LONDON UK – It was about six years ago and my mother and I were about to leave her flat on Steeles Rd. in Primrose Hill. We were standing in the small hallway when she put on her new navy blue gabardine coat with a hood.
“Immaturity and hair dye keep me young.”
I’m repeating the title of this post for a few reasons: First, everything clever is worth repeating. It usually gets a good laugh – one of life’s giddiest pleasures, especially at my age. It’s true and unabashedly honest. It sums up what’s to follow – the announcement that I turn 70 in a few days. And last, it’s original.
My love of fish and chips dates back to formative years growing up in London, U.K., the historical home of this popular, populist, down-home dish.
In my early teens, I recall joining Girl Guides where we lived in the North London suburb of Finchley – then a white-collar, white-bread enclave where my Jewish family stood out like a sore thumb.
My mother Ruth Schachter (nee Nisse), age 88, is one live-wire.
She reminds me (and others) of the cute little old lady in the original “Ladykillers” starring Alec Guinness and a young, dashing Peter Sellers. White-haired and blue-eyed, that sweet, seemingly innocent, slightly scatter-brained octogenarian is far more savvy than she looks. ‘Nuff said.
My recent annual visit to London (U.K.) was the best yet. And, as a long-time defender of British food – yes, this in the face of doubters and haters who think gray roast meat and overcooked brussels sprouts typify that island’s grub – even I was surprised at the high quality of chow (almost) everywhere we ate.
The Greek dish called Kleftiko – basically lamb shoulder or shank braised in white wine, stock and herbs – is one of my favourite creations of all time. It originated with bandidos who cooked it under the ground so no one would know their whereabouts as they prepared dinner while leading a life of crime in the Greek countryside.
U.K. – In January, 2009, I wound up my annual trip to London to visit my mother with dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant York & Albany located at 127-129 Parkway in my favourite neighborhood, Camden Town.
Marion Kane has been a leader in the world of food journalism for a few decades. She is an intrepid populist whose work combines social commentary with a consuming passion for all things culinary. For 18 years, she was food editor/columnist for Canada's largest newspaper: the Toronto Star. She lives in Toronto's colourful Kensington Market and is currently a free-wheeling freelance food sleuth®, podcaster, writer and cook.