remind me of the sound of my childhood in that house in the country-side of Alabama.