Aligning Appetites: food diary from an artist community, day 6
by Sean Roy Parker
Sat 14 Jan
Around 10 I bolt up in bed at the sound of the postman knocking at the door and accept someone's package. We have planned to go to Derby for the day and although we are already late to leave it makes sense to eat first. I toast myself a couple of slices of rye bread and use my stick blender to amalgamate lactofermented butterbeans and ajvar which I then spread on both. Atop the pink lumpy mix I placed sliced gherkins and, on one, a tiny fried egg medallion Sonia left me in the pan. All four people in the kitchen have a cup of sencha green tea with puffed brown rice, which we simultaneously cradle while sharing other obscure tea experiences. I am also fed half a banana after I clean the sides down.
In Derby the snacking immediately begins mere metres from alighting the bus. I get some wholefoods as a treat (spelt and walnuts) while Sonia gets superb plain crisps and ginger kombucha. Then we pick up off-brand baked goods on the way to the (closed) post office: veggie sausage roll, tepid, and cheese slice, piping, for a combined £1.50. We decide a mid-afternoon screening of Empire of Light holds the best chance of staying awake and get a coffee each to make sure. The classic M&Ms barely reach me, crispy ones get munched in consolation.
While deliberating a dinner spot we have a couple of rounds in Ye Olde Dolphin Inn and take a punt at walking across the city for a neapolitan pizza in the backyard of a hotel called Mr Grundy's. The labyrinthine reception rooms are full of taxidermy, navy uniform and rock'n'roll memorabilia, plus the obligatory red Chesterfield couches. It has the aura of Snoopers's Paradise in Brighton, a multi-storey junk shop / antique store that can easily swallow you and swap your money for tat. The landlord looks solid and sups a pint of bitter while making our round.
The pizza is very good; a fine charred crust; sweet tomato base; creamy imported cheese. The garlic mayo is bought in but surprisingly stiff and spicy. We also get fries to celebrate probably our only meal out this month. So full yet I'm thinking about getting limoncello, except we have to dash back across town for a rare bus.
I sip the hot water in my flask then chug cold water with lemon rounds from a ceramic pitcher next to the bed, completely satisfying my citrus craving.
Sean Roy Parker is a visual artist, fermentation enthusiast and community gardener based in Derbyshire, England. He writes on fermentalhealth.substack.com and posts as @fermental_health on instagram.