Food Glorious Food

HideShow resource information

1. The Butchers Shop

Written by Angela Topping ' The Butchers shop' is a realistic, but perhaps grusome, description of a butchers shop. A moral about eating meat is conveyed. The Purpose is to entertain but also to comment on situation. Adults, meat eaters, fans of the author. Genre : Poem. The poem appears to initially be, as the title suggests, a simple description of a butcher’s shop, but moves into a meditation on the nature of what the shop represents, both as a conduit to memory, and as something more universal. It has 14 lines, and although it has not got all the traditional features of a sonnet, such as a complex rhyming scheme, or lines of iambic pentameter, it has other features that suggest that it could be classed as a poem in this form. Most strikingly, there is the sense of a turn in lines 9–10, and also the ways in which it appears to investigate a problem or an issue – in this case, the emotions and thoughts that the butcher’s shop summons up for the poet.

1 of 33

2. Eating Out

Wrote by U A Fanthorpe, the poet remembers experinces eating out with (her now dead) parents and the things she learnt. The purpose of the poem is to entertain, hthe audience is fans of the author. The awkward and discomforting subject matter is matched by the awkward prosody. The poet has chosen not to use an obvious set stanza form or a clear rhyme scheme. The metre is unusual – not the standard iambic pentameter line, but the 12-syllable alexandrine – though it is used very irregularly. The poem is written in unrhymed couplets, 14 lines with an extra last line, giving something of the effect of a sonnet possessing an extra line, a final explanation or coda. It goes through a series of different experiences in restaurants, recalling visits taking the form of an initiation, or an education in fine dining apparently experienced in the poet’s childhood as herfather rehearsed with her the processes of ‘grownup’ eating out.‘Eating out’, that is, eating together, should be an affirming experience; here it is not. In these brief 15 lines the poem charts a lifetime of experience, from childhood through the time of her parents’ deaths. There is no real rhyme scheme, but there is the chiming of the dead rhyme ‘later... later... later’ at the end of lines 5, 8 and 13. This word moves us on from the poet’s childhood (lines 2–5) to her teenage years (lines 6–8), to young adulthood perhaps (lines 9–10), through to maturity (lines 11–12)

2 of 33

3. The Sweet menu

Jeremy Hughes wrote the poem in 2004. The narrator dines alone and descrbies his experince. He seems to regret there is no one to occupy the empty chair at his table and feels lonely. The purpose of the poem is to entertain, the audience would likely be fans of his work. The narrator describes the restraunt in deatail, noticing things other don't as they are too engaged in their meals. The experince of dining alone dissapoints him.  This poem starts with an initial piece of wordplay in the title – ‘the sweet menu’ playing on the dual senses of the word ‘sweet’ as an adjective meaning ‘sugary to the taste’, with the related extended sense of ‘pleasant, enjoyable’, and the noun ‘sweet’ (and its related adjective) referring to the final course of a meal.

In the US, Ireland  the word ‘dessert’ is often used for all final courses, but in higher register English, ‘pudding’ is generally used to refer to the final course of a meal – technically, ‘dessert’ should only be used when fruit or sweetmeats are included in this course, and this tradition is held in some social contexts. As a result, in England, the use of the word ‘sweet’ to refer to pudding has been seen to be a lower register or northern usage. The poem is in unrhymed couplets with one final single line which acts as a coda to the poem, emphasising the wordplay throughout. It describes a solitary meal in a restaurant in simple and direct language, the use of anaphora (There is... there is...), monosyllabic words, and simple clauses emphasising the limpidity of the language

3 of 33

4. Grandpa's soup

This is another poem where there is explicit and implicit subject matter, i.e. the poem foregrounds the way the poet likes her grandfather’s soup, but it is as much about her love for this grandfather as it is about the actual soup. It is also like Text 5 and other texts, in that it is about food that comes from a very particular place, in this case Scotland. The poem was actually chosen by the Scottish Poetry Library as one of eight poems that were decoratively printed on postcards and chosen to represent Scotland for National Poetry Day 2004, something that suggests how effectively Kay has managed to evoke a memory resonant for many people. As we can deduce from the poem, the soup involved here is one of Scotland’s favourite dishes, a Scotch (or Scots) Broth. It involves a hough – of hock (shin) – of beef or perhaps lamb, and various vegetables cooked for a good time: it is a thick, meaty, warming soup, very appealing in the cold and wet climate of Scotland. The poem does not use a clear or regular stanza form, and there is no regular rhyme scheme. This is because the poet wants to get the effect of ordinary colloquial speech. More than this, the poem, though written by the adult poet, is a strong memory of childhood, and of her affection for her grandfather, hence it employs elements of syntax, vocabulary, and lineation that are intended to remind us of the speech of a child. Jackie Kay is well known, as a writer, for exploring the complexities of her heritage. Adopted as a child, she later sought out her birth mother and father, a white Scottish woman and a Nigerian man, finding in the process siblings who had been brought up by their parents, while she and her brother Maxwell had both been raised by the same adoptive parents. 

