Tuesday, 26 July 2011

All Tomorrow's Bellies.

it's unusual to be so well catered for at a festival. For many years, festival food for vegan people meant falafels or noodles, handled by greasy 'yeah I just picked up your food with the meat spoon, so what?' servers.

So it was with an inordinate amount of relief that we read the line-up of food choices for ATP's Portishead-curated 'I'll Be Your Mirror' at the weekend. David Bailey who runs the raw-food cooking courses for Saf - more on that later - was there in his handsome grey 'Wholefood Heaven' H-Van supplying Buddha Boxes - a quality-carb loaded box of brown rice, tofu, Thai curry and fresh crisp kale with an omega-based crispy topping. This, dear readers, sustained us through all of Saturday night's leg-challenging performances. Sadly, we were so busy shoving this down our throats we didn't get a picture. Oh well. You'll have to imagine it.

Alongside him was a pair of Antipodean chip-makers in floral aprons and pink sandals, offering 'Chunky Chips' in three sizes. Here is one of them, proffering fried potato. These were served with the usual array of condiments, but could also be served with vegan-safe gravy, mushy peas, beans or curry sauce (the vegan-ness of which I've never been able to verify - can anyone else?) We chose butterless chip unbutties. I'll willingly buy chips from a man who's comfortable wandering a festival for two days in one of these.

Round on the other side of Alexandra Palace stood the Taco Truck. It sold only two types of taco, the queue for which, like everything else, was big but not Glasto-hellish. Offering only two options seems like a good move - keeping it simple and light, with only one ingredient's difference - makes economic sense, surely. The tacos were fresh-made with either chicken or black beans, guacamole, salsa, onions and tomatoes, and sour cream and cheese which was not for us of course. But, for once, my request to make up the missing ingredients with something else was not ignored and seen as a chance to save a few pence, but was honoured with an additional generous spoon of guacamole. You'd be stunned at the frequency of rudeness this request is usually met with - as if the server is saying 'well, YOU'RE choosing not to have it - it's not our fault you're going to go without!'

Finally both days of the festival were begun with this slightly-better-than-adequate porridge made with soya milk from Jo and Al's in Finchley, en route to the Palace. Their range has expanded a bit since we last went in there about six months ago and were met with surly staff and a shaken head response to 'which of your things are vegan?' (you get used to this, but it doesn't make it any more acceptable). This time, there was porridge, pies, salads, a tart and massive fairy cakes with mountainous icing. So, if that little list is your idea of a good breakfast, head there.
We wish all festivals and big events had the carefully-curated choice of food spots that this one had, but we realise everyone isn't Barry Hogan, Geoff Barrow or Adrian Utley. There was something for everyone, and it was totally devoid of repugnant sponsorship and in-your-fucking-face beer advertising. Instead, just the gentle sense of the curators actually wanting us there, warm, fed and watered, and thus able to stand comfortably for the duration of every carefully-chosen band, and not broke and malnourished at the end of it.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this post, the chips and the porriage looked fit! Yummy!! Glad you had fun! :D


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