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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    « The evils of multi-tasking: at what point did we stop being capable of doing one thing at once? | Main | Letter From America #14: Choosing A New Colour For The House »
    Tuesday
    Jul052011

    To diet for! The rise of the confused food, and the nine most disgusting snack foods in Britain today

    In recent years, the role of bread and butter in lunch and dinner has become quite complex. While most of us will have a roll in a restaurant, having a slice of bread and butter with your meal at home is now seen as a working class habit, perhaps because the middle classses seek to avoid adding carbs to their meals. However, at the same time there has been a clear and so-far-unacknowledged trend to turn everything into a sandwich, and I note that these new-fangled items are quite popular with the better-off classes. 

    Is this a way for posher people to disguise the fact that they enjoy a slice of bread and butter with their meals? I did once have a middle-class friend who – annoyingly - turned whatever you had made into a sandwich. (I specifically remember feel very resentful about the amount of time I had spent soaking porcini mushrooms and finely chopping shallots, when I watched him pile the posh pasta dish that I have made between two thickly buttered slices of Warburton’s Toastie.) Many of these sandwiches are sold in shops and cafes, and seem unsure whether they meant to be snack or the basis of a meal. My least favourites include:

    1.       The roast dinner sandwich. Gravy in a sandwich? Isn’t this just an acceptable way of mopping up the gravy on your plate with a slice of bread?
    2.      The Breakfast-in-a-Bun. A complete full English in a bap. Is this for people who can’t decide if they want a bacon sandwich or a full English? Neither one thing nor the other as far as I’m concerned.
    3.      The lasagne sandwich. Introduced to the Tesco sandwich range a couple of years ago, and criticised heavily in the press and by health workers. RIDICULOUS. The idea of a lasagne sandwich is like having a jacket potato topped with mash.
    4.      The breadless sandwich. Such an annoying marketing ploy I am loathe to mention it. To me it seems to suggest that it is now acceptable to eat commercially-produced sandwich fillers straight from the tub.
      
      However, as irritating as these sandwiches can be, they are in fact only a sub-species of the new category known (to me) as Confused Foods. Confused foods are those mixed-up nonsenses that are so confused you don’t know when you’re really meant to be eating them. Among my favourite examples are:
    5.      Any mini – party foods, especially the mini portions of fish and chips. Fish and chips are a meal not a party nibble!
    6.      Instant porridge pots. Should be for breakfast, but eaten as a snack throughout the day, which is WEIRD.
    7.      The London Pizza. Ie a pizza with a portion of chips on top. Never actually seen in London, to my knowledge.
    8.      Donner meat pizza. Some more delicate middle-class readers may not know of this, but be assured – it is what it sounds like.  Obviously designed for those people who are so pissed that they can no longer make decisions, pizza or kebab? And if you think this is a non-middle-class dish, I suggest drinking with some of the students who live near me.
       
    Finally, topping the list of all-time confused foods is a pub snack that I recently spotted behind the bar; The Ploughman’s Lunch in a Bag. This is confused for many reasons, the first being that two cream crackers, three pickled onions and a Dairylea triangle do NOT constitute a ploughman’s lunch. Who the hell is it aimed at? All those people who, when fancying a salty snack in a pub has ever thought, “Hmm, shall I have crisps or peanuts? If only I could have a ploughman’s lunch?” Sadly for the manufacturers, I feel this niche has probably been tempted away already, and are now quite content with their donnerburger-topped pizza-flavour canapés, thank you very much. 

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