The utter lack of editorial cohesion at AFB has previously resulted in Gary and I posting, on a Friday night, dispatches within about ten minutes of each other. I’ve no idea the effect this had upon our readership. Suffice to say that it didn’t trend on Twitter.
And I’m afraid to say that the two head honchos at AFB do not see eye to eye on the subject of the mince pie. Sure, we both agree that to blog about them on Christmas Eve is a shamelessly hackish thing to do, but we disagree as to the stance AFB should take with respect to them: Gary is in favour of them, and I am very, very anti.
They are just crap, aren’t they? They’re like a mouthful of pot pourri (or possibly frankincense. But not myrrh – that would be a simile too far.) And every year, every year, I say to myself “go on, have one, you might like it now, your tastes may have changed”, and they never, ever have. Mince pies are invariably little pastry bundles of abject disappointment.
Gary of course has his right of reply. I anticipate an academic debate the likes of which we haven’t seen since the structuralists and the intentionalists first declared their differences with respect to the origins and machinations of the Third Reich. And let nobody kid themselves: this matter is every bit as serious. Thus, I shall anticipate and deal with a few potential objections.
(1) “But, Josh, you don’t like raisins. And thus you are of course predisposed not to like mince pies. You are thus not equipped to judge them from a neutral, dispassionate standpoint.”
I reply as follows. Firstly, don’t call me Josh. My name clearly says ‘Joshua’. True, my friends call me Josh, but this is a liberty I do not expect from an imagined, hypothetical interlocutor. Secondly, (1) relies on two assumptions: (a) that the debate about mince pies cannot easily be shifted back a step to tackle raisins, and (b) that my dislike of mince pies is not easily based on factors other than the fact they contain said raisins. I see no good reason to think that (a) is true, although a discussion of raisins lies well outside the scope of a paper such as this; and (b) is false – it’s not just the raisins I don’t like, it’s the dry, shitty pastry, the amorphous gloop in the middle, the fact that they look much better than they taste, and the fact that the vicissitudes of the festive occasion essentially press-gang us into eating them. Thus, it is incumbent upon my interlocutor to deal with each of these points.
(2) “But, Joshua, you have only ever had crappy mince pies made by people like Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Never hast thou tasted a gourmet, proper mince pie.”
I reply as follows. Firstly, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are not people, they are faceless corporations. Secondly, why have you adopted that stupid cod-archaic manner of speech? I am minded not to even engage with you. Thirdly, this is AVERAGE Food Blog, and thus I am permitted to appraise food in its average guise. A crappy piece of average food is, for the purposes of this journal, a crappy piece of food per se.
(3) “Joshua. My dear fellow. This is a matter of personal taste, and as such is not susceptible to the kind of ridiculous, overblown and frankly odd pseudo-academic rigour you are bringing to bare upon it.”
I fear that adopting (3) would render the entirety of AFB obsolete, so any attempt to refute my case by using (3) would be self-defeating if undertaken via the medium of AFB. There is of course another solution: Gary, let’s take it outside.
Over to you, boy.