4 of 33

5. The coming of Yams and Mangoes and Mountain Hon

This poem is by the Jamaican-born poet James Berry , and records his delight in seeing fruits and vegetables from his native Jamaica in the London shops: it is as though ‘Caribbean hills have moved and come [to London]’ (line 4). For the English reader who is not of Jamaican or Caribbean background, many of the fruits and vegetables named here are going to be unfamiliar, so that the language of the poem seems immediately exotic. This is partly the poet’s point. He wants the reader to be taken out of his or her comfort zone, thrown into a wholly new vocabulary, suggesting to the reader that ‘English’ experience isn’t the only way in which to see the world. All the unusual names of fruits and vegetables here are matched by other forms of linguistic deviation, notably by some complex figures of speech. Leech explains that one kind of figure of speech is syntagmatic: ‘A syntagmatic figure introduces a layer of patterning additional to those normally operating within the language; for example, in an alliterative figure such as the furrow followed free (S T Coleridge), the selection of the same initial phoneme /f/ on successive accented syllables imposes a repetitive pattern (˟ f ˟ f ˟ f) which in other types of discourse would be fortuitous and of no communicative value’ (Leech, 2008, p. 18). This poem by Barry begins with just such a syntagmatic figure: Handfuls hold hidden sunset (line 1). To some extent the poet is making the poem self-explaining. So ‘Breadfruit a green football’ creates an image of the fruit concerned. But again notice the literariness here in the surprising metaphor. Fruits are compared to each other in a way which interweaves the images (of plantains, bananas, melons and pineapples) together. The effect is one of wonderful abundance.

5 of 33

6. Glory Glory be to Chocolate

This short poem is a witty play on the idea that chocolate is a food which is so pleasant as to be morally wrong – an idea made fun of here, but something which, as the poet establishes, has profound cultural implications.The poem consists of five three-line stanzas (if you include the first, which encompasses the subtitle presented in a large capitalised font to emphasise its prominence as a slogan), followed by a final three lines which suggest a three-line stanza divided into a couplet and a single line to emphasise the final message of the poem. Purpose to entertaint and celebrate chocolate. Persuade reader that chocolate is something to be enhoyed without feeling guilty. Contemporary poem, 1997. 1st person narrative suggests the writers personal opinion. 'Eve's blessing' . It is responding to the idea that women in particular like chocolate, and that this liking is a sex-linked weakness of character, implying that women find it hard to resist temptation. The reference in this context to ‘Eve’ locates this idea of women’s inherently weak nature to mythical prehistory, with the biblical story of Adam and Eve supposedly demonstrating how women find it difficult to resist temptations. The title ‘Glory Glory be to Chocolate’ picks up on this religious reference, as it imitates the traditional Christian prayer ‘Glory be to God’. It wittily implies that chocolate is something which should be praised and given thanks for, something wonderful rather than something sinful.

6 of 33

7. Receipt to make soup

This poem was written by the poet and satirist Alexander Pope, and sent to his friend Jonathan Swift in a composite letter, dated to September 1726. At the time, Pope was recovering from a serious accident, where he had been thrown into a river when travelling home in his carriage. Pope uses the lexis typical of recipe books, such as the imperative ‘take’ that starts the poem and the permissive ‘you may...’ generally using simple clear language of instruction: ‘cut... put... season... put’. The joking tone is made clear from the second line ‘you may buy it, or steal’, as to address a clergyman with the recommendation that he should steal his meat is clearly not serious (especially in an era where stealing was still penalised by hanging)The lines of verse often give the impression of being end-stopped, having a complete thought or idea in each, partly because of the strong couplet rhymes, but when you look more closely, there is considerable evidence of enjambment throughout, and the rather breathless pace of the poem is maintained by the continual linking conjunctions of ‘then... with... that... and...’ In fact the whole poem is composed of only two sentences, one of which lasts until line 26, and this accentuates the sense of a series of spoken instructions. The final four lines of this sentence also break the normal rhyming scheme, changing the rhyme to an alternating one for these four lines. This enhances the meaning of these lines, where the poet affects to reflect for a moment on how long the dish should be simmered for, the alternating rhyme slowing the pace of the poem up to the full stop which also represents the ‘full stop’ of cooking the dish to completion.

7 of 33

8. Beef Stroganoff

This text is an advertisement, but it masquerades as a different type of text, and seems to deliver content which is unrelated to the product. This kind of advertisement is often called an ‘advertorial’ (from ‘advert’ + ‘editorial’, again suggesting an unbiased, objective ‘editorial’ point of view, while covertly having a partisan bias) or an ‘infomercial’ (this was originally a term from ‘information’ + ‘commercial’ for an extended, five-minute television commercial paid for by advertisers, which affected to deliver information rather than simply sell things). In either case, the design of the advertisement foregrounds information that might be thought of as having a place in the normal content of a newspaper or magazine feature article, downplaying the overt connection to the advertised product in favour of something more like product placement. The advert was designed by Abbott Mead Vickers for Bisto Gravy, and takes the form of a recipe for beef stroganoff, using the comedian and actress Julie Waters in role as Yvonne, a chef in the style of Delia Smith. As such it is rather postmodern in style, something that appeals to an audience which appreciates irony. The advert is an ironic imitation of the commercialization of television presenters, a tongue-in-cheek imitation of how chefs become advertisers. In this instance, the comic persona of Yvonne is an excellent cook, but a terrible presenter, something indicated in the advert by the nature of the jokes used throughout.The slogan at the top left of the advert ‘Yvonne’s Tasty Tips’ is written in a font that slants to the right, as if in imitation of cursive handwriting, though it has separate, rather than joined up letters, in a colour which echoes the ochres and browns of the photograph angled at the top right, of Julie Walters in character as Yvonne, in deliberately unfashionable clothes and make-up. It is tempting to suppose that there is a play of words on ‘tasty tips’ – at the very least, it is deliberately used as a cliché, something that represents adverts of a generation earlier.

