Soul Food Advent Blog Series 2018: 'Room at the Table'
Guest blogger: James White
Worth and Where to Find it
Part I: That Time I ate 26 Cheese & Crackers
When I was a child, my Nanna used to make the most amazing roast dinners. Every time we visited, the smell of a chicken being roasted, was the most welcoming and exciting feeling, and I used to fill my 6 year old boots every time.
I’m not sure where I packed away all the food, or how I managed to remain skinny as a rake throughout my childhood, but I never seemed to get full.
Ironically, the highlight for me as a non-sweet tooth was dessert.
This was where I really came into my own because I took the moral high ground and routinely skipped pudding.
Blackcurrant Pie? No. Lemon Meringue? Save more for yourselves. Bakewell Tart? Ok, I’ll take a sliver.
No, for me the pinnacle was cheese & crackers and this was what the entire meal had led up to.
Two helpings of Lamb and Yorkshire puddings with gravy was just an appetiser for the main event – Edam on water biscuits washed down with half a pint of Ribena.
My record was 26 cream crackers.
Luckily my impending obesity was offset by the fact this this was only a bi-annual event.
But the other thing I remember about these dinners, was that from the age of two right up until my early twenties I sat in the same seat every mealtime.
Being quite middle class, my grandparents set out napkins for us all, held in a napkin holder that had our names on them. Quite literally, I had a place at the table whenever I visit my Nanna’s house.
Looking back, I took this sense of belonging for granted to some degree. The family unit is the first crucible for belonging. Then perhaps, you make friends, school, work, your local football team, your marriage, friends, church.
These are all opportunities to belong to something, to find our place with others around us and to be recognized, and hopefully, missed when you’re not around.
But what happens when these structures become fragmented?
When the world you created disintegrates or loses it’s meaning or you can’t speak the same language as those you once belonged with?
What is it like to live a life when you’re not missed by anyone when you’re not around and you realise the table you once sat at no longer holds a place for you and your sense of worth dissolves?
James White is a 37 year old Yorkshireman who works for a global fashion company. He has been part of Soul Food Edinburgh for the past for 4 years and is is fanatical about football, food and finding meaning in just about anything. He knows nothing about fashion.