22 Apr 2023

Let them eat quiche: Royal recipes leave a bitter taste

5:12 pm on 22 April 2023
King Charles' Coronation Quiche

Let them eat quiche: Buckingham Palace has shared a recipe for a spinach, tarragon and broad bean quiche to help loyal subjects celebrate Charles III's big day. Photo: Buckingham Palace

ANALYSIS: Royal recommendations for quiche, roast lamb and strawberry and ginger trifle taste a little bitter when UK's rate of food poverty is among the worst in Europe, writes Lucy Corry.

Forget 'let them eat cake'. 'Let them eat quiche' is the 2023 update, at least if you're a subject of soon-to-be-crowned King Charles III.

Buckingham Palace has kindly shared a recipe for a Coronation Quiche to mark the big day on 6 May - with the idea that people will make one to share with friends and neighbours. Judging from the feedback, most people wouldn't thank for you for turning up with a quiche featuring polarising broad beans and spinach (and that's before they find out that the pastry recipe contains lard - otherwise known as rendered pig fat).

Quiche - widely agreed to be an open pastry shell with an egg custard filling seasoned with a variety of other ingredients - is commonly associated with French cuisine but it in fact originated in medieval Germany. The word itself comes from the German kuchen (a nice tie-in with the King-in-waiting's German ancestry, as long as you Don't Mention The War

Quiches have been part of English cuisine since the 14th Century, but it's a bit of a stretch to consider them part of the current culinary landscape. There was no sign of a quiche of any kind in a 2019 YouGov poll looking for the most popular British foods of all time.

Instead, Yorkshire pudding, Sunday roast, fish and chips, crumpets, a full English breakfast and bacon sandwiches made the top tier.

Coronation chicken, a dish of cooked chicken in a creamy Indian-inspired sauce that was invented for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, didn't appear anywhere on the list either, even though it still appears as a filling option in most British sandwich shops.

While making a Coronation Quiche might seem like a lot more hassle than calling in some takeaways, it's a more economical option than some of the other recipes that Buckingham Palace have kindly shared with the hoi polloi.

A delicious-sounding Coronation roast rack of lamb with Asian-style marinade by chef Ken Hom requires two 750g racks of British lamb at a cost of about GBP55, or $110, to feed four to six. A recipe for prawn tacos with pineapple salsa by celebrity chef Gregg Wallace requires GBP5 ($10) of king prawn meat - for just three tacos.

Even if money was no object, you'd need the best part of a day (and 10 eggs) to prepare Adam Handling's strawberry and ginger trifle.

Britain's King Charles III (R) and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort arrive for the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on April 9, 2023. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP)

Photo: Yui Mok / Pool / AFP

The coronation may be a rare celebration, but these recipes leave a bitter taste in the mouth when set against reports that the UK's rate of food poverty is among the worst in Europe. Millions of people struggle to access the food they need or lack the facilities to cook or store food safely. In February, a poll found that 14 percent of Britons had to skip meals in the last 12 months because they couldn't afford to eat.

There are other problems, too. During a national shortage of fruit and vegetables due to climate-disrupted harvests in Europe and Africa earlier this year, British supermarkets restricted what people could buy. At the time, environment secretary Therese Coffey sparked an uproar when she suggested that Britons 'cherish' and eat homegrown produce like turnips instead.

Perhaps the future king, who is well-known for his interest in farming and the environment, might do well to learn from lessons of the past. In 1381, major socio-economic problems saw major uprisings across England and several nobles lost their heads.

A bit less of 'let them eat quiche' and a bit more 'let's help them eat better' might help Charles III enjoy a more positive relationship with his people.

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