Friday, 20 August 2010

Brussels not swayed by pseudo-Swedes.

The Brussels bureaucrats are sprouting and spouting again. They're shooting out dictatorial directives in all directions.

The latest one concerns traditional Cornish pasties, which must contain only beef, potato, onion and swede. The problem is that the Cornish people, bless them, say turnip when they mean swede, and these are two entirely different vegetables. This means that Cornish people can advertize their genuine pasties as containing turnips, so long as they contain swedes and no turnips, but they cannot claim their pasties are Cornish if they actually contain the turnips as advertized.

Albena Dimitrova-Borisova, the European Commission spokesman said "It will be for the control authorities in the U.K. to put in place the necessary enforcement".

I'm not sure whether the European Commission has yet dealt with Scotland. The haggis, which is defined in my Concise Oxford Dictionary as 'minced heart, lungs, liver of sheep etc. (I love that 'etc', the mind boggles) boiled in maw or artificial bag with suet, oatmeal etc. (I love that 'etc.' too)' where a maw is the last of a ruminant's four stomachs. Sounds delightful doesn't it, now if you'll excuse me while I just run to the loo and ........Oooch, yurgh, uuuurgh, uuuuuurgh, ugh, that's better, the rotten thing about vomiting is that you always have to do it again when you think you've finished. Where were we, oh yes, the Scots and their problems (how long have you got?). Well as I recall from my 2 year stint in Edinburgh the haggis is traditionally served with neeps, which can be either turnips or swedes. Or even 'etc.' if you can't afford shoes for the bairn.

And although I'm no expert on these quaint linguistic traditions, I expect the traditional Melton Mowbray pork pie contains diced cucumbers called swedes and Bakewell tarts sometimes have Swedes filling their soft centres, even though they're called tricks. So how will you inspect that, Mr. Dimitrova-Borisova?

Swedes have a long history of causing confusion. I was in a pharmacy once and a Swedish tourist came in and asked the shop assistant, in his wonderful lilting Swedish accent (easy to mimic, but almost impossible to write), for a deodorant.

"Certainly sir", she said with a helpful smile "Ball or aerosol?"

He blushed "Well neither, its joost for my arrmpits actually"


  1. I always refer to turnips. I'm not sure I could identify a swede unless it was in flares and singing ABBA songs.

    We do indeed use the word interchangeably and, frankly, if you like haggis (which I do!) worrying about whether you are eating a turnip or a swede is the least of your concerns.

    Worry about the 'etc'. Even WE don't know what THAT might be

    *saunters off to check wikipedia for swedes/turnips info*

    Good luck to Commission if they think their cause will be advanced one iota in prosecuting a pastie maker for using the wrong vegetable!

    Ali x

  2. And try selling them in the USA, where the humble neep is called a rutabaga. It always causes confusion at the Burns suppers where they often serve the white turnip mashed in their quest for "authenticity".