This week begins with an admission, an admission that there’s one element of writing Table Talk that I’m beginning to struggle with. Recent weeks have seen questions land in my inbox asking if I had consulted any fishmongers prior to asserting it took five minutes to fillet a fish, others querying how small the bag of carrots that I was intending to peel was…
Scraping the barrel or the perfect unit of time? The debate continues
If I’m completely honest, I’m running dry on that front and I need your help. I would love to hear from you with suggestions for the Reading time opener, the first thing you lay eyes on when opening Table Talk each Wednesday lunchtime. Answers on a postcard, please.
🌶️ Your Favourite Restaurant You’ve Never Been To… 🌶️
Harking back to the first ever edition of Table Talk (#1), this is a section dedicated to those spots that hold an unusually elevated position in one’s mind. Today’s focus - Xi’an Impression - possesses an even greater hold over me owing to the fact that it’s BYO, an understandably growing rarity in London’s restaurant scene.
Taking its name from the central Chinese city of Xi’an, capital of the Shaanxi province and home to the world famous Terracotta Army, this husband and wife creation exists to challenge the narrative around Chinese food. Given that our tastes have become attuned to the more readily available Sichuan, Cantonese and Hunan offerings that populate British towns and cities, Xi'an Impression promises to blow those notions and your tastebuds out of the water.
That’s just one challenge that exists amongst many others - getting a seat, deciphering the menu, deciding how far you’re willing to stretch your stomach - in the pursuit of gluttonous glory. Supposedly all require concerted effort, but to bastardise a JFK quote, we do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
So in the next few weeks, why not text a friend, grab a bottle of your favourite plonk (alcoholic or not) and make the journey to Highbury? Something tells me you won’t regret it, I may even see you there…
🥧 Are You Taking The Piss?! 🥧
Having recently suggested to someone that “the proof will be in the pudding”, I felt a lightning bolt pass through me as I realised I had this week’s section all sown up. Pressing on, it’s time to spill the beans (#13) on the origins of this week’s foodie phrase.
Upon hearing the word “pudding”, our minds immediately jump to images of luxurious, sweet and decadent dishes, swimming in custard or covered in cream. Well if that’s your experience, count yourself luck as that wasn’t always the case.
A far cry from its Middle Ages equivalent
Harking back to Medieval times and even into the modern era, puddings were often a concoction of innards, blood, currants, cereals and spices - essentially whatever people could get their mitts on at the time. As you might imagine, food safety and preservation techniques were somewhat different to the present day, meaning that when eating such a dish, you really did take your life in your hands.
Knowing this helps us to understand the proper version of the phrase - “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” - with the puddings in question being more similar to a haggis or the variations you find as part of a gut-busting Full English. Knowing what you know now, be sure to leave some room and savour those delectable modern day delights.
🥪 In A Rush? 🥪
If all this talk of deliciously heavy food is making you hungry, but time isn’t on your side this week, check out this brilliant list of the best sandwiches in London, clear half an hour in your diary and make your way to your nearest outpost.
Excited to continue the conversation next week,
PS. Don’t want to wait a week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine).