So, Marks & Spencer (M&S) decided to shake things up by launching a new product – the Spanish Chorizo Paella Croquetas. Spaniards worldwide were like, “¡Dios mío!” They felt like M&S was disrespecting their grandma’s cooking by mixing up Spain’s beloved paella with croquetas, a dish of French origin.
A Cultural Mash-Up
Okay, let’s break this down: Paella is a big deal in Spain, like a national treasure. Then there’s chorizo, a pork sausage from the Iberian Peninsula. And finally, we’ve got croquetas, which, FYI, originally hail from France.
Naturally, the internet exploded with Spanish foodies expressing their disgust. Simon Hunter, a correspondent for The Times in Spain, shared a pic of the dish and said, “NO NO NO.” A Spanish user even suggested calling in the ambassador to discuss this culinary crime.
UK Ambassador Hugh Elliott jumped in, saying he loves chorizo, paella, and croquetas, but combining them? He was puzzled by M&S’s move.
Then things got interesting when the British ambassador suggested trying the dish. He was ready to give it a shot and even joked about eating their own words.
More Food Faux Pas
This isn’t the first time food blending raised eyebrows. Take the case of Jamie Oliver and his “Punchy Jerk Rice” in 2018. He got heat for mixing Jamaican jerk flavors with rice, angering Jamaican-British folks, including MP Dawn Butler.
Levi Roots, a Jamaican-born chef, called out Oliver, saying his jerk rice lacked essential spices and missed the mark on how jerk cooking is done. Roots explained the cultural significance behind “jerk” and why it couldn’t apply to rice.
The Culinary Culture Clash
Food evolves with cultures mixing, but there’s a problem when big names like Oliver or M&S profit off another culture’s food while the original creators get zilch.
Butler’s beef was about representation. She highlighted how British-Jamaicans run restaurants serving authentic jerk food to local communities without making big bucks, unlike celebrity chefs.
The Bigger Picture
Culinary cultural appropriation isn’t just a joke. It’s about power dynamics and who gets credit (and money) for cultural creations. In Western Europe, it’s often White establishments cashing in on diverse cuisines while the original creators barely get a slice of the pie.
Finding Humor in the Mix
Amidst this cultural cuisine chaos, comedian Nigel Ng turned it into comedy gold. His Uncle Roger character humorously roasted British chefs for failing to nail the basics of dishes like egg fried rice.
Bottom line: It’s not just about food. It’s about respect, representation, and who’s cashing in on cultural dishes. Time for everyone to share the table and give credit where it’s due!