8 of 33

9. Why We all Need to Eat Red Meat

This text is a piece of journalism which seeks to persuade readers of the benefits of eating red meat. It is written by John Torode, a judge on the television series MasterChef and therefore an acknowledged authority on what is considered to be good food. As he reveals in the first lines of this, he is an Australian, and as such considers that eating meat is in some ways part of his cultural heritage. His argument is that eating red meat is a good thing both from a health point of view, and as a socio-cultural phenomenon. The photographs that illustrate this article are interesting. Through the piece, Torode uses many classic elements of rhetorical persuasive strategy, such as personification, rhetorical questions, the use of references and statistics, personal anecdote, repetition, assertion, exclamation, exaggeration and so on. Throughout the article he seeks to justify his claims by reference to authority, another key strategy. For instance, he uses his celebrity status to ‘namedrop’ references to ‘London’s smartest and busiest restaurants’ implicitly aligning himself and his own opinions with these places, and seeking to attract aspirational readers. The short paragraphs and short, simple sentences throughout the article are very typical of tabloid journalism, and tend to assert ideas and opinions as though they were facts, even when they are clearly hyperbolic and inaccurate: ‘there wasn’t access to a decent piece of meat in this country’; ‘no one wanted to touch British beef’. The language throughout tends to be emotive. Meat is described as ‘tainted’ by the fear of disease for instance, a word which has powerful connotations of putrefaction or poisoning

9 of 33

10. Tripe

This text is presented as an information text, and comes from a book whose full title is From Eccles Cake to Hawkshead Wig: A Celebration of Northern Food. As such, it is attempting to record items of interest about different kinds of food, some of which have lost popularity over the years, so as to record information about the before it is lost (a hawkshead wig is an oval bun spiced with caraway seed). As such, it is organised in sections, starting with a description, followed by history, technique and region of production. The language of the text is fairly sophisticated, containing a number of polysyllabic words, and ones of high register, which add authority to the description, and suggest that the target readership is an educated one: ‘utilized... analogy... numerous... nourishing... eloquent... unmentionable... proletariat’. It uses a narrative style that is anecdotal, both in its appeal to authority, as with the quotations from Shakespeare and Pepys, and in its inclusion of extraneous details, such as the description of the ‘Tripe de Luxe’ restaurant in Wigan. However, the tone of the text is assertive and informative, with inevitable summing-up statements such as ‘Tripe-boiling is now less important’, and sometimes stating as facts unsupported suppositions and generalisations such as ‘it was not often encountered on the tables of gentlefolk’ or ‘[it] is now a minority taste’. The tone of authority that this gives to the text is underpinned by the many historical references to details such as public health legislation, which imply that the assertions in the text could be substantiated in detail if the authors were called upon to do so. Purpose :Inform. Audience : intrested in history of foods

10 of 33

11. Seven Simple Steps to Going - and Staying - Ve

This page is from the website of the Vegetarian Society, and is promoting the adoption of a vegetarian lifestyle. As such it is an interesting piece to compare to the Mail Online article by John Torode, which advocates the eating of meat. The website features the logo of the Vegetarian Society, and the slogan ‘understanding and respect for vegetarian lifestyles’, which implies that this is something which may not always exist in the world beyond the site.The piece is formulated as a simple and clear series of moves towards a desired goal. The attractiveness of the goal itself – becoming vegetarian – is not really questioned, something that is unsurprising given the context of the article, on a speciality website. The information bar offering different sections of the site reinforces the sense of a vegetarian community of identity, something that is also accentuated by the endorsement from the celebrity figure of Sir Paul McCartney, and the similar endorsement from Victoria Alderton, a non-celebrity figure, below. Each comment is headed by a photograph, in Paul McCartney’s case clearly a posed shot, in Victoria Alderton’s a much more informal picture, where she is not looking directly at the camera; each shot reflects their status. It is interesting that the caption to each photo – a quotation from the person involved – also reflects this divide between more and less formal attitudes. Paul McCartney asks a rhetorical question: ‘what could be better...?’ which implies that those who are not vegetarians are less health conscious and less caring of the planet. It is almost as though he is incredulous that anyone might not be a vegetarian. Purpose : to inform/ Educate. Audience : People wanting to become vegatarian 

11 of 33

12. Pizza Reviews

This text introduces several restaurant reviews by prefacing them with a short explanation ‘How we did it’ which immediately draws the reader in to a sense of community with the writers of the text, something that may link to the origin of the text in a specialist food magazine. The reviews are presented as being objective and unbiased, something emphasised by the use of slightly hyperbolic language such as ‘undercover agents’ and ‘anonymously’, as well as the more prosaic ‘paid for all food and drinks’ (suggesting that restaurant reviewers who identify themselves might get special concessions). Each review is prefaced by images of the two pizzas tasted, with a heading in capitalised font of the name of the restaurant concerned, a section of text describing the reviewers’ experiences, a section headed ‘branches’, giving addresses of other locations of the restaurant chain, and a section headed ‘best value wines’, with a final ‘grade’ which consists of a mark out of five for the margherita pizza and another mark out of five for the ‘overall experience’. There is a system to each review which adds to the impression that the testing of the pizzas is objective and unbiased; first the restaurant is described, then the food is described fairly systematically. Certain factors are noticed: the quality of the crust, the quality of the cheese and so on. The reviewers highlight their own expertise: ‘the mozzarella... tastes like generic (possibly Danish) catering mozzarella’; ‘typical of dough taken out of a fridge and not allowed to prove for long enough’; ‘air pockets that show it has been worked properly’. Puroose : Inform, Review. Audience: People intrested in eating at the restraunts, critics. 

12 of 33

13. Matthew Norman Review

This review is quite different in type to the pizza reviews in the previous text, not least because it doesn’t pull its punches, and gives an unashamedly low score to the single restaurant under review. This kind of review is actually much more typical of a broadsheet review of a restaurant, in that it focuses on a single place, and spends a considerable time in describing it and the food served. It is also a review which relies to a considerable extent on the character of the reviewer, in that it is intended to entertain as much as to inform. The restaurant food review is a normal genre in newspaper journalism, particularly the broadsheets, where it is often a mark of the associated wealth and leisure of an upmarket readership. Here, however, the writer sets out to disorientate and hence surprise the reader by introducing personal (biographical) material of a dramatic nature. A dangerous breakdown of his car on the M6 is not part of the normal or expected content of a newspaper review, yet here the writer mixes it in with the more standard evaluation of the restaurant in order to enliven and make more vivid the whole review. In fact, only about 60 lines of the article – less than half – focus on the restaurant itself, and half of this again is focused on the appearance of the restaurant rather than the food, something which indicate clearly the relative importance to the article of the food and the food-writer’s experience.

