From polenta to lemons: the everyday foods demonised by Britain’s class wars

Jonathan Nunn, publisher of Vittles and perhaps the country’s best food writer at the moment, writes brilliantly on the cynical classism of food in Britain, particularly among the right-wing commentariat:

“You can understand the policing of food boundaries in a few non-food-related ways – the more charitable one is that for a certain type of political commentator, it is extremely convenient to portray the working class as a homogeneous, socially conservative and incurious bloc, whose vision of food corresponds to a kind of political nativism. It’s a bizarrely infantilising view, one that assumes that an interest in better or different foodstuffs is class treason and that puts people in clearly defined boxes, just as much as the identity politics that these commentators supposedly rail against.

“A less kind analysis, but perhaps a more accurate one, is that assigning middle-classness to cheap staples from other cuisines – hummus, soy sauce, cumin, for instance – usefully disguises the reality that the working class is far more diverse than these commentators understand. The fact is that if a similar inventory of ‘working class’ foods were to be undertaken across contemporary Britain, it would be less ‘gammon, pie and mash and ale’, and more ‘ackee, pierogi and shatkora’.”