I did not hold this belief until but just over a week ago, but reader, I can tell you now and definitively: It is wrong to eat on train platforms*.
This journey towards realisation, ironically achieved while stationary, began on sighting a middle-aged man lift a large tub of Carte D’or ice cream out of a Tesco bag on the London-bound platform of St James Street station, Walthamstow, and proceed to eat the thing. All of it. The spoon was of unknown origin, but needless to say, Carte D’or does not provide spoons with their large tubs.
The flavour in question was either crème caramel, salted caramel or plain old vanilla, but assessing this precisely was impossible from 15 yards given the distinctly hunched pose our subject took on taking on this single-minded meal experience; the long shadow of his soul masking tub label branding.
As this was within the Greater London boundaries, no-one looked twice, but I, having not written an Average Food Blog for quite some time, stared. It was a profoundly sickening sight, comparable to the entrails of a baby bird flapping in bike spokes; humanity broken and waiting for the second-last train to Hades.
Seven days later, and I find myself on the platform at Bushey, Hertfordshire, following a shamefully non-food-related performance in nearby Watford. Reader: I am eating a vegetable samosa and 12 plastic-packed mini Swedish meatballs – all sourced from Costcutter for under £3. I have boarded that Hades train, taken it just one stop then cycled back just in time to catch the last service. I am Carte D’or man, I am every train platform eater who has ever lived. Grovelling. Beyond human pity. Alone.
Granted, it is somewhat hard to separate the train platform from the solitary nature of these meals, but I’ll give it a go: I have pleasurable meals alone in places that are not train platforms. I have enjoyed Samosas and meatballs out of plastic in non-train platform scenarios and not found them shameful and degrading – or at least not on balance more shameful and degrading than most of my self-prepared and/or purchased dishes.
The Carte D’or-for-one approach really does seem to push the ticket in terms of train platform meal horrors, but it would be safe to suspect that a Marco Pierre White pop-up or Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference would also fall to base despair levels when served up next to overhead cables, tracks and strategically-positioned Samaritans posters.
Food should only be eaten on train platforms in the case of diabetic hypo. More research needs to be done, but for now, I can only give all things eaten on train platforms a ‘holding score’ of 1/10 until scientific funding is put in place to complete these studies. I only hope it can act as suitable warning until a full data set is available.
*Eating on trains is (relatively) fine