13 of 33

14. The Modern Menu

This text is a copy of the menu from the restaurant reviewed in Text 13, and as a result the two make an obvious comparison. Interestingly, although it is possible to immediately see the starter and pudding which Norman sampled, there is no evidence of the main course of Lancashire Hotpot which he mentions, which suggests that the restaurant changes its menu on a fairly regular basis (this menu is headed ‘Winter 2009’, and his review was written in December 2009). The heading with the name of the establishment is in a fairly small emboldened typeface, larger than the main text, but smaller than the subheadings of the various sections below, which is perhaps an attempt to imitate the style of a handwritten or daily typed-out menu (something which implies that the food offered is changed on a daily basis to reflect seasonal offerings and what is freshest at the market). The layout of the menu is fairly simple, in four columns across the page, with a couple of text boxes. The food is divided up into several sections, each headed with a section header indicating the contents, in a larger and bolder font than the main text. The whole menu seems to be divided up in a larger way into three sections by theme. Firstly, we can see that the far left column is devoted to the ‘Bar Menu’ (food designed to be eaten fairly quickly and less formally than in the main restaurant, usually in the bar, as the name suggests). At the foot of this column is a text box giving details of ‘Champagnes and Prosecco’ (an Italian sparkling wine), which may imply that these wines would go well with such light meals.

14 of 33

15. Hygiene Improvement Regulations

This text is a good example of a text written for a specific purpose. It consists of the instructions for issuing ‘Hygiene improvement notices’ and ‘Hygiene prohibition orders’, both of which are documents which have the power to close down an establishment which serves food. The improvement notice is in the nature of a warning, with the prohibition order something that follows from a conviction for a food hygiene offence. The language throughout is very legalistic, so as to ensure that there are no verbal ‘loopholes’ through which the law may be evaded. Formal terminology is used, with forceful verbs such as such as ‘comply’, ‘specify’ or ‘require’. Terms are very carefully hedged about with language that makes clarity more important than fluency: ‘grounds for believing’, ‘those measures, or measures which are at least equivalent to them’, so as to make it difficult for people to suggest that anything has not been clearly defined.One very evident difference between this text and those written to entertain, for instance, is the way in which it uses repetition. Particular words are repeated very frequently, such as ‘convicted’, ‘offence’, ‘prohibition’ and so on; there is no effort to vary them, rather once they have been defined, they are deliberately reused. In this context, synonyms are undesirable as they detract from the clarity of the text.

15 of 33

16. Nigella Express

This text is from a cookery book written by Nigella Lawson, which was made to accompany a television series of the same name. A transcript of part of the series where Nigella describes how to make this dish forms the basis of Text 17. This text and the one following are therefore an interesting comparison in terms of language. From the outset, the text has a friendly and informal address to the reader. The initial statement is an assertion which brooks of no contradiction, suggesting something of the confident personality of the presenter. The phrase has a gnomic quality, due to the repetition and mirroring of parallel phrases: ‘the best way to start the day... the best way to end it’, the paired phrases also reinforcing Nigella’s view of what is ‘the best’. The direct address to the reader continues with the use of the second person throughout: ‘you can’, but actually goes a step further than some other texts in that it creates a friendly and confiding tone by the use of idiomatic phrases such as ‘you know’ which imply a friendly confidence between the writer and the reader. The writer’s personal opinion is very prominent throughout, with the first person used a great deal, instead of the more impersonal ‘we’ which you sometimes get in such texts, a confident ‘I love it... I’m tempted...’ draws the reader in to a sense of sensual enjoyment – something that is very much a hallmark of this cookery writer’s style.

16 of 33

17. Transcript from Nigella Express

Many of the features of the previous text are reproduced in this transcript, though if anything it is an even more exaggerated example of the informal and personal interaction with the viewer. Nigella Lawson’s image as a cookery writer and presenter is grounded in the informal and the sensual, as well as a sense of the almost flirtatious, typified here by her mention of ‘the only thing that gets me up in the morning’, or ‘I like a bit of heat in the morning’, as well as her trademark consumption of the dish at the end of the presentation. The direct address to the reader in the previous text is here mimicked by a direct address to the camera: ‘let me tell you’; the informal phraseology is strongly emphasised by words like ‘yummy’ (a childish word which here emphasises the ways in which Nigella is a ‘yummy mummy’, in the common phrase), and the ‘m’ sounds in the middle of that word that imitate the wordless appreciation of food are again reemphasised by ‘m’ alliteration: ‘morning meals... mere sleepy moments’. Alliterative pairings feature frequently throughout the whole extract, in phrases such as ‘fast and fabulous’, ‘a clear conscience’, and even in triplets such as ‘workdays weekdays weekends’ but are here emphasised by the interpolated pictures of the dishes concerned; it is as though they are being made into memorable titles by this linguistic feature: ‘breakfast bruschetta’, ‘speedy shortcut chocolate croissants’, ‘spicy scrambled eggs’. 

