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The Great British WOKE Off! Parkin cake has fallen foul of the PC police, writes ROLAND WHITE

Down with Delia Smith! Topple Mary Berry! Rise up, comrades, against the imperialist Victorian hegemony of Mrs Beeton! And we’ll be keeping a very strict eye on MasterChef in future.

Traditional British food, it seems, is the latest battleground in the culture wars.

Parkin, a delicious if rather high calorie Yorkshire cake, is to be investigated by Leeds City Council for possible links to slavery and colonialism.

This traditional delicacy — if that’s the right word for parkin — dates back to the 18th century, and the problem is it’s made with ginger, treacle and sugar. 

These products, so it has been suggested, were only made available to the county’s bakers as a by-product of British colonial expansion.

You can look at this in two ways. It has already been reported as yet another example of the rise of woke, on which Boris Johnson has declared war. But the Prime Minister has also declared war on obesity.

Do we fight for the right to eat the cakes of our choice, or do we fight flab by cancelling parkin?

As you consider this dilemma, you may care to sit down with a cup of non-colonial, sustainably produced organic tea and enjoy this very, very serious list of foods that may also present a problem. Oh, and treat yourself to a slice of parkin. It may be your last chance.

Croissants

On the one hand, a tasty and pro-European breakfast. On the other, a grisly celebration of war. Croissants are not actually French, but have their origins in the Turkish siege of Budapest in 1686.

The Turks cunningly dug underground tunnels to reach the centre of the city, but were overheard by Hungarian bakers working the night shift.

The bakers raised the alarm, saved the day, and were granted the privilege of making a special pastry in the shape of a crescent. Your breakfast croissant is a mockery of Turkish military incompetence: not just war-mongering, but racist.

Croissants are not actually French, but have their origins in the Turkish siege of Budapest in 1686

Bourbon Biscuits

Created by Peek Freans in 1910, they were named in honour of the Royal dynasty that once ruled France, Spain and parts of Italy. (They are very keen on biscuit-based politics in Italy. See also, Garibaldi).

The French Bourbons in particular were known for their extravagance, absolute rule, and Marie Antoinette’s dieting tips for the peasant classes (Let them eat cake!). Every time you nibble on a Bourbon, you are celebrating tyranny.

These biscuits were created by Peek Freans in 1910, they were named in honour of the Royal dynasty that once ruled France, Spain and parts of Italy

These biscuits were created by Peek Freans in 1910, they were named in honour of the Royal dynasty that once ruled France, Spain and parts of Italy

Wagon Wheels

These will definitely have to go. Two biscuits with a marshmallow filling and a coating of chocolate, Wagon Wheels were named by creator Garry Weston in 1948, inspired by tales of the American West that were very popular at the time.

This means they are not only linked with the oppression of the Native American peoples, but are also a reminder of terrible black-and-white films.

Two biscuits with a marshmallow filling and a coating of chocolate, Wagon Wheels were named by creator Garry Weston in 1948, inspired by tales of the American West that were very popular at the time

Two biscuits with a marshmallow filling and a coating of chocolate, Wagon Wheels were named by creator Garry Weston in 1948, inspired by tales of the American West that were very popular at the time

Victoria Sponge

There is a Victoria Salad and a Bombe Victoria, but none of the dishes named after the unamused Queen is better known or more popular than the Victoria Sponge.

Each mouthful celebrates the height of imperial Britain, when the sun never set on the Empire, the maps were coloured pink, and we had nothing to fear from any upstart gateau from the Black Forest.

The light sponge with a jam filling was first served at the tea parties Victoria used to give at Osborne House following the death of Prince Albert. You may wonder whether Victoria’s devotion to eating cake was the reason she had a 50-in waist, but that would be body shaming.

There is a Victoria Salad and a Bombe Victoria, but none of the dishes named after the unamused Queen is better known or more popular than the Victoria Sponge

There is a Victoria Salad and a Bombe Victoria, but none of the dishes named after the unamused Queen is better known or more popular than the Victoria Sponge

Coronation Chicken

Another dish that is inextricably linked with monarchy. (See also, Queen of Puddings and Apple Charlotte, named after the wife of King George III). 

Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume added a curry cream sauce to cold chicken in 1953 for a banquet to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II.

As if the link with monarchy were not bad enough, curry was of course culturally appropriated from occupied India.

Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume added a curry cream sauce to cold chicken in 1953 for a banquet to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II

Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume added a curry cream sauce to cold chicken in 1953 for a banquet to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II

Eton Mess

Possibly the only traditional pudding that is also a satirical attack on recent Conservative prime ministers.

It’s thought that this mixture of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream was first served at the Eton vs Harrow cricket match in the late 19th century.

Is there a Bog Standard Comprehensive Mess? I rest my case.

It¿s thought that this mixture of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream was first served at the Eton vs Harrow cricket match in the late 19th century

It’s thought that this mixture of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream was first served at the Eton vs Harrow cricket match in the late 19th century

Gingernuts

Life can be bad enough for people with red hair without the extra burden of a slightly amusing biscuit product being used to taunt them. 

