Asparagus is the culinary highlight for May. The rising temperature (hopefully) and the increased variety of ingredients means that salads can become a serious main course, and, of course, from a fishing point of view, we’re now into the mayfly season, so trout aplenty.
“everyone in England eats trout whenever they can”
Dorothy Hartley, Food in England
In terms of celebrations it’s a month of bank holidays beginning with May Day – another public holiday (see Valentine’s Day) which is the living descendent of a roman festival, in this case to celebrate the beginning of summer. More recently this first bank holiday in May has also been associated with workers’ rights (Labour Day).
And ending with Spring Bank Holiday, when, by tradition (again possibly Roman…maybe even ancient Briton) on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire, people race each other and a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese (which is given a head start) – see clip below for hilarity. The running of the bulls has nothing on this event, which has been cancelled a couple of times in the past for failing to get past the health and safety police. I hesitate to include the video below, fearing that it may confirm the impression of England as a nation of the completely barking, especially if viewed in conjuction with the pancake day antics, but in the interests of giving full information…. There will definitely be a recipe this month involving Double Gloucester cheese in honour of those brave and fearless souls competing in the 2009 event.
In between these two heathen festivities, in the third week of the month there is the infinitely more effete Chelsea Flower show, and, in the previous week, on 18 May, the Alresford watercress festival featuring no less than three sets of Morris dancers… it’s not far from where I live… in the first week of May there is the Kentucky Derby, and in the third week, more equine sport, the polo at Cowdray Park.
food in season in May
- kiwi fruit
- dover sole
- flowers (edible)
- Jersey Royals
- john dory
- lettuce (little gem, sorrel, rocket)
- mackerel (first young)
- pigeon (wood)
- sea bass
- sea trout
- spring onions
- trout (river)