eat.st on tour: GLASTO in mud and sun.

30 Jun

I thought it might be nice to take a busman’s holiday to Glastonbury and help Si out on board Jesus. Having placed Choc Star in the safe hands of Shrimp and Ben for the summer it seemed that all roads were leading me to Worthy Farm and some stress-free times. For example, if I had taken Jimmy to Glasto and been met with this sort of scenario:

I would have been all up in my heartbeat wondering who the hell would want to buy ice cream under such gruelling terrain. Instead, it was burritos from Luardos that we had to shift, the conditions for which seemed much more agreeable. Every morning a delivery would arrive from the extraORDinarily massive wholesale operation on site. It was awesome in its vastness – great serried ranks of articulated lorries laden with goods. Just that set-up alone had my mind boggling. The logistics!

Then we’d slam some meat on the griddle and get prepping. I developed a mild addiction to the sticky, concentrated flavours of griddled chorizo morsels.

Making the habanero salsa was a trip – and always interesting to see which punters were up for being sent half-way to hell with a turbo-charged strip of the stuff striding through their burrito.

It got busier and busier each day as more campers got wind of the goodness that was being passed through Jesus’ hatch. People were coming up to the van proclaiming this to be the best food they’d ever had at Glasto in 20 years! Some came to eat with us for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was mainly put in the middle position. This means taking the orders, taking the cash, telling the person to my left what they’re making (chicken, steak, vegetarian or pork – and turbo-charged with chorizo or no, and with or without beans or rice or cheese), telling the person to my right what they’re adding (yes to guacamole or no to salsa but yes to lettuce or no sour cream or extra guacamole and no lettuce….), and then administering the spice (‘How hot are you prepared to take things? Shall I ramp it up? Take you to meet the devil?’, etc).

After a few hours of doing this in tin box-hot temperatures my head would be so fried that I couldn’t remember who’d paid and who hadn’t. ‘Have you paid me?’, I’d ask. ‘Yes, I tried to get a discount and you said no, remember?’. ‘Oh yes, of course, sorry, it’s the heat. Next!’. But they seemed like an honest, cheery lot. Remarkably so, I’d say.

When I needed a little breather I’d go out side with a bourbon and attempt the washing up…

Or else I’d go and visit friends. Here’s Jorge in his Churros Bus (Churros Bros). The poor guy broke down 12 times on the way down to the site and eventually had to get pitch-forked onto his spot. Still smiling though – and his thigh-hating sticks of delight tasted delish.

Further out on the compound by the dance field was Alec and his Bhangra Burger bus. He had only broken down twice en route to Glasto and his chosen method of arrival was with a tow truck.

By the time Saturday came around and after enduring endless heavy rain and being felled by Big John as I waded to his rescue (landing flat on your back in a sea of mud at a festival with no clear sign of where your next shower will be coming from is gruesome, btw), the mud was sticky like you wouldn’t believe. Each lunge of the leg was met with a 50/50 chance of losing your boot and/or dislocating your hip bone. Drinking while walking was nigh on impossible and if you did happen to get lost (like I did one afternoon while off on a gentle perigrination), things could turn pretty intense. I suppose that’s what cider is for. And the Samaritans.


…and the Meateasy…


…and places like this. They sold Swan Chunks and Tinned Squirrels…but also black cherry Jim Beam. I became a bit of a fan.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with the food on offer at Glasto. After being in this game for a while you can see through jaunty looking vinyl banners in an instant. Many of them belie a world of pre-cut, pre-cooked, frozen soulless ease backstage. Of course there were those I already knew – Wholefood Heaven, Salad Days, Stewed & Baked, Asian Grub Foundation, Caribbean Kitchen etc etc – all wonderful operations. And those mentioned above – love them to bits. The best discovery, food-wise, of the week was found over the strip from us in a giant taupe coloured wig-wam and my friend Jared of Neil’s Yard was at the helm.

Sorry about the blurring but the general idea is MEAT, great big hunks of it, smoked overnight in their enormous great smoker. Shoulder, brisket, flank, ribs, loin in beef and pork and served with real baked beans, amazing coleslaw, pickles, buns and BBQ sauce. It was their first time doing this and was in cahoots with a local organic farm. It was chaotic and by-the-seat-of-its-pants but, compared to so many of those well-oiled catering behemoths every which way elsewhere, it was food that tasted PROPER.

I don’t know what’s happened to all the pics of the food I should’ve taken – probably subject to my staggering around half-cut on bourbon, burrito fumes and heavy sides of mud!

Glasto, I love you and can’t wait to return….

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