Monday, April 8, 2013


The real problem I had with Margaret Thatcher was that I could never summon up as much bile for her as my lefty friends thought I should.  Yes, the Falklands war was an absurd post-imperialist enterprise, but what are you supposed to do when a foreign power invades your sovereign territory?  And taking on the unions was something that somebody in British politics was going to have to do sooner or later, otherwise Arthur Scargill would have been running the country.  For a while it seemed that he was.   

On a side note, the scales fell from my eyes re Scargill (and frankly there weren't all that many scales there in the first place) when I was in a deli in the Barbican in London and saw him buying smoked salmon and champagne to take back to his union paid-for flat.

Anyway, I don’t think Mrs. T. was much of a foodie, but poking around online and in the obits I find a number of food-related things I didn’t know, though I perhaps should have.

ONE: she was in some way or other involved with the invention of soft-serve ice cream, which personally I can’t stand, but I know that many do, and either way this doesn’t make her the incarnation of evil.

TWO: after her first press conference outside 10 Downing Street she saw the pictures of herself and thought she looked fat.  She lost ten pounds in a week by eating eggs, spinach and whisky.  That’s well worth a try, weight watchers.

THREE: according to her favorite food was “Haddock and chips from Grimsby/Cleethorpes.”  No doubt there’s some political dimension to that choice, but it sounds about right.

Finally, Charles Moore in a Vanity Fair in December 2011, had something very interesting to say about Thatcher and food:
‘She always deferred to him (husband Denis) in the conventional male areas … and made much of producing his dinner, even though the meals were usually purchased ready-made at Marks & Spencer. Her bossiness toward him was the bossiness of traditional wife to traditional husband. I once sat next to him at a dinner where he was pushing his food around the plate, clearly trying to avoid eating it. “Don’t draw attention to it,” he told me, “or it will be cosmic obloquy from her.”

I shall be trying to slip the phrase “cosmic obloquy” into my conversation from now on, partly in honor of Margaret, and even more in honor of Denis: a brave man in so many ways.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't know Dennis was a wordsmith. Cosmic obloquy sounds like nice-to-have weapon...