I had quite a busy day away from my practice today and came home to find that there had been an almighty disagreement between some organisations who purport to exist to drive up standards in food. The conflict started with a public statement by the head of one of the big-hitters in the British Fryosphere who, to put it in a nutshell, called all fryups “shit” and cheap and went on to question the competence, literacy and intelligence of anyone who disagreed with this conjecture; then went on to dogmatically state the only true representation of an English Breakfast should hark back to some pre-Victorian time when breakfasts enjoyed by the elite are the way to go and that promoting excellence and some control and restraint in preserving the integrity of fryups was a lost cause and one which shouldn’t be promoted in the national press.
I think there was a justifiable reaction by groups and individuals to whom this was aimed I would have been surprised if there wasn’t and I am sure that this was exactly the reaction which was begged by the author of the original statement. From what I caught between dispatches the whole thing became quite volatile. Which again I feel was part of the purpose of the original statement.
My own take on this, for what it is worth is this. Those with a common aim to raise the standards of the food which this nation consumes should be applauded for their efforts. Those who choose to try to promote their own agenda through manipulating undignified conflict are being counter-productive and are complicit in increasing the divide between those who have and have not.
No matter how well you prepare one, a fryup is something which can be enjoyed by prince and pauper. Yes there is a long history of those who are better-off enjoying some amazing meaty combinations of the best which their country estates have to offer them for breakfast, yes this is part of our heritage and should and must be recorded for posterity, but this is 2016. A time of bleak austerity for the majority of the 60+ million people who inhabit our isles and for whom, very often, a fryup is a real and rare treat for a struggling family.
I’ve never eaten a mixed-grill which has met my expectations (for this is all that an ultra-‘traditional’ Anglo-Saxon/Victoriana breakfast is) but I have eaten and seen many fryups which have provided more than affordable joy.
I must therefore kindly thank the Society for admitting me as a Fellow but not very regretfully withdraw from their fold with immediate effect. I would also remind any f*cker who tries to pass off my work as theirs that I know, or can very easily find out where you live and that I do not tolerate fools easily x.
I called this post “Class War” because I feel that this is at the heart of the disagreement. More and better for the few who can, trying to ride roughshod over the many who struggle on a daily basis to exist. It’s 2016. Those who deferred to the ‘upper’ classes are literally a dying breed and the daily revelations of the dark and dirty personal financial affairs of those trusted to a position of authority are gradually helping to reduce the dreadful syndrome of embourgeoisement which has haunted us since the mid-1970s.
Please don’t ever feel that your fryup isn’t worthy compared to something with marrowbone, kidneys, a pig’s head or whatever, be proud of your right to fry and your right to be proud of your own achievements.
If you’ve actually read this far then I think you really deserve something for your efforts so here’s a picture of something.
This one’s by Aaron Gartside, his fries rock.