Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeCulture WarsWhen ‘cultural appropriation’ is hard to swallow

When ‘cultural appropriation’ is hard to swallow

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McDONALD’S has been accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ after putting a jerk chicken sandwich on its Christmas menu. 

Jerk chicken – which is sweet, spicy and smoky – originates from Jamaica, but some customers have complained that the fast-food giant’s version is nothing like it should be.

One woman said on Facebook: ‘How is this jerk? Cultural appropriation yet again.’  

‘Cultural appropriation’ is said to happen when elements of one culture are adopted by members of another culture, often to the disadvantage of the original culture.  

Apparently the restaurant trade is growing increasingly wary of it after similar allegations were aimed at Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. It could end up being taken to ludicrous lengths . . .

‘Good afternoon, sir. Can you tell me your nationality?’  

– ‘I’m English. Why do you ask?’  

‘Well, sir, we like to ensure dishes are relevant to each customer. Can I take your order?’  

– ‘Fish, chips and mushy peas, please.’  

‘I’m sorry, sir – I thought you said you were English?’  

–  ‘That’s right.’  

‘Well, our cod was caught off Norway, potatoes are believed to have originated from Peru 8,000 years ago and peas were possibly first being cultivated in Egypt around the same time. So I’m afraid if we served fish, chips and mushy peas to an Englishman, we’d be looking at a case of triple cultural appropriation.’  

–  ‘Okay, I’ll have beans on toast instead.’  

‘That’s a problem, sir, because the haricot bean comes from Mexico. You don’t happen to have any Mexican ancestry, do you?’  

– ‘Am I wearing a sombrero? Do I have a droopy moustache?’  

‘No, but it might help even if you’ve only been on holiday to Acapulco.’  

–  ‘Well, I haven’t! Look, forget the beans on toast and just get me a tuna and mayonnaise sandwich.’  

‘Er, tricky one that, sir. Mayonnaise is from Spain, and tuna is caught off Brazil.’  

– ‘A BLT then.’  

‘Not possible, I’m afraid. Pigs were originally domesticated in Asia, lettuce was first cultivated in the Middle East and tomatoes came from the Andes in South America.’  

 –  ‘Then I’ll just have an Eccles cake – you can’t get more English than that!’  

‘Nice try, sir. But Eccles cakes contain raisins, whose origins can be traced back to Greek antiquity, and cinnamon, which is an ancient product of India.’  

–  ‘How about an ice cream?’  

‘Ice cream is thought to have first been made in China.’  

– ‘Well, forget the meal. I’ll just a cup of tea.’  

‘Sorry – China as well.’  

– ‘Coffee?’  

‘Ethiopia.’  

–  ‘For God’s sake, just give me a glass of tap water then! That comes from rainclouds. I can’t culturally appropriate the sky!’  

‘I think you’ll find, sir, that the prevailing westerly winds bring moisture-laden tropical maritime air masses across the Atlantic and they fall in the British Isles as rain. So our tap water probably originated somewhere around the Bahamas.’  

–  ‘Right, I’m off to McDonald’s.’  

‘Will you leave me a tip?’  

–  ‘I would, but the nickel in these pound coins comes from Canada and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to culturally appropriate it.’  

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Weaver Sheridan
Weaver Sheridan is a wannabe best-selling novelist, one of his efforts being the Fifties Franny series, available on Amazon Kindle books.

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