Of late street, or festival food is on my mind. Surely because I got a copy of Street Food (2007). I've read it, and browsed its photos and recipes. But was slightly disappointed that everything inside is so exotic. Oh, that's not bad. But it's nothing I can relate to. It's beyond my experience. Thus, it's lovely to look at, but a fair number of ingredients called for within its recipes are not readily available in my local grocery store.
At first glance, this is one of those coffee table cookbooks. The author is Tom Kine, of London, and this is not his first book. There being a large Indian population in London, Kine forwent the travel to the far east and sampled Indian food on his own streets. Isn't that cheating, a bit? Surely the Indian food one eats in England has been Anglicized? Much as Mexican and Chinese food are dumbed down for us Americans.
I took the book along to my podiatric appointment; there's some funkiness in my foot and Blogless Amy recommended her seersucker-suit wearing podiatrist. I cannot resist a seersucker suit. When the podiatrist saw what I was reading he asked what I was making for dinner. Unfortunately, I answered "Nothing from this book," quite because of the aforementioned reason of lack of access to ingredients.
Kine's book covers India/Sri Lanka. Always loved saying Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka. Then on to Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southern Europe, and lastly the Middle East and North Africa. What's missing? Oh, the United States, of course. That made me wonder whether there isn't any tasty street food in our country. Having never lived in a metropolitan urban environment, I've never dined street-side from a vendor. But I saw those hot dog men pushing their Lucky Dog carts round New Orleans. Didn't get one. I mean, a hot dog pales in comparison to a po boy or a beignet.
Street food, in my experience, is associated with fairs and festivals. Of late, the turkey leg makes an ominous appearance at my local fair. They've always appeared at the more historic fairs, like the eighteenth century trade faire at Ft. Loudon. But the local fair has regular food: Hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, corndogs, and an assortment of deep-fried sugary things like Oreos, Twinkies, and other snack foods. Can't say I've dipped into that. And yet, my favorite festival food is one that I don't often indulge in anymore. The funnel cake. Funny that it's associated with the PA Dutch when I've always considered it the ultimate southern treat.
Over the weekend I spent two days hanging out at the Sycamore Shoals Celtic Festival where the fare leaned toward the Scottish. One of the vendors offered Scottish Eggs, which I didn't try. Fish and chips was another menu item.
Yet I went whole hog and tried the Haggis and chips. They cannot legally sell traditionally prepared haggis in the sheep intestine. So my haggis was a blend of meat with grain. I didn't ask for the specifics.
Next day Ian and I indulged in one of our most favorite things: The Corndog. These weren't footlong Fannie Farkles, but they were hot out of the deep fryer and easy to polish off.
Besides the emphasis on deep-fried, there were other vendors at the festival. Barbecue was on hand. Another tent offered wraps, gyros, taco salads. And there was a baker. I bought Eccles buns for my in-laws and had a scone with strawberries and cream for breakfast. It was good, but I'd rather not have strawberries swimming in sauce. There was no choice in the matter. Must say the scones were not as good as the ones that I make. But none of the baking was done on site. It was bagged up and ready to go home with a buyer.
But back to the book. One of the Latin American/Caribbean recipes is for Pudim de abobora or, pumpkin pudding. It's almost pumpkin time. We love pumpkin here. And the recipe is super easy. I have the ingredients on hand, except for the light cream/half & half. It's baked in a ramekin which makes it super easy for portion control. I know what I'm making for tonight's dessert.
The photos and food styling in this book are awesome. Mouth-watering, even. And I love an index. It's a necessity in a cookbook. Instead of leaving you with just a bunch of recipes, Kine finds common threads among disparate cuisines and pulls them together in a series of menus compiled in the last few pages. His anecdotes are fine, as well. The sensory descriptions are just enough to make you feel as though you're making a personal connection with the food and its people.