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Thursday 9 June 2011

Friday Food – In Defence Of The Sundried Tomato

After the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum, those opposed to AV came out to crow, and to variously mock anyone who had supported the Yes campaign. Typical of the sneer merchants generating Phil Space copy for the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate was academic Tim Luckhurst, who proceeded to lay into, well, academics, for the benefit of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.

In his sneerfest, Luckhurst deployed the full range of insults: “campaign to wreck Britain’s electoral system ... sanctimony ... cloistered academics ... complacent ... university common rooms, small circulation newspapers and the BBC ... patronising sense of entitlement ... privileged elite ... Safe inside their charming homes and protected by generous salaries and prestigious qualifications ... insulated from reality ... arrogance ... tiny, incestuous elite ... wild, unrepresentative delusions”.

Luckhurst clearly decided to forego the chip on each shoulder in favour of the whole bag of spuds. And that wasn’t the only food on his menu: there was also the obligatory observation “Islington is where New Labour’s Praetorian Guard live and devour sun-dried tomatoes in memory of Tony Blair”. And here he confirms that he has entered Gerald Ratner territory.

There is nothing privileged or elite about something that you can buy from the local Asda for a quid a jar. Sundried tomatoes are, along with roasted peppers and a variety of stuffed and merely pitted olives, a more or less permanent fixture in the Zelo Street kitchen. They make an intensely flavoured antipasto (for Daily Mail readers, that’s a fancy foreign word for starter).

Sundried tomatoes are especially good with an aperitif, whether that is a good slug of port, G’n’T, Ouzo (plenty of ice in there, please) or just a beer. There’s nowt wrong with sundried tomatoes. It’s remarks like that by Tim Luckhurst that show him up as not merely a prat, but a prat who clearly takes no interest or enjoyment in his food. So make that a sad prat.

In the meantime, I’ll get the sundried tomatoes out of the fridge and up to room temperature. Enjoy!

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