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18 June 2007

Food and Britishness

There is a thought provoking piece on The Observer's Word of Mouth blog about the connections between obesity and the rather amorphous concept of Britishness. The main argument in the post is that so many non-religious Anglo-Saxons are both disconsolate and fat because they lack an identity to unify them either to each other or to the food they eat.

Although the article is somewhat sweeping, I can't fundamentally disagree with the view that food is crucial in tying us to our roots and giving us our identity.

I don't think that encouraging Britons to bake their own hot-cross buns will boost community cohesion. But I do think that understanding one of the reasons why Britain is so fat - the dissolution of traditional culture in global consumer culture - helps explain why there is a crisis in "Britishness". And it isn't the fault of immigrants.

As an aside, I was amused that the photo at the top of the article was of a chippy and as we know well, fish and chips is hardly the most British of dishes.


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