17 of 33

18. Transcript of a Family Meal

This text is a record of a dinner table conversation from an American family of four, as the anthology indicates. Even were this attribution not given, it would be rapidly clear that the conversation took place at mealtime, and centred on the serving of a meal, and it would also be possible to tell that this family is American because of the use of ‘Mom’ as an abbreviation for ‘mother’ (UK English uses ‘Mum’ or ‘Ma’ in this context), the reference to ‘chips’ (referring to what are called ‘crisps’ in UK English), the use of ‘y’all’ (characteristic especially of the southern United States) Several things about this conversation are interesting, and may be features of the transcript rather than of the conversation. For instance, there is no indication of overlap in the conversation, where more than one person speaks at once. In real conversations, this is very rare. There is also no indication of pauses, or how long they might be, which leads us to conjecture these details. The conversation as a whole demonstrates how discussions over food are often not about the food itself, but about the quasisacramental significance of eating together as a family; family bonding is evident throughout through jokes, caustic remarks, small kindnesses and what is clearly a lot of non-verbal communication. The conversation as a whole demonstrates how important non-verbal signals are, but also suggests the imperfections of the transcription process that does not include an indication of movement or gesture. Fillers are almost entirely absent, as are indications of pauses or hesitations, suggesting that the transcript would make easier reading if they were present. Purpose : phatic talk, referential talk. Audience: each other

18 of 33

19. Transcript Ordering Burgers

This transcript seems initially to be much clearer in meaning than the previous text, and this is because it records a fairly linear process of decision-making between only two people. It demonstrates many of the features of ordinary turn-taking, interruption, layering, hesitation and so on. For instance, the hesitation indicated by the ellipsis following ‘er...’ in the first transcript is a very typical conversational feature; the sound ‘er’ features as a placeholder, maintaining the speaker’s intention of continuing. The speaker’s statement ‘I’m going to have an old timer with cheese’ is substantiated by the repetition of ‘I’m’ as the more definite ‘I am’, an example of epanalepsis that also establishes that the utterance has been completed. In response to the other speaker’s query, Speaker 1 clarifies that ‘the old timer’ is a type of burger, and the conversation builds from this point, developing into a discussion of the different kinds of food on offer and their appeal. Both speakers seem to use casual and informal language, as you would expect from the context, and even echo each other in repeating phrases: ‘I’m gonna have’, ‘I’m gonna have, I think I’m gonna have...’; ‘Are you gonna have... what you gonna have?’ Both speakers also use frequent tag questions such as ‘don’t you?’ and ‘do you?’, which tend to bond together participants in a conversation, and reassure each other with non-verbal signs of agreement such as ‘mm’. Interestingly, in this conversation the idea of food as temptation, or something to resist, is clearly present, when S2 says ‘I’m trying not to have nachos’ but then finally decides to have them, saying ‘I’m gonna have to have nachos, I’m addicted to it...’ The hyperbolic use of the word ‘addicted’ here suggests that this is simply a jovial reference to the attractiveness of the food, but nonetheless brings in a sense that some foods are dangerously attractive. There is frequent overlap in this conversation,

19 of 33

20. The Importance of Being Earnest

This extract demonstrates the ways in which food can be used as a weapon of social interaction. The comedy relies on the fact that there are certain social conventions of speech and behaviour to which both Cecily and Gwendolen are expected to adhere. First performed in 1895, the comedy plays on the fairly strict social conventions of the time – more than one scene focuses on the drinking of tea – and the ways in which polite conversation can mask bitter confrontations and subtle insults. The first stage direction gives a strong clue as to the overall tone of the scene: ‘The presence of the servants exercises a restraining influence, under which both girls chafe‘. Here the social differences of society are, in effect, reversed. Although the servants are apparently of lower status than both girls, it is nonetheless the servants who govern the tone of the conversation, and exercise power in this respect. Because the girls do not want to appear less than refined in front of the servants, their conflict has to be masked and appear like acceptably polite behaviour for young ladies. Both girls are careful to use very formal terms of address, calling each other ‘Miss Fairfax’ and ‘Miss Cardew’, while using informal asides (‘detestable girl’), and clearly disliking each other. This element of the comedy is enhanced by the stage directions: ‘elaborate politeness‘, ‘sweetly‘, ‘in a bored manner‘ ‘superciliously‘ and so on, as well as by the use of dramatic irony – the audience are aware that the two girls are, in fact, mistaken in thinking that they are in love with the same man, and so all this resentment is in fact misplaced.

20 of 33

21. Titus Andronicus

This scene comes from near the end of the play, and is the climax to a number of events that have been excessively violent and horrific. Titus Andronicus is a play that has caused a great deal of shock and horror in its time, and it has often been suggested that it is not entirely the work of Shakespeare, although modern scholarship generally accepts that it is so. The tragedy is written in blank verse, with lines of iambic pentameter, though in this section the verse is at times uneven – something which may either suggest the hand of a writer less expert than Shakespeare, or suggest Titus’ lack of control. Line 6, in particular is unusual. In its present form it has 12 syllables, and although the first half-line is iambic, the second is not; it is tempting to suppose that it should be something like ‘and the other ****’ which would fit metrically. The uneven line may suggest Titus is showing strong emotion at this point. Purpose : Shakespeare to entertain his audience. Audience Elizabthen, would have been outraged by the **** of lavina. extract from play.  Titus uses language that combines horror with sweetness in order to emphasise the torment of Lavinia, and also to remind the audience of what has been done to her. The two men are bound and gagged, so that they may not speak, but are compelled to hear – a situation analogous to the one that they have placed Lavinia in, by cutting out her tongue. She is described in terms of the natural: firstly as a ‘spring’ which has been contaminated, and then as though the mention of ‘spring’ has created an association with its homonym spring the season, associated with ‘summer’ as opposed to the ‘winter’ of her attackers.

