A year ago I began to dip my toe in the food blogging world and now I’m paddling. As I discover more and more food blogs, I can see that I have lots to learn and there are many directions that can be taken in this very dynamic little corner of cyberspace.
The year began with a Food Writing Course with John & SallyMcKenna (Bridgestone Guide) at Ballymaloe Cookery School and I was lucky enough to attend again last Saturday, this time with Ross Golden-Bannon (Editor Food & Wine Magazine).
It was about this time last year too, that I discovered a wonderful little cafe in Mallow called Moda which I’m sorry to say has since shut its doors. In its place however a little way down the street, is the newly opened ‘Springfort Hall Shop & Cafe.’ When we looked in the door, the limited seating was packed and on our return a half an hour later we begged to share a table in the still crowded cafe. Seating is limited but that was lunchtime and the tightness of space renders a cosy ambience wherein you cannot fail but get a sconce* at what everyone else is having.
Writing this reminds me of something I witnessed in the cafe of Marks & Spencer’s two weeks ago. I was reviving myself after a battle through the streets with my shopping bags and sitting at a table for two. It was a busy lunchtime and tables were being shared left and right. In front of me two ladies sat opposite each other at a table for four. An elderly lady approached their table with her tray and was just about to sit down when one of the women looked up and said “Would you mind sitting somewhere else, we are having a private conversation.” My jaw dropped along with those around me and the scolded lady looked in shock as she redirected herself to share another table further back. Soon enough she was gesturing to her husband, who had to meander his way through the tables to join her with the use of a walking aid. Meanwhile the other two ladies had left so there was no chance of ear-wigging in on their “private conversation.”
I for one, would much rather be in a bustling and crowded cafe than a quiet one. It means you’re out, you’re living, you’re partaking and sharing the common experience of that environment. I love to watch other people and make up stories about them in my head. You read their clothes, their faces, their bags and you paint a picture of their lives. And that’s just looking at them, if you get to hear snippets of what they’re saying all the better and I know that my ears weren’t the only ones that pricked when we were informed of the “private conversation” that was happening a mere few feet away but sadly out of my owl-like hearing range.
My one day stint at Ballymaloe saw me arriving back with Darina Allen’s Cookery Course under one arm and in the other a bag of crackers, Durrus Og cheese and Darina Allen’s very tasty Tomato & Chilli Jam. From Mallow I brought back a jar of Springfort Hall’s own-branded Red Onion Relish which worked really well with the crackers and cheese from Ballymaloe.
Til next time, Sheila.
*Sconce: (From the dictionary of Cork Slang by Sean Beecher)
|Construct:||Noun and verb|
|Use:||Give me a sconce at that.
Give me a look at that.
|Derivation:||Unknown, but probably old French ‘Esconse’ – lantern, hence ‘to see’. (Concise Oxford Dictionary).|