The UK environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has sparked a controversy with the Commons when she suggested they eat turnips due to food shortages faced in the country.
“It’s important to make sure that we cherish the specialisms that we have in this country,” Coffey addressed the parliament. “A lot of people would be eating turnips right now rather than thinking necessarily about aspects of lettuce and tomatoes and similar.”
Coffey provided her naysayers with the material they could typically only dream of thanks to her love of turnips, which is most generally linked with the long-suffering manservant Baldrick in Blackadder.
The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw suggested, “Let them eat turnips!” using the hashtag #TomatoShortages, as “turnips” maybe started trending for the first time on Twitter timelines.
Due to harsh weather conditions in Spain and North Africa causing a food shortage, Coffey was forced to provide an urgent answer to the Commons about the rationing of salad ingredients in supermarkets.
“I’m conscious that consumers want a year-round choice and that is what our supermarkets, food producers, and growers around the world try to satisfy,” she continued.
People wondered if this was the promise made to them following Brexit. They further inquired, as they posted altered photos of campaign buses with political campaign signs “forget tomatoes, let’s eat turnips instead”.
Those who continue receiving their vegetable box deliveries during the winter months are aware of the benefits of eating seasonally and avoiding imported foods. Many people could be forgiven for crying just thinking about cherry tomatoes while butternut squash, swedes, and parsnips pile up in kitchen cabinets.
One individual went as far as sharing a link to a poster for the post-Brexit cooking series 101 Ways with Turnips, which featured Ann Widdecombe and promised inspiration.
Downing Street had to step in to defend Coffey and stop turnip jokes. They defended her by saying she was promoting British vegetables. The spokesperson for the prime minister rejected the idea that Brexit was the primary cause of such food shortages.
He replied: “We don’t believe it is for us to tell people what they should or shouldn’t buy – that is entirely a matter for them. I think what the secretary of state was doing was setting out the importance of celebrating the produce that we grow here in the UK, but, ultimately, it is for individuals to decide what food they wish to buy.”
When faced with a question regarding whether Brexit was to blame for the food crisis, he continued: “The industry and retailers themselves have spoken about the reason for some of the supply issues we are facing, notably poor weather in certain parts of southern Europe and north Africa.”
For those who are sure of what other recipes might exist for turnip recipes, they might rewatch Blackadder for inspiration from Baldrick’s recipe for turnip surprise. Spoiler alert: the one-pot wonder, the turnip surprise, is nothing more than a turnip.
- Published By Team Timeswire