21 of 33

22. A Modest Proposal

This text is one of the most famous of all satires, and certainly one of the wittiest texts that discusses cannibalism. Swift wrote this as a political pamphlet in 1729, to protest about the conditions of the poor in Ireland, and it has served as an example of sustained rhetorical control and satire ever since. The title itself is an example of meiosis, where the apparent humility of ‘modest’ acts against the shocking nature of the content of the pamphlet. The opening of the extract from the text given here demonstrates something that will be a feature of it throughout – the focus on ‘calculation’ and numbers. This is a deliberate imitation of contemporary pamphleteers, but also creates a dehumanisation of the people discussed, who become commodities rather than individuals. We might notice, for instance, the gradual move from ‘souls’ to ‘couples’ to ‘breeders’, the lexis here reflecting the attitude that these people are of interest only as statistics. The text contains many features of rhetoric, including the continual assumption of agreement from the reader: ‘The question therefore, is...’, and the assumption of authority in the author: ‘as I have already said... is utterly impossible’. There is a tendency towards extreme or superlative statements such as ‘utterly impossible’, ‘we can neither employ them in handicraft nor in agriculture’ and so on, which are reinforced by the continual reference to details of money. Purpose: To entertain, social commentary, arguementative. Audience: Poor/ Rich people in the 18th century, also the goverment of that time. 

22 of 33

23. Jonathan Crisp

This text, and the one that follows it, may be conveniently analysed together, as they make such an immediate comparison to each other. They are both packets for potato crisps, and each has been designed in a manner which is different to the conventions of this rather unusual genre of text. Both crisp packets are made of a foil-like material which makes them stand out, and both seem designed to draw the customer’s eye through their clarity of design. The name of the product, Jonathan Crisp, is itself a type of personification, as it suggests that the man is called Jonathan, or that the manufacturer shares his name with his product (it is simply an invented brand name, though the firm do make considerable efforts to maintain the style of discourse that assumes the existence of a Jonathan Crisp even on their web page). Other illustrations seem to resemble famous people, for instance the horseradish and sour cream flavour character originally closely resembled cartoons of Princess Anne (well known for her Olympic horse riding, perhaps hence the association with the ‘horse’ flavour), and the image was later withdrawn after publicity to this effect – the character now slightly resembles the Duchess of Cornwall instead. The managing director of Jonathan Crisp admits these similarities, saying ‘Some people even say the character with the cheesy grin on our Mature Cheddar and Red Onion flavour is Tony Blair.’ The front of the packet is plain, with little writing on it except for the brand name, flavour, slogan, and packet size, which are all smaller than the illustration of the character personifying the flavour. The cursive script of the company name is echoed in the text which sits beside the picture, ‘Crisps of Natural Character’, but the name of the flavour is printed in a simpler typeface, sans serif and capitalised, vertically aligned in a textbox which matches the colour of the man’s moustache and eyebrows. The 40g packet is briefly characterised as ‘A glorious 40g size’ something very untypical in an ordinary packet of crisps.

23 of 33

24. Salty Dog Crisps

‘Salty Dog’ crisps contrast with ‘Jonathan Crisp’ crisps in the ways in which they are marketed, their slogan is ‘crisps that bite back’ and they use the logo of the terrier dog (something based on the inventor’s own dog) to connote a rough authenticity. Whereas ‘Jonathan Crisps’ play on the idea of snobbery, half-seriously exaggerating their exclusivity, ‘Salty Dog’ crisps perhaps play on the idea of the ‘old salt’ or ‘old sea dog’; the image is of a practical, rough but honest person who is in some ways the reverse of the image presented by the other crisp packet (though they are both aiming for a similar market, in that they are both seeking to attract people away from the major brands such as Walker’s) The ‘mission statement’ of the crisps is at the base of the packet. Like Jonathan Crisp, there is a suggestion that the eponymous Salty is personally involved in the making of the crisps: ‘Salty Dog digs up only the biggest and best potatoes’ (there is a play here on the literal sense of ‘dig’ and the related sense of ‘find’). The words chosen are deliberately simple and sometimes alliterative: ‘dog... digs’, ‘biggest and best’, ‘bite back’. The blurb explains the process of crisp-making, with words that suggest that the process is personally supervised, and somehow more ‘hands-on’ than other brands of crisp might be: ‘sliced thickly and hand-cooked’. They are explicitly compared to the idea of the dog, as a mark of authenticity: ‘like Salty our crisps are rough around the edges, but they are 100% real’. On the reverse of the pack, like Jonathan Crisp, the pack has two columns of information, one on each side of the central seam. Again the central logo of the name is in the upper left-hand corner (though not in a text box, and with an illustration). However, unlike the other packet, there is personalised marketing information on both sides of the back of the packet.

24 of 33

25. That Surprising Craig Girl

This text is an advertisement for Grape-Nuts, a breakfast cereal which was created in 1897, containing neither grapes nor nuts (though its inventor believed that it did contain ‘grape sugars’). It originally appeared in Good Housekeeping, a magazine which is aimed at middleclass women, and, as its name suggests, focuses very much on the traditional stereotype of how a woman should be concerned with the business of being ‘feminine’ and homemaking. The advertisement is designed not to look like an advertisement, but rather like a gossip column, so as to appeal to its female audience. It is clearly intended to inspire feelings of admiration, and the desire to emulate, with the main illustration showing a capable and attractive-looking young woman defeating a young man in an athletic competition, in this case a punting race. He seems to be floundering and graceless, off-balance and almost falling into the river, while she is leaning confidently back on the punting pole, apparently relaxed even as she wins the race. The main text of the advertisement enlarges upon this initial impression. It is divided into three columns, the first of which, thinner than the others, is only half-filled with the nutritional information relating to Grape-Nuts. It is interesting to see how this differs from the equivalent information on more modern texts – it is full of assertions about the contents of the food, but has no details of quantities, recommended daily allowances and so on.The advertisement has a number of interesting pieces of pseudo-science, such as the suggestion that the chewing of the cereal will help to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities, and contains a special offer of free packets of Grape-Nuts (Grape-Nuts was actually the first cereal to be promoted by money-off coupons). It also offers a copy of a book about breakfasts written by a woman – but one with letters after her name, suggesting that she is a learned woman, thus combining the ideas of authority in both the academic and domestic spheres. This suggests how much the company is trying to capture the female market, but also suggests that they are strongly marketing the cereal as a health food.

