20 Jun 2020

I Dream of Canteens

Food is cheap. I can afford it and everyone else here can afford to buy it for themselves and their child without anxiety. There are no instances of that tightening around the throat when you do not have the money to buy food, but you are hungry and in a place that serves it. For those who have more money the price is a joyful novelty; for those who have less, the prices are a blessed relief that allows eating to take place. The food is as cheap as fried chicken shops and like the meals served in fried chicken shops the food here has enough calorie density to sustain a child or an adult for a good while.

Stumbled on this excellent piece of writing a while ago. Growing up in London you keep a running list in your head of quiet and hospitable places you can relax, eat and replenish before getting your screwface on and going back out there.

The line about how/why chicken shops are prolific in London is astute. Access to cheap calorie dense (hot!) food can be a lifeline.

Never heard all this articulated quite so well.