Happiness is discovering local foods, local specialties, local ways.
My four year habit of not buying food (preferring to scavenge, cultivate and steal) left my shopping chakra ….flaccid . Atrophied “Errand Faculties” are satisfied with mere Minstrels (M&M’s on steroids) and Hobnobs (delicious digestive crackers with a chocolate top).
Enter LongshanksBigLeggy, a woman with a knack for Just The Right Thing.
She pedaled across town the other day, and came into Helen’s swinging an orange plastic sack.
“I couldn’t help picking up a few treats for you” she said, pulling out bananas, clementines, and a pair of mysterious boxes. One said “Nairn’s” and the other said “Caboc“. To me, Nairn is the town where I sent a fan-mail to Tilda Swinton. Caboc, well, didn’t ring a bell.
Caboc was the find of the day…possibly the oldest cheese made in Scotland (invented by a chieftain’s clever daughter, if you’re to believe the wiki), a silky, buttery white cloud that melts into the dry herby crumb of the oatcake (that was the Nairn’s thing…a dry dry round of crunchy oaten goodness (well, I love oats). To my tongue’s lipidometer, it felt like a double cream. The little Caboc log of cow’s milk cheese was rolled in oats like a christmas log.
Nairn’s oatcakes are splendid, but please don’t eat them dry, and especially not while lying down reading. You’ll aspirate a vicious crumb and die a horrible death.
Which brings us to the tea. Leggy’s selection included a fine Kenya tea that reminded her of her Malawi childhood and a rose pouchong that reminded me of the gallica roses lining the cycle path to Portobello.
A pot of each, plus the cheese, Nairn’s, and some oranges….the core of the unpretentious Scottish palate. Only whisky was missing, but I have to wait until Tom Morton turns me onto that…I require expert advice in these matters.