Thursday, 17 April 2008

An elegy for the Battenberg

In the past few weeks (hey, this is as close to topicality as the Intellectual Hooligan gets, alright?), a quiet bombshell was dropped. You may not have heard the explosion. But, soon enough - mark my words - you'll feel the shockwaves.

Here's the full, calamity-broaching article to which I refer - but, knowing you to be the busy people you are, I'll hit you right away with the salient point:

Hundreds of food and drink products containing food colourings will begin disappearing from shop shelves over the next year if the industry responds to a voluntary ban on the additives demanded by the government's Food Standards Agency today ...

Foods affected include "mushy peas, battenberg cakes, turkish delight and tinned strawberries" (my bold), all of which "might disappear temporarily or permanently".

Now doesn't that just hit you like a rhino to the large intestine? The casual laissez-faire of "might disappear temporarily or permanently". As if this were a matter of little consequence.

The noble battenberg and I go back a long way. E'er a human of fine gustatory tastes - bearer of a palate so refined that, ye, from the very crib, I would bellow my distaste for mere 'standard' babyfood - I was instantly drawn as a child to the decorous battenberg.

Its very appearance, you'll agree, resonates a certain aristocratic sophistication. But this distinguished foodstuff is to be banished from our supermarket shelves. It's enough to make a liberal hooligan go all Daily Mail.


My vision o'ermisted with tears, therefore, I decided to immerse myself nostalgia-inducingly in all things battenbergian - courtesy of Google Images.

A feast for the eyes, indeed. But soon, dear blogprodder, soon enough, our eyes shall be the sole organs via which we may feast upon such delights! Make a search, yourself, and you'll be confronted by page upon page of battenbergiary excellence. Pedigrees ... 9-square extravaganzas ... Battenbergs of every creed and colour (mostly yellow and pink, admittedly, on the latter).

But - amidst this Crufts-like display of fine breeding - one particular specimen stood above all others. Gentlefolk, I give you - the best in show:

"A delicious individual battenburg",
in the eloquent words of its progenitor.

But delicious hardly begins to do it justice. Empathy-inducing would surely be this individual's greatest selling-point. The image radiates a bashful, rather self-effacing charm - marzipan-heavy, sugar-grain-encrusted and - crucially - slightly lopsided.

Have you ever seen a cake that so palpably invites anthropomorphosis?

I say cake. This "individual battenburg", though, is more than a cake.

He is a friend.

1 comment:

yacoob said...
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