Another little blog update on our holiday in Kintyre. This one about food. Food is very close to our hearts in the Drane household. We are one of these families who talk about what we are going to be eating for meals all the time and if we are not talking about it someone in the family is thinking about it. Between me and my husband we have a whole bookcase in our kitchen devoted to cook books and hand on heart although we have books in our house that are never looked at our cook books are not one of them. We simply love food.
In saying that by the time the holiday came my va voom re cooking was at a low ebb. We split cooking in our family quite simply I cook Mon to Friday and sometimes at lunches at the weekend and my husband tends to do Saturdays and Sundays and special occasions. Special occasions entail dinner parties and all festive and party occasions. Plus if you read this blog on a regular basis you will know that my husband is a great baker and usually bakes over the weekend too. This suits us as I get a break at the weekend and my husband can then take over and enjoy the kitchen.
However in the run up to the holiday with one thing and another including a huge workload on my husband’s part I had been cooking all the time. And to be honest I wasn’t waking up with thoughts of what shall I cook. More thoughts of here we go again. And by the time my son had a 48 hour sick bug and had thrown up everything in his stomach and more I was rather off food and cooking.
So I was delighted when we arrived at our cottage that my husband took over the kitchen straight away. I decided that I would take the break and be the kitchen dishwasher for the holidays as washing and drying dishes with time on my hand looking over the atlantic sea was relaxing and far from the how quickly can I clear up stress I usually have.
So we fitted into that routine. My husband cooked and we all ate and helped with the tidying up it was ideal. And we ate very well indeed free from the stresses of life and other concerns my husband was able to think about food and we enjoyed dishes such as Pork with Almonds, Roast Chicken and Salads and then lots and lots of fish. Plus a daily freshly baked bread. A feat as there were no scales in the house so how he did this I will never know.
Fish was something we had all been looking forward to on this holiday. Although we are not that far from the coast of Berwickshire there are not many fish shops in the borders. There is a fish van that comes round St Boswells on a Wednesday afternoon but I am rarely around for that. The first few days of our stay we were rather disappointed as the fish shop when we visited was always closed. And although we were happy with the local butchers it was fish we thought we would eat over the course of the holiday. But one day my husband managed to get into Campbeltown early and the fish shop was open. He enquired from the owner who it turned out was the wife of one of the fishing boats what hours they were open. She replied “We open early and close when the day’s catch is sold.” On another visit my husband asked if they would have herring in the next day and she said “Depends what tomorrow’s catch is.”
As you know over the past couple of months we have been trying to shop as locally as possible so to us this was wonderful. You open with the day’s catch and close when it is sold and you sell what the day’s catch is.
Campbeltown currently has four UK high street stores – A Boots, Factory Outlet, Co-Op and of course a Tesco’s. There are not a great deal of shops in the town but it means they are all local and they do boast two butchers, a fish shop, a fruit and veg shop and a bakers which sells freshly baked rolls and cakes. At the moment Tesco’s is a small store on a par with the Co – OP. But it isn’t going to stay that way. Tesco’s has bought over the creamery and is going to knock it down and build a Tesco’s Extra store. So that Campbeltown can be like everywhere else in the UK and the people in Kintyre can eat like everyone else in the UK. As that is what seems to be happening mediocrity everywhere. And I fear that the next time I visit the town will maybe not boast its local shops. And we won’t be getting up early to get the day’s catch as we will be able like the rest of the UK to buy fish from who knows where from the Tesco’s counter. And the baker will be gone as again we will be able to buy bread just like you can get anywhere else in the huge Tesco’s that will dominate the town.
Is it me or is that just plain sad? No Campbeltown is not a shopping metropolis. And no even for food I have been in lots more places where the food shopping was more plentiful. But there was something great about it being limited and being local for me. I loved eating the fish that had been caught locally that day and knowing we were driven to eat what the catch was. I hope I am wrong but I fear I am not and yet another town will be taken over by Mr Tesco’s.
So I enjoyed my food in my Kintyre holiday it was great to have a break from cooking it. We all enjoyed sitting down each night watching the boats sail pass us as we ate our tea outside. And it is another memory of our Kintyre holiday.
So a big thanks to my husband for cooking over the holiday and cooking such great food. And a big thanks too for the local shops in Campbeltown for providing us with fresh, local ingredients. With a special thanks to the fish shop for showing me how local food can and should really be.
And another urge to you all please shop local when you can as if we don’t all that is great and unique about our local shops will be lost into the mediocrity that is the giant supermarket.