To any reader that likes to hold my feet to the fire on this quest, you’ll recall that I said Saturday was Chocolate Macaroon Day and to make up for my Macaron/Macaroon mix up on Wednesday, I would make the macaroons on Saturday to celebrate the day. Well I didn’t. I just didn’t have the time or energy. Another long day of work and I just didn’t feel like tearing up our kitchen with pots and pans to crank out cookies after I got home. But I did find some other holidays to celebrate. According to National Day Calendar, Saturday was National Egg Day and National Bubbly Day too, and those I could celebrate. On my way home, I stopped at the liquor store and purchased a split of champagne. I had to dig in their fridge because I wanted it cold. I thought if I bought a full bottle it would just go to waste, so I was looking for a split or half bottle. When I reached in the back of the cooler I found the tiny bottle of Villa Jolanda champagne I was looking for which was actually an “I Love You” bottle especially made for Valentine’s Day. While it wouldn’t be my most manly purchase (It had notes of love adorning the bottle), it would do the job. When I got home, I poured a glass for Lola and myself and we toasted the day. It wasn’t the best champagne I ever had, but it helped quench my thirst and my quest, so all was good.
Then, to keep celebrating, I made some breakfast burritos for dinner which were simply scrambled eggs and cheese wrapped in a tortilla and then I grilled the outside to give it some texture. I had made some tater tots too and I served them alongside the burrito, although I also rolled some inside the burrito as well. For Lola who likes salsa with eggs, I wrapped hers with salsa and some avocado and she topped it with a bit of sour cream. All and all a pretty nice dinner for a Saturday night – especially for someone who was trying to celebrate the joy of eggs. That I did.
Then I started skimming my news feed and bad things were happening in London. Terrorism strikes again. It was odd how this news hit because details were not exact. Things were unfolding fast and even the news groups were saying the story was still developing. There was a vehicle that crashed through a crowd on London Bridge. There were stabbings in a market. Seven people were dead. More people injured. Another night where fear sinks into your belly and your heart tries to stretch across the ocean to offer your condolences and compassion. It’s getting too common these days. Then I realized something. I have actually been to Borough Market where the stabbings occurred. I knew this place. I loved this place.
In July of 2009, Lola and I had the opportunity to go to London for a month. My sister was living there at the time and she and her husband were nice enough to give us a place to stay. We would spend every day exploring the city and fell in love with it’s history and charm. On one journey, we happened upon Borough Market which is actually London’s oldest Street Food Market and it used to be housed on the actual London Bridge. Now it was tucked away just off the bridge underneath the bridges and buildings of the crowded city. For a food lover, it was the best thing you could ever stumble upon. It was blocks and blocks of all kinds of amazing food. We were hungry when we got there and one of the first things we tried was a pork crackling sandwich topped with applesauce and to this day, Lola considers it the best sandwich she has ever had. There were giant bowls of paella being made which you could buy little cups of to feast upon. There was a whole counter filled with Turkish Delight, a treat I had only read about in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe but never knew what it was. Now, right in front of me, there was more Turkish Delight than Edmund and I could ever dream of, all in bright colors and flavors. It was at the market that I tried my first Raclette which was essentially a big wheel of cheese being melted over an open fire and then sliced off onto a bowl of fresh potatoes so the cheese would cover the whole bowl. We watched them make this with such wonder and delight. There was beautiful fresh produce everywhere and all kinds of artisan breads and other typical market fare. Fishmongers were hawking their catches and meat sellers trumpeting their own prized selections. They sold beer and wine there and Lola and I both had a sangria that we walked around with as we made our way through the market sampling what we could and watching people. It was a magical place. I even took this picture of one of our first finds as we entered the market, kind of oddly appropriate for National Egg Day:
I had never seen an ostrich egg in person either, so the market brought a whole new world to life for me. When Lola and I talk about London, we always recall this market as being a place of magic. We dream of going back, if only to get that sandwich again. We told my sister about it and she went there on one of her trips into the city, plus she started telling others to go there on trips to London. While it’s not exactly hidden or a secret, it was a place we just stumbled upon and it will always be this magical place for us – a hidden land inside the stone and concrete of a bustling city. It was our Diagon Alley. And tonight, it was on the news for this horrible reason.
This story will unfold how it will (and it’s already shown light on the ugliness of politics and the horrendous and growing ineptitude of our own country’s leader). The citizens of London are coming together to mourn and to show the world that their beloved city is still filled with love, compassion and strength. They will carry on like only London can. Across the sea, we send our thoughts of love and support. Unfortunately as citizens of the world, we all know terror now and we can share in that feeling of the unknown. The scariness of it all. The fear of what happens next. The compassion in our heart that makes us want to comfort our neighbors and friends. We want our friends in London to know we stand with them as a strong community of love which will always outshine these dark acts of cowardice.
In the aftermath of all this terror, the market will open again and bring back the joy and delight that it has served up for hundreds of years. The community will come back together. People will need to shop for fresh food. Vendors will need to sell. Neighbors will need to be together. Turkish delight needs to be eaten, raclette needs to be melted, ostrich eggs need to be sold. The market will come back. I just hope this dark day does not overtake the joy of what the market is. Borough Market should not become known as this infamous spot where an act of terror occurred. It should not be a stop on some tour of the dark history of London. It should keep on being what it has been for over 750 years: a local market. A place where the community comes to share in their harvest and bounty. A place for neighbors, strangers and friends to meet, gather, eat, drink and spend their hard earned money. That’s the magic of Borough Market to me and what it will always be in my mind.
I celebrated today. I had my eggs and my bubbly, so the quest keeps going strong. I just happen to have a little sadness in my heart tonight and I am thinking about those in London. I’m remembering the fun Lola and I had walking through the vast wonders of Borough Market. How we found it so randomly by just walking the streets and hearing the buzz of people in the distance. I’m recalling all the random little treats and tasty delights we discovered. It really was a magical place and to us, it always will be. Terror will never outlast the joy that this market has delivered for all these years. It will carry on, just like London. That’s where my heart is tonight.
Next up: National Cheese Day