In solidarity with ginger folk, they should be renamed as Strawberry Blonde Nuts.

Life can be bad enough for people with red hair without the extra burden of a slightly amusing biscuit product being used to taunt them. In solidarity with ginger folk, they should be renamed as Strawberry Blonde Nuts

Life can be bad enough for people with red hair without the extra burden of a slightly amusing biscuit product being used to taunt them. In solidarity with ginger folk, they should be renamed as Strawberry Blonde Nuts

Nelson Apples

An apple was named after Lord Nelson — warmonger, lackey of the British empire, very rude about the French — after he had won the battle of Trafalgar. 

It’s no doubt what he would have wanted. He certainly would have preferred that to the biscuit and a brand of boiled sweet that were both popular in the 19th century — and known as Lord Nelson’s Balls.

Dundee Cake

A popular favourite and reportedly the Queen’s cake of choice at teatime, the history of Dundee cake is riddled with imperialism, colonialism and old Empire. 

The MP for Dundee between 1908 and 1922 was none other than Winston Churchill, who has been repeatedly attacked for his devotion to Empire.

He certainly liked a slice of Dundee, although his cook at Chartwell also made a version called Churchill’s Fruit Cake.

It’s thought that Dundee Cake — with its nut topping — also has its origins in the whims of monarchy. Apparently, it has almonds on the top because Mary Queen of Scots didn’t like cherries.

A popular favourite and reportedly the Queen¿s cake of choice at teatime, the history of Dundee cake is riddled with imperialism, colonialism and old Empire

A popular favourite and reportedly the Queen’s cake of choice at teatime, the history of Dundee cake is riddled with imperialism, colonialism and old Empire

Beef Wellington

The origins of this dish, fillet steak wrapped in puff pastry, are disputed. 

Some say it was first made to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, but others have suggested that meat baked in pastry was already common in English cuisine at the time.

If you are taking this issue seriously — and you are taking it very seriously, aren’t you? — you should probably boycott Beef Wellington anyway as its name is forever associated with colonialism in India, war, and — when he was prime minister — a reluctance to give the vote to the working classes.

And if we catch you in a pair of Wellington boots, which he did popularise, there’ll be trouble.

The origins of this dish, fillet steak wrapped in puff pastry, are disputed. Some say it was first made to celebrate the Duke of Wellington¿s victory at Waterloo, but others have suggested that meat baked in pastry was already common in English cuisine at the time

The origins of this dish, fillet steak wrapped in puff pastry, are disputed. Some say it was first made to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, but others have suggested that meat baked in pastry was already common in English cuisine at the time

Rich Tea

This popular biscuit brand was first developed in 17th century Yorkshire (home of the dastardly parkin, don’t forget) for members of the upper crust to nibble between meals.

It has been known as Rich Tea since 1891, but why just for the rich? What are poor folk supposed to dunk?

In case you think I am overdoing this connection between a humble biscuit and the aristocracy, I should mention that one of the cakes at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception was made from 1700 Rich Tea biscuits and 40 lb of chocolate.

This popular biscuit brand was first developed in 17th century Yorkshire (home of the dastardly parkin, don¿t forget) for members of the upper crust to nibble between meals

This popular biscuit brand was first developed in 17th century Yorkshire (home of the dastardly parkin, don’t forget) for members of the upper crust to nibble between meals

Cornish Pasty

Not just a nutritious pastry turnover, but a reminder of the brutal exploitation of Cornish tin miners.

According to no less an authority than the Larousse Gastronomique, miners enjoyed pasties as their lunchtime snack: savoury at one end, sweet at the other end, and with twisted pastry handles at each end that men could hold with their blackened fingers and then discard. Eating them in any other county is cultural appropriation.

Not just a nutritious pastry turnover, but a reminder of the brutal exploitation of Cornish tin miners

Not just a nutritious pastry turnover, but a reminder of the brutal exploitation of Cornish tin miners

Gammon

A slur on the solid, working-class, Brexit-voting people of Boris Johnson’s Red Wall.

Bombay Duck

Should now be known as Mumbai Duck. Obviously.

Bombay Duck - it should now be known as Mumbai Duck. Obviously

Bombay Duck – it should now be known as Mumbai Duck. Obviously

Harveys Bristol Cream

The city of Bristol has long been associated with the slave trade. 

Not only was philanthropist and slave trader Edward Colston’s statue toppled last year, but there has been controversy over the name of a street called Blackboy Hill (its connection with slavery has been hotly disputed).

Harveys West Country Sherry would have a reassuring and much more sensitive ring? 

Or they could name it after the nearby village of Nempnett Thrubwell, which is not only more colourful but has enjoyed a history that is completely uncontroversial.

The city of Bristol has long been associated with the slave trade. Harveys West Country Sherry would have a reassuring and much more sensitive ring

The city of Bristol has long been associated with the slave trade. Harveys West Country Sherry would have a reassuring and much more sensitive ring

Cock-a-leekie - let's not even go there

Cock-a-leekie – let’s not even go there

Cock-A-Leekie

Let’s not even go there.


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