25 of 33

26. From The Uses of Literacy

This text is extracted from The Uses of Literacy, a book by Richard Hoggart, In this section, Hoggart discusses the different types of food that are valued by the working classes, and the reasons for this. The text opens with a confident assertion that sets the tone for the whole extract – there is a clear sense of authority and knowledge throughout, and the references to phrases in inverted commas make it clear that the idea of ‘a good table’ for instance is not one which he necessarily shares himself. Throughout the extract, Hoggart distinguishes himself from the people about whom he writes, using phrases such as ‘many families’, ‘a husband’ or ‘any housewife’ to clarify that the information that he is retailing is based on observation rather than on personal experience. The detached style, which favours the passive, emphasises this; authority is given by the syntax: ‘this still means’, ‘salads are not popular’, ‘the mistrust of cafés has been reinforced’.

There is a focus upon the impact of language – almost, a sense of advertising – with the discussion of the use of the phrases ‘home-cooked’ or ‘home-made’ and their impact. The expressions used about food are interesting: ‘good’ (not, he clarifies, the same as ‘healthy’), ‘no body’, ‘something tasty’. Hoggart glosses this last as ‘something solid, preferably meaty, and with a well-defined flavour’, and goes into some detail about how this can be achieved. At this point, he also considers the use of proprietary brands such as ‘Oxo’ (later on he discusses ‘Spam’).

26 of 33

27. Workhouse Diets

This text, in contrast to Text 26, relies a great deal upon facts and figures, though this is also supported by anecdotal details. It comes from a book which, despite its title, is more a chronicle of social history than a recipe book, full of anecdotes and fascinating personal stories that give interesting background on the establishment and running of the workhouse system. This extract starts with two charts laying out the details of workhouse food allocations. These are not dated. The days of the week are on the left-hand side, and the charts illustrate how food is divided differently depending on the sex of the recipient, with ‘children under nine years of age to be dieted at discretion’. The surprisingly generous allocation of food to children above nine of the same rations as women is one of the things here that immediately suggests that the common perception of workhouses as places of privation and ill-treatment is something that is not quite accurate. This point is addressed in more detail in the following text, which directly addresses the issues raised by Oliver Twist, giving precise publication details, which inspire confidence in the information that follows. The style of the text is fluent, with frequent use of parentheses that create the impression of a fastmoving train of thought. Frequent discourse markers (‘although’, ‘though’, ‘however’) clarify the text, increasing the sense that it is authoritatively organised and a well-structured argument. The authority of the author is strongly asserted: ‘despite the impression given by Dickens...’, but supported by an ‘example’.

27 of 33

28. From Oliver Twist

This text has a particularly strong resonance, given the title of the anthology, as it is from the musical version of this Dickens novel that the phrase ‘Food, Glorious Food’ is taken. In that context, it is a song where the workhouse boys imagine the possible delicious dishes that they might feast upon, if they had the power. Strikingly, in the novel, there is no such mention of the possibilities of the imagination; in fact the gruel is never described in detail, and the boys never speculate on the alternatives that might be available. The language that Dickens uses to describe the feelings of the boys is strongly contrasted with the formality of the rest of the description: they ‘assiduously’ **** up stray splashes of gruel; they suffer ‘tortures’; they are ‘voracious and wild with hunger’; one has ‘a wild, hungry eye’, and speaks ‘darkly’ to the others. Oliver finally is ‘desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery’, ‘alarmed at his own temerity’. Yet this vivid language contrasts with their reserved behaviour. They do not, in fact, speak out, but ‘hint’, ‘whisper’, ‘wink’ and ‘nudge’, emphasising the fear that the authorities in the workhouse engender. There is some suggestion of the military in this control of incipient violence, and a suggestion of mutiny in the description of the ‘council’ and the ‘lots’ cast to decide who should protest (Oliver, when he finally does, is of course characterised as a ‘small rebel’).Purpose: Entertain Audience : Fans of Dickens work and fans of literary novels. 

28 of 33

29. From The Warden

In the novel, the ‘Warden’ of the title is an elderly cleric, Mr Harding, who holds a comfortable sinecure – an appointment to an almshouse which brings in a great deal of money, but which requires relatively little in the way of duties.In this extract from The Warden, Trollope is describing the house of one of his most comfortably off characters, Archdeacon Grantly, and food is an important part of the description which is to establish his wealth and his confidence. All the furnishings, Trollope implies, have been bought because they are going to help create ‘the thorough clerical aspect of the whole’; here, he is clearly using ‘clerical’ in an ironic sense, as the ‘thick... costly... embossed... heavy’ furnishings seem chosen to impress, and their darkness is the only thing which can be thought of as ‘clerical’. However, this rich semantic field is again balanced with one which suggests that these items are not all that attractive: ‘dark... sombre... so as to half exclude the light’, and the complex sentence structure enhances this mixture of the negative and the positive. Instead of a simple sentence: ‘these things were bought for a purpose’, Trollope gives us: ’nor were those... without a purpose’ the double negative almost cancelling out the positive idea behind the sentence. The opposition between ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘modern’ is imitated by the immediately following parison: ‘equally costly... equally plain’ and culminates in the concluding statement: ‘the apparent object had been to spend money without obtaining brilliancy or splendour’.Purpose: Entertain, Audience: fans of Trollope work. 

