Friday, 25 May 2018

A dish of miga

I have mentioned Joan Aiken before. Repeatedly, in her writing, I encounter descriptions of food I have never sampled but long to, as a result of what I have read. Enid Blyton, too, often writes of food, appealing to children’s gluttony. More about her in another post. But Joan Aiken’s descriptions are often of more spartan meals than the joyous picnics and farmhouse high teas of Enid Blyton. For instance, in “Bridle the wind”, Joan Aiken’s hero, Felix, and his travelling companion have “a dish of miga” cooked for them by gypsies. This is how Felix describes it: “breadcrumbs steeped in water, sprinkled just with salt, then with hot oil in which garlic has been scattered”. He tells us that it is eaten with flat cakes of unleavened bread and cups of hot chocolate. Basic provisions: how these details enhance the raw sense of adventure.

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