Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Small Pleasures - a Continuing Series

I am no longer at the mercy of other people's dietary requirements, hurray. Any time I might begin to feel slightly disenchanted with my lot, I remember that fact, and also rejoice in the liberation I feel at no longer having to deal with the person who pandered to those various demands. She may well have been Saki's so-called "good cook", (debatable), but unfortunately she did not behave as he suggested the best of them do, preferring to stay and conduct psychological warfare against me for a long three and a half years.

But that's a whole different story.

The reason I bring the subject up is simply to alert any sensitive vegan etc readers that, at least tangentially, the subject of eating animals is about to be broached, if only through the medium of wrapping paper. Namely this wrapping paper:

Isn't it lovely? I think the delicatessen's wife makes it at home, carving potatoes into the requisite print outlines and stamping them onto sheet after sheet of butchers' paper all through the night.

I am okay with eating animals, as I have come to the conclusion that life is a good that is greater than the fact that it is not eternal. If any of the animals depicted above were not going to be eaten they would never have been born and so would not have been beneficiaries of the single greatest good, the gift of life.

That's my theory anyway. Whether I actually want to pop along to the annual Hungarian Sausage and Pig Killing Festival and visit the "Pig Slaughtering Tent accompanied by the Slaughtering Merriment is another matter entirely.

More broadly though, what I love about that wrapping paper is its lack of corporateness. It belongs just to the one little stall that my husband has taken a fancy to in the market near our flat in Budapest. Despite the blandishments of Tesco and Aldi, most food shopping in this city remains small scale, conducted between customer and shopkeeper - the latter eventually getting to know the former and, even with foreigners like us, becoming familiar with what we are going to want to buy.

Perhaps it is mere romanticism colouring my view but it does seem to me that, while the supply is admittedly often only seasonal, what you can get in small local food shops is better than anything you are offered in any branch of any of the big supermarket chains. What is more there is never a desperate queue at the checkout nor a cross person operating the till - and, best of all, plastic packaging is simply non-existent.

Mind you, in the deep midwinter, I may start bleating about wanting tomatoes and basil and peaches and nectarines.


  1. Long ago, in a copy shop near downtown Washington, I saw stacks of paper waiting to be bound, apparently into a family memoir of life in the mountain South. The sentence at the end of a chapter caught my eye: "It seemed as if there was something about hog-slaughtering time that just brought people together." (Evidently the writer was speaking of an emotional closeness, not an assembly for all the tasks involved in turning pig into pork.)

  2. If you want to experience it yourself, in October in Budapest there will be the opportunity to join in what is described as "Slaughtering Merriment":

    1. Sorry, now realise I'd already mentioned that in post itself.

    2. Slight case of going round in circles