Ah, British weather. It just loves to keep us on our toes. Some days, I’ll leave for work wearing sunglasses and no coat, only to return home using my broken umbrella as a shield to battle my way through a three minute hail storm (whilst seriously regretting my lack of coat). Most mornings, I don’t know whether I’m leaving for work or a mini break, as I stuff everything from a bottle of sun cream to a waterproof jacket into my (apparently) bottomless handbag.
Once the weekend rolls around and you finally decide to make plans that don’t involve Netflix, the weather decides to make things a little exciting. Two-day festival? Let me add some six-hour torrential rain to that on the Friday and then some 100 mph gusts of wind to ruin your sunshine on the Saturday. Enjoy.
As was the case with Field Day festival this year at The Drumsheds. As I left the house wearing my mum’s raincoat and some old walking boots (I think my sister wore five years ago) I’d never looked cooler. And after spending almost an hour on public transport and then a good half an hour queuing outdoors in sideway rain, I questioned why I hadn’t given up already.
But there were three things that kept me going: 1. It’s Field Day 2. Skepta was headlining and 3. The food. Discovering new food is one of my favourite things about festivals and Field Day never disappoints. Just when I thought the rain couldn’t get any worse, I came across the famous Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and the rain just didn’t matter anymore. A pioneer of bringing more attention to West African food in the UK, Zoe does everything from supper clubs to kitchen residencies and street food at festivals (you can also find her at the likes of Latitude, Port Eliot and Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here festival this summer). Her mixed box featuring fried chicken, jollof rice, red bean stew, fried plantain and okra fries was like a mezze of all my favourite things; I’d pick up a deep-fried okra fry with my fingers and nibble; then scoop up a mouthful of rice and stew; take a quick bite of the sweet and sticky plantain; then back to the fried chicken. I never wanted this routine to end.
Dinner was an obligatory stop at Anna Mae’s for The Don Macaroni – mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon and basil. You can never go wrong with a bowl full of cheesy pasta, salty bacon and fragrant basil. The ultimate rain food.
Saturday brought the sunshine and a delicious chicken yassa from Little Baobab. This Senegalese dish consists of marinated chicken with onions caramelised with lime and served with rice and salad. There is something about chicken and rice that is so restorative. It helped hit the reset button as we recovered from yesterday’s rain (and alcohol consumption) – citrus sweet, spicy and fluffy rice meets crunchy salad. It was amazing.
Then, what better way to end the weekend than with a cheese toastie. The Cheese Truck’s British mozzarella with fresh tomato and basil pesto was screaming out at me. Biting into its delicately crisp crust led way to a game of tug of war between the melted cheese that spilled out of it and my mouth. Accompanied with a pint of Beavertown Gamma Ray and a dreamy sunset over the giant IKEA adjacent to the festival, it was the best way to end the weekend and say farewell to the rain (until Monday that is, when it resumed immediately).