Edible Lexicon

 

Fingest

Ibstone

Stokenchurch

*

Catslick

Nettlebed

Ashdown Farm

*

Ewelme

Swyncombe

Pangbourne Hill

The names are so scrumptious I could eat them off an oyster-fork. It’s like eating Paul Kingsnorth’s The Wake page by page. This is a brittle, crackling lexicon high in fiber and consonants. I know the ingredients from home, but over the centuries they’ve fermented and taken on a tang I can’t place.

I could eat whole books of these names for breakfast, piling them high on my marmite-and-toast.

They taste homemade, locally-grown, aged in oak. The terroir is there in every bite. The names are steeped in the flavors of the land that grew them—a tang of flint and nettle, sweet with barley malt and salted butter. They have a whiff of pub: low-beamed ceilings, Brakspear’s honey-bee on tap, a roast in the smokehouse. There’s the burn of barbed wire and a yeasty flavor of rust or blood. They taste cool as the watery shadows under the beech trees, with a hint of lanolin. And there’s a pinch of spice, as rare as peppercorn: electric-red poppies in a sea of blue barley.

The names are rich in vitamins I can’t find elsewhere. If I nourished myself on Fingests, Ibstones, Catslicks, and Swyncombes, my stories would grow so cunning they would escape my imagination. They would write themselves onto receipts and bedsheets and sail off in glass bottles, washing ashore months later to be read by someone like you.

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