Well, this is beyond embarrassing. When I moved to London in September 2011 I had every intention of blogging about my eating experiences in the land of fog, and also of catching up on a rich backlog of Calgary posts.
I dutifully captured dishes with notes and photos whilst missing my favourite Calgary restaurants and bemoaning my UK state of lack. I went in search of good, cheap eats, the best coffee (incidentally these are run by Aussies or Kiwis). Got disappointed with how challenging it was to find consistent quality food at reasonable prices (the set lunch at dinner by Heston Blumenthal is an absolute-must for affordable fine dining).
Much of it has to do with scale and the sheer number of restaurants found on every street. In Calgary I was connected to the eating scene and had to be as a food writer and critic. Here I was formless, free-floating and woefully, no longer upper middle class. And upon touching down at Gatwick airport, still not exactly sure of why London was calling. I just knew it had. And I had listened.
Other things happened that I couldn’t anticipate. In London, I resolved to write plays, fiction, scripts — to indulge in the things I’d always wanted to write but couldn’t while scrambling to meet editorial deadlines. I embraced this selfishness, because let’s face it, life is short. I’ve also been fulfilling a previously closeted dream of acting for theatre, film and TV (still can’t believe it). Been wooed by the innumerable free museums and galleries. Trying to settle in, re-frame, transform.
While this all sounds very vague, what it simply comes down to is a distinct, unexpected disconnect from wanting to relive the experience of eating as I was once apt to, in order to doubly enjoy what was. I realized that in some ways, I had filled a void with food, literally and metaphorically, the space being taken up now by art: a different kind of feeding of the soul.
The pure sensorial overload, instant gratification and being-in-the-moment-ness of eating and subsequent reflections that was essential to my life in Canada is no longer the foreground. It’s now rounded out by the very breathing in of myriad fantastically ineffable experiences of 2012. Here, I’m finding clarity within the London fog and the ether trail left by literary giants of western civilization, immersed in stunning architecture, rich history, easy connections to exotic locales.
I very quickly became unrecognizable to my former self…less critical, less anxious, less meat-eating. Although I feel more alive than ever, greedy to take it, and more, all in — it is my most sincere wish that each of us can pursue and find our calling — I’ve also, paradoxically, become way less hungry. One thing’s certain: I did not come to London for the food! Like many things you say goodbye to, goodbye is never forever.
Thanks for understanding and hope to eat again for you soon,