29 of 33

30. Little Grey Rabbit’s Pancake Day

This text is taken from a children’s story written in 1967, part of a series about the eponymous character Little Grey Rabbit, by Alison Uttley, which was started in 1929. The anthropomorphic lead character throughout the series of books is considered by critics to be rather darker than some equivalent children’s stories, and contemporary events do intrude upon the book but by and large they deal with simple activities, with titles such as such as Squirrel Goes Skating, Little Grey Rabbit’s Birthday Party. The series is apparently aimed at children from the age of four upwards, but, they are designed for adults to read to children rather than for children to read for themselves. The repetitive language would, however, help with the early stages of reading. The language of the story is fairly simple language, with many monosyllabic and occasionally disyllabic words. There is a tendency to use sentences and clauses that are almost completely monosyllabic and simple in construction, such as ‘So he had to turn his head to eat it’; ‘and he ran back to the house’; ‘this is her song’. The repetition of words and phrases such as ‘he ran outside... and everyone ran after him’ has a similar effect, focusing on key words. Much of the text is of this type, though there are also some words which are fairly complex, such as ‘frothed’, ‘sprinkled’ or ‘sheltered’. The story is divided into paragraphs of a few lines each, each of which contains a fairly simple idea. Each of these paragraphs is headed with a large initial letter, its font double the size of the rest of the text, taking up two lines, and a few capitalised words. This gives emphasis to each paragraph opening, an emphasis that is also present in occasional capitalisation throughout the text (e.g. ‘“three to be OFF”, he chanted’), presumably indicating the tone in which the story should be read

30 of 33

31. From The Man of Property

This novel, written in 1906, is the opening of a series popularly known as The Forsyte Saga, which tells of the tangled emotional lives of a group of wealthy, but not aristocratic, English people. Soames Forsyte, whose name may be an ironic example of nominative determination is married to the beautiful Irene.Food here becomes merely a symbol with which wealthy people can express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, though it is not only food which becomes a vehicle for emotion; the scent of a flower, or the admiration of a sunset can equally be employed by Galsworthy as a tool to express how his characters relate to each other. He describes the serving of the dinner in almost painful detail, each course seeming to indicate something different, and offering new opportunities for the expression of strong emotion in symbolic form. The repeated offering and taking away of food punctuates each section of the description. Although this starts off with some variation: ‘was taken away’, ‘they were borne away’ soon the verbal motif ‘was removed’ is repeated, creating a sense of inevitability about the process, and accentuating the negative atmosphere of the passage. The origins of different types of food are mentioned in interesting ways. As well as the ‘sole from Dover’, we are introduced to ‘Olives from France, with Russian caviare’, ‘German Plums’ and ‘Turkish coffee’ (not to mention the Egyptian cigarettes),  Purpose : tp entertain. Audience, Fans of authors work .

31 of 33

32. From More Pricks than Kicks

This extract is from an early short story by Samuel Beckett, called ‘Dante and the Lobster’, the first short story in his early collection More Pricks than Kicks. The story is set in 1920s’ Dublin and has a basically realistic background and frame. Belacqua is not making toast as we would today, with an electric toaster. The electric toaster was introduced in the 1920s, but of course it relied on houses having electricity (many did not). Here Belacqua is making toast using a metal framing device on a gas cooker, something which is actually hard to get right. Nonetheless, there is a huge element of enjoyable hyperbole (exaggeration) in the passage based on the standard comic device of the mock-epic (or mock-heroic) mode.In the next line it is noted that the wallpaper ‘was livid with age’. ‘Livid’ here is not colloquial. Its ordinary meaning in English is ‘furiously angry’, which is probably not what Beckett means here. The multi-lingual Beckett is probably remembering its French and Latin meanings, i.e. ‘pale’, ‘grey’; ‘slate-coloured’, ‘discoloured by bruising’, all of which fit the sense here better. Similarly, in line 53, the archaic phrasing ‘they clave the one to the other’, is used instead of the colloquial ‘they stick together’ (‘clave’ is the archaic past tense of ‘cleave’), and the formal word ‘viscid’ (instead of its colloquial equivalent, ‘sticky’). Archaism and formal vocabulary here create a phrasing which is highly poetic. Purpose: to entertain, inform. Audience ordainry middle class people, maybe Dublin

32 of 33

33. From Porterhouse Blue

This extract is from Tom Sharpe’s comic novel Porterhouse Blue. The title itself is a pun, giving some insight into the nature of the rest of the book, which is about the goings-on at a fictional Cambridge college. A ‘Blue’ is the term given for the award of Cambridge University colours to an athlete who has competed on behalf of the university (thus, those who take part in the annual boat race against Oxford, are ‘rowing blues’. In the fictional world of the college, a ‘Porterhouse Blue’ is the term for a type of debilitating stroke brought on by too much rich food and heavy drinking, in the traditions of the college. As the novel opens, the old master has died from such a stroke, and has been unable to name his successor, as tradition demands, hence, for the first time in the college’s history, a new master has been brought in on the authority of the college ‘visitor’, the Queen (the term ‘visitor’ is one that actually exists in colleges – a largely ceremonial figure of authority, thought sometimes, as here, used to resolve problems).  The listing of food served sounds as though it is drawn directly from a menu, this effect enhanced by the use of French phraseology, as French is traditionally associated with restaurant menus and fine dining, and also by the ordering of the foods as they would be served. Expensive food such as caviar is mentioned, and the unusual delicacy of ‘swan stuffed with widgeon’ suggests how exotic the fare is. The naming of specific wines emphasises the idea that ‘each course had a different wine’, syntactically as well as semantically repeated in ‘each place was laid with five glasses’, and the specific terminology: ‘Pouilly Food Glorious Food Anthology Teacher’s Guide Page 55 of 71 © ZigZag Education, 2011 Fumé’ suggests knowledge and appreciation of fine wine. Later on, the dean’s use of the French term ‘gamin’ to describe the flavour of the swan adds to this sense of refinement, though here it is opposed to the master’s private thoughts

33 of 33

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language & Literature resources:

See all English Language & Literature resources »See all Basic information resources »