There was no food in the cupboard. No real foods. Just the foods that augment other foods. A small packet of dried Italian herbs, some vinegar, a centimetre depth of soy sauce.
"We cannot live like this!" Diphthong wailed and slammed the cupboard door shut. "Those people are leaving us to die in the comfort of our own stains, living off memories of 50% more bran flakes"
'We' was Diphthong and Cornilio, two lost souls. Two figures living in the high tower on the 4th floor. in their own slice of reality, a family above and two young professionals below.
"Let's lie down Cornilio, let us lick the wounds of our own demise."
Suckling on salted skin, Diphthong and Cornilio lay in the quiet of their flat hoping for each other's iodine to keep the rotten goiter at bay. Two hours passed and Cornilio, the more subservient of the two friends lay there blinking in the afternoon light.
"We need food" whispered Cornilio. "We have to eat somehow"
At that, Diphthong pushed his friend off him and pulled on his boating shoes. Cornilio followed, blinking in wonderment at his friend's plan.
With conviction and determination, they trotted down the concrete steps to the pizza shop. There was a hippy in the commercial bins picking out some old aubergine and chomping on the dregs of a margarita.
"Is she fully in that bin?"
"Seems so" said Cornilio. "I can just see the wind licking the backs of her oversized hareem African-print trousers"
Diphthong directed with gusto straight to her: "Hey lady, wouldn't it be great if we all shared the pizza rinds? I mean Cornilio and I do love the delicious flavours the vehicle of pizza has to offer."
The lady's head rose fully our of the bin. She was smiling with her eyes semi shut, "No dudes, is it cool if I don't?" Her head went straight back in the bin like a duck bobbing for sunken bread.
"Fucking hippies, man!" Cornilio sometimes shocked Diphthong with his intolerance. He was usually such a quiet fellow, but then some people would just push his buttons.
A figure approached; skinny, olive-skinned, snakeskin boots, furtive.
"Hey, you two hungry motherfuckers wanna chow down on something real tasty? Something only few have eaten, a mind-trip brother.. Taste this shit and you will be lickin' those dehydrated lips of yours for days."
There was mystery rhythm about the fellow, a curious odour like barbecue sauce with a tang of funk and unwashed bodily secretions.
"We're starving man" exclaimed Cornilio, "We've been truffling each other's skin for potassium for the last two days"
"Follow me boys"
And with that, the three figures moved with vim through the backstreet debris of a gloomy evening, quick-smart, with the finesse of a city veteran, the sounds of well-healed, well-worn shoes clipping the cobble stones and pavement edges. He took them to a doorway; European-style fancy-grot door, illegible graffiti-tagged, weathered into the century. He left them at the bottom with a hand gesture. Cornilio and Diphthong shared a passing glance and waited subserviently in the hallway.
The waiting bubbled up a hunger pang conversation between their guts.
"Eggs" said one
"Fondu" said another.
The small light-footed fellow came back with a white creased carrier bag in his arms.
"Truffle this right here boys, but not right here..." Like a cockroach he darted back out of the doorway and into the evening with the two friends in tow.
Leading with their watering mouths they scurried diligently behind, eyes wide and fidgety with the promise of food.
By now they had reached the dock.
"Lay it down brother!" cried Diphthong from behind. Subsequently, the bag was lumped on a rock and lay open for the three to assess.
The carrier bag burst at the seams revealing greys and pinks in an vaguely homogenous lump.
"Meat cake?" They looked at each other. "Meat cake!" Without hesitation, the two began scooping the meatcake in rapturous appreciation, gorging hand to muscle, muscle to tongue. The farmyard of taste described itself in the mouths of the hungry.
"I got a chicken, no wait! A cockerel!"
"Is that pony-meat? Man it's been so long"
"A sausage, right down the sides of my palette"
"The nose says venison but the tongue says springbok...such a heady mix of complex umami offerings"
Meat cake has been part of a long lineage of culinary traditions for centuries. Everyone from the Scuttlers of Ancoats to the Dukes of Kensington would enjoy the mix of animal fat and muscle as composed in a meat cake. And now the tradition has rotten and died, the spirit of meat cake fizzled and remembered by a select few.
Luckily, those select few, like our friend in the story, have managed to replicate the recipe from ancient scrolls. You can now buy meat cake from a single purveyor at Spitalfield's Market for the price of a small family meal. Let's meet and eat meat-cake.