There’s no point in denying it. I’m a definitively middle class person. I’ve got a myWaitrose card. I know what my favourite brand of hummus is. I’ve been known to wear those jumpers with a collar and cuffs sewn in to give the impression I’m wearing a proper shirt underneath.
One of the other big giveaways is my love of the local market. Traditional British markets were something of an embarrassment for years. In Europe, markets have always been full of wooden stalls selling delicious things and traditional toys (by which I mean the type made before toys were designed to be fun), manned by ruddy-cheeked honest tradesmen. In the UK, your standard market was a hotchpotch of creaky trestle tables offering tea towels, Soviet-era pants, and hot dogs made from mashed-up pigeon, overseen by men in string vests sucking on menthol fags.
These days, markets have of course gone upmarket. Rather cleverly, people running them have realised two things. The first is there’s nothing the honest middle classes love more than giving back to the local community in a way that salves the conscience without expending too much effort. The second is that to have a proposition that will appeal to the whole family, you should completely forget about the unpleasant shopping element and just focus on food.
Harringay Market is a perfect example of the type. Set in a primary school – so a big tick on the community front.
Very sensibly, it offers very little that can’t be eaten or drunk. No mashed-up pigeon either; for about seven of your pounds you can take your pick from a cheeky gnocchi with venison ragu, a Korean-inspired burger with kimchee, or (the favourite) a prawn katsu curry. Sadly the katsu people don’t turn up as much these days, which I’ve chosen to take as them sulking about us not buying their accompanying gyoza dumplings one week (it was one time guys! Come back!).
Yes, it’s completely the ponce de la ponce, and yes, it doesn’t have the same sweaty authenticity of the Green Lanes kebab houses just a homemade brownie’s throw away.
But it’s a very pleasant place to wear my collared jumper.