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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Jessica S (5)

    Thursday
    Jan122012

    MY BIG FAT AMERICAN WEDDING canapé

    The English middle classes frown upon excess. Say it out loud: excess. Now say restraint. Need I say more? But as is always the case in our green and pleasant land, it’s the exception which proves the rule. When it comes to weddings, some degree of excess is unavoidable and always forgiven. Whether it's ever-so-slightly-too-many adorable flower girls or the extravagant hat of a pride-filled mother of the bride, it adds to the charm. Provided it’s not, you know, excessive.

    I was recently a guest at a wedding in the USA where the excess / restraint equation was inverse. Consider this: a whole suckling pig; 3 foreribs of beef; macaroni cheese; crispy duck; a raw bar; burgers and fries; calamari and shrimp; southern fried chicken. These were just the canapés. To follow, an immense meal of deep fried brie, Caesar salad, sorbet, fillet steak, four different types of pudding and then wedding cake. Oh, and cheese. It surprised me, for this was an indisputably middle class affair, and yet it made perfect sense. In America, bigger is always better and excess must exceed expectations. In America, excess means generosity rather than vulgarity.

    There are 2.5 million weddings a year in the USA. 74% of Americans are classed as overweight or obese. Would it be excessively rude of me to suggest this is not a coincidence?

    Friday
    Nov252011

    Five reasons I can't get enough of the office bash

    It's with a heavy heart I write this, for I will miss my office party this year. Because whilst there are those who dread the annual warm white wine fuelled shame fest that is the office Christmas bash, there are 5 very good reasons we should love it...

    1. It's free

    We're all broke, none of us has had a pay rise since 2007 and there's no hope of one for at least a decade. But lo! Relief comes in the form of vast quantities of cheap booze, so let's drink and be merry and toast our employers' fleeting generosity.

    2. It doesn’t require any effort at all

    No need to mingle, circulate or sparkle with wit and repartee, no need to pretend you’re there for any reason besides getting hammered - the sole purpose of this occasion is to get really drunk, really quickly.

    3. It provides ample gossip to last until the next Christmas party

    The silly season is never sillier than amongst drunk colleagues. Enough said.

    4. It enables a midday start to the working day

    Yes, for one day only, the office is empty until noon whereupon everyone arrives and spends 30 mins talking about the party before heading to the pub.

    5. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it

    Like turkey, mince pies, Only Fools & Horses and Baileys, it is an essential element of the festive season.

     

    Saturday
    Sep242011

    The Enduring Appeal Of Trash TV

    Kerry Katona. Kim, Khloe, Kylie, Kendall and Kourtney Kardashian. Ah, the magical, alliterative world of trash TV. A poll at my office, a middle class haven thinly disguised as an advertising agency, confirms its popularity. Hastily issued pleas for anonymity confirm it’s a guilty pleasure. So, if we know it’s bad, why are we drawn to the car crash that is Kerry Katona, and why is TOWIE essential viewing for the chattering classes? I suggest we blame the Victorians, who, after all, invented both the middle class and the Freak Show. As much as we’d like to pretend otherwise what’s TOWIE if not a modern equivalent? In truth we are just as fascinated by ‘difference’ as our great-great grand parents. We may think we’ve evolved because now that difference is class based, but let’s be honest; staring at others is staring at others. And it’s fun.

    Monday
    Jun132011

    The impact Of Pre-Rolled Puff Pastry In A Baking Showdown

    Flickr: adactio

    Ahh, pomp, circumstance and bunting... Kate & Wills' nuptials may seem a long time ago but Im still feeling a little scarred by a new level of competition I witnessed in the build up to the great day.

    In my own jolly corner of England, the great event was honoured by an aptly themed inter departmental bake off and we drew lots to make the best version of the nation’s favourite party food – the sausage roll. 

    This hitherto humble snack became the subject of fierce competition, and, as the day drew near my efforts intensified: to Peter Jones for a mincer; the butcher in Portobello for the finest pork belly money could buy; the window box for sage; and where else but Waitrose for Sicilian unwaxed lemons. 

    When I finally came to arrange my wares - complete with home made puff pastry and two different fillings - on a Provençal olive wood board I doubted even Bucklebury could boast a finer effort. 

    Imagine my surprise when I lost to shop-bought sausage meat bound in pre-rolled puff pastry dyed “patriotic” red, white and blue. It seemed that my artisan approach had failed to anticipate others’ preference for a bit of tasteless fun. Silly, silly me: if the Middletons have taught us anything, it's that tasteless fun a middle class fortune makes! Thoughts of the next round fill my head... tennis ball cupcakes, just in time for Wimbledon. Tasteless, yes, but lots of fun. And not a Provençal olive wood board in sight. 

    Tuesday
    Mar152011

    BRITS FAVOURITE PASTIME AT WORK REVEALED 

    The internet has given us many wonderful things; an ever expanding library of knowledge, available to all; the opportunity to connect with fellow humans, all over the world, instantly; the means to rise up against oppressors & overcome them; but most importantly the chance to shop with an ease hitherto unimaginable.
     
    No need to find a space to park the Mini - which even with a residents’ permit is frankly a nightmare - no need to wrestle with loads of bags on the 52, no need to deal with the squillions of people in Selfridges. No need to skive off work.
     
    It seemed the perfect solution, until the fruits of my all-too-easy e-commerce experiences started arriving at work. It had never occurred to me that previously, shopping was essentially a private pursuit, and mercifully so. Can there be greater ignominy than the guys from despatch bringing 47 parcels to your office in a week? Only the creeping sense of dread you feel when you realise others not only see how shallow you are, but also imagine you are either well paid – horrors! - or indebted to Barclaycard – horrors!
     
    Last week, I took delivery of no less than 4 cardigans from All Saints, some leather trousers from theOutnet (mitigation: they were Balmain, at 70% off), 2 pairs of leather shorts from ASOS (leather again? Afraid so), and a mincer attachment for my Kenwood Chef from John Lewis (I told you I was middle class). It got so bad that one of my colleagues actually came right out and asked where I get the money for it all. Just describing it has sent shivers down my spine. So I am resolved: never again. Ok, never again after today’s parcel, just a tiny, essential leather jacket from the All Saints sale. Well I did send all that stuff from last week back. Well, most of it.
     
    Oh, the shame!