David Adamson gets into the spirit of International Beatles week
Any city that has a cultural claim to something like The Beatles should fill its boots, so it’s only fair that Mathew Street is a noisy, narrow cornucopia to the Fab Four. A side street off from the wide streets and wealthy Victorian buildings it’s, as intended, something of a different trip back in time.
This week sees the start of International Beatles Week, and while it unfortunately doesn’t last eight days (come on guys), it is an annual chance for the city to rightly rave about giving birth to the blueprint for what we now call ‘a band’.
It takes me back to umpteen sorts of stews I’d have as a kid and be frogmarched into finishing - for my own good, of course.
Before that mythology was built, however, Liverpool was international in other ways, a sea-flecked and swaggering port city replete with sailors and everything that came ashore with them. One of which is the ‘Scouse’.
I love a stew. Any kind, any time, any place - it can be a quick filler, a midweek lifeline or something lovingly assembled over a few days. I just had mine for lunch.
When you order something at a restaurant and it turns up quicker than you can say ‘assorted small plates’ it is usually cause for concern. It’s quite the opposite with a stew, instead proof that it’s been sat simmering in wait for you to say the magic, mildly befuddling words - “I’ll have the Scouse please” (£14.95).
While it clanged slightly against my Stockport brogue, coming from the mouth of an American woman behind me it had the atonal, unsettling music of the ‘Day in the Life’ interlude. And I was very pleased to hear it.
There’s something about swedes (the root veg, not the suave Scandis) that is just nourishing. It takes me back to umpteen sorts of stews I’d have as a kid and be frogmarched into finishing - for my own good, of course.
Now I see it as one of the best bits, so when it’s swimming alongside soft, crumbling potatoes and slow cooked beef you’re onto a hearty, warming winner. Add to that a sweetly winch-inducing pickled red cabbage and a pint of lager (£5.80) and you’ve everything someone with the appetite of a sailor requires.
I hadn’t travelled quite as far as Hamburg or Tangier, but I arrived starving and it more than fixed a hole.
7/10 for a fun and filling slice of nostalgia
Scouse - the story
How do you charm Scandis in Liverpool? Tell them the origin of the word 'scouse'. This variation on a Lancashire hotpot was given a twist with the arrival of overseas communities from Norway and Sweden in Liverpool in the nineteenth century. A traditional stew in those countries is in Norway called 'lapskaus' and in Sweden 'lapskojs'. Lose the first syllable of those two words and anglicise the second syllable and what have you left? Yep, scouse. The Gustav Adolf Church in Liverpool among other buildings remains as a testament to the Scandinavian presence.
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