A new column by Ruby Tandoh
Good morning and welcome to Vittles.
All contributors to Vittles are paid. This is all made possible through user donations, either through Patreon or Substack. If you would prefer to make a one-off payment directly, or if you don’t have funds right now but still wish to subscribe, please reply to this email and I will sort this out.
All paid-subscribers have access to the back catalogue of paywalled articles. A subscription costs £5/month or £45 for a whole year - please note the new prices!
Incidental Eating is a column by Ruby Tandoh, examining a different site or place or landscape where eating and cooking takes place but where it is incidental to the experience - train buffet cars, vending machines, supermarket cafés, and ice cream vans - places that are not eating destinations but rely on the itinerant, impressionable hungers that we experience as we move through the world.
The Incidental Joy of Shopping Centre Corn, by Ruby Tandoh
Everything happens all of the time, and so much of it by chance.
Some days it might be an impulse Mars bar from a station kiosk, other days a polystyrene box of limp, salted fries – an ‘accident’ on the short walk home from the bus stop. Today, for me, it’s a cup of corn eaten while sitting on the floor of the mezzanine level of a second-tier shopping centre. A few feet away, a £1-a-go fire engine ride sways back and forth while a toddler sits white-knuckled at the wheel. At my eye level, there is a constant shuffle of feet, a parade of plastic bags and shopping trolleys. The steamed sweetcorn has been mixed with margarine, salt, lemon juice and chilli powder, the fat and lemon forming a slick, savoury emulsion that coats each kernel and pools at the bottom of the cup. I eat it with a plastic spoon and a passer-by steps on my foot.