Friday 23 December 2011

You Are What You Eat Part Two

“My left-wing parents never gave me chocolate.” Gabriela von Bohlen, via Web

The very lovely Middle Class Handbook site complains about “customising” food, a ghastly habit we’ve picked up from across the pond. “Can I get a Four Seasons without one of the seasons?” Grand British people ate amazingly wonderful food but you weren’t supposed to comment on it. See E.M. Forster’s Room with a View: Lucy Honeychurch’s prospective mother-in-law talked of removing “that Honeychurch taint” because Lucy asked how the pudding was made.

Middle-class Weybridges pour scorn on anyone who dares to go vegetarian or be allergic to anything, or even have religious food preferences - it’s just putting people out and making work for them. More downmarket Teales are far too kind and polite to mind, and will try and accommodate food combining, veganism or the Atkins diet.

Some Weybridges are ashamed to be a “picky eater” – they force themselves to eat whatever’s put before them. ("I don’t want to make the hostess feel she has to supply an alternative.") Upper-class Stow Crats will tell you if they can’t eat anything (politely), but don’t go on about it. Samantha Upward messes unwelcome food about on her plate and hopes nobody will notice. Some Upwards force deliberately horrible foods onto guests to see how they cope (real-life examples: turnip soup, tomato icecream). A friend kept trying to make me eat mussels because I’d said I was allergic to them (still am). And there are those who hate anyone to state a preference because they think it may be an attempt to pull rank or manipulate.

Big Brother star Chantelle had never given a dinner party before Dine With Me and hadn’t a clue how to cook anything.

Research by Kantar Worldpanel shows that hummus consumption is dominated by social classes ABC1 and tails off in those aged over 44. ("There's a grand tradition of taking peasant food from around the Mediterranean and making it posh food here.”) bbc online October 11, 2011

Sam flinches at “Happy Meal” and Boots "meal deals". A “meal” is where you sit down at a laid table and work your way through soup, entrée and pudding. Anything else is a snack or a picnic. Or “eating between meals”, which you don’t do. (This may be a tad old-fashioned.) But she hates the word: she also flinches at combinations like “not at the meal table!” or “come over for a meal!”. She even flinches when wildlife presenters refer to animals “getting a meal”. Wouldn’t a rabbit be “dinner”?

When Upwards have nothing to do they can always whinge about the way food and drink is getting sweeter because that’s what common people like. It’s naff to “have a sweet tooth”. They used to pretend they liked melon with powdered ginger, and strawberries with black pepper – rather than sugar and cream. Yes, that caught on!

You Are What You Eat Part One here.

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