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To not understand they UK class war???

(236 Posts)
Notcontent Sun 25-Nov-12 22:57:14

Right, so I was just reading the "not fitting in on MN" thread and that got me thinking about something i have thought about many times: why is it that there seems to be a bit of a class war - the whole work class versus middle class thing. I just don't understand it. I have lived in the UK for quite some time, but I just don't get it.

Why, for example, it is seen as a middle class thing for children to eat vegetables?? This is actually very personal to me, because I have just discovered that my dd is being picked on at school about the contents of her lunch box. Now it seems I know why.

Moominsarescary Sun 25-Nov-12 23:52:56

Ds2 was picked on for having little cartons of morrisons own apple juice in his lunch box hmm

steppemum Sun 25-Nov-12 23:53:49

vegetables are cheaper, but the assumption (on mn etc) is that if you are working class you eat sausages and chips for dinner with frozen peas and if you are mc you eat grilled salmon with butternut squash and mange toute

While it is obviously a stereotype, there is often a grain of truth lurking under many stereotypes, which is probably why it continues, and why it winds people up.

Have you ever read some of the food threads on here?
slamon provides omega 3, but tinned tuna is too cheap and nasty to be considered to do the same job etc. (except it does)

(not my opinions, just commenting on what I have seen on here)

apostropheuse Sun 25-Nov-12 23:54:26

worra grin Amen.

I've thought exactly that so often. The packed lunch threads have me helpless with laughter at times.

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 25-Nov-12 23:56:25

IMO and just my thoughts on the matter most MC are not really MC they just percieve themselves better then WC. WC seems to be defined my the underclass now and benefits. MC wish they were UC so buy hunters ect to fit in. MC should be drs and solicitor but now builders, electricions plumbers ect now identify themselves buy MC.

mrskeithrichards Sun 25-Nov-12 23:56:47

But a lot of that relates to income, not class

WorraLiberty Mon 26-Nov-12 00:01:32

apostropheuse do you mean something like this?....

Home made wholemeal bread - the dough kneaded by my own fair hands on a bed of natural stone with metaphysical properties that promote health, inner peace and well being.

Tofu, personally made by weeping angels as they coagulated the soy juice and then pressed the resulting curds into soft white blocks, with the face of baby Jesus etched by their love.

Couscous made with wheat crushed by magical Pixie's feet and lovingly arranged into heart shapes.

A bottle of mineral water personally blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.

scarletforya Mon 26-Nov-12 00:02:34

Looking from the outside in, British people do seem very hung up on class. it seems to be so desperately important to some to be perceived as middle class. To me 'aspirational' is a negative word, almost an insult. Same with 'social mobility'. I just think people who care so desperately what others think of them have no balls. Be yourself and be proud.

It's not like being MC makes people more intelligent or more moral than anyone else, so it's irrelevant.

WorraLiberty Mon 26-Nov-12 00:03:42

Actually in my own personal experience, Indian people are far more obsessed with class than Brits.

steppemum Mon 26-Nov-12 00:04:16

Brandy, reading that just made me think of the Monty Python sketch

I look down to him because he is WC and up to him....etc etc grin

You are right though, and in order to sort it out, you have to start saying things like 'lower middle class' and 'upper middle class'

actually I really don't care, I have chosen to step out of the system and deliberately don't choose to talk to people because we might be similar, but talk to anyone. Then some yummy mummys I know really don't know where or how to place me, because I eat wholemeal bread and help out in school, but I don't 'aspire' to be friends with the naice mums, I just talk to everyone, and will find my friends where I find them, whatever their background.

apostropheuse Mon 26-Nov-12 00:05:06

grin Worra

I wish you would write a recipe book. I would definitely buy it!

Lying in bed giggling like a proper eejit here. My family will think I've gone daft.

steppemum Mon 26-Nov-12 00:07:15

worra, you need a bit of wild rice in there somewhere!

PacificDogwood Mon 26-Nov-12 00:08:27

I read an interesting take on 'class' today: working and upper class are defined by taking absolutely no interest in the middle class who does all the fretting. Fretting about the 'right' school, 'right' clothes, 'right' friends, 'right' pronounciation etc etc.
Quite apt, I thought.

I never considered my upbringing 'middle class' or privileged until I saw a bit more of RL. My dad was a teacher, my mum SAHM; we were not poor, but certainly not rich. Is that middle class? I suppose it is, but not in the way the Middletons are middle class...

I think the whole class 'war' thing is a very British situation as this country still has a strong royal family and nobility with ridiculous privileges attached to them. And their name hmm.

apostropheuse Mon 26-Nov-12 00:09:29

Yes and actually the water that Benedict XVI blessed should have been sourced at Lourdes by a consecrated virgin who had fasted for forty days and forty nights beforehand.

squeakytoy Mon 26-Nov-12 00:09:37

I was raised in a northern working class town. Any child turning up with a lunchbox containing carrot batons, raw broccoli or hummus (which probably didnt even exist in the UK in the 80's) would have been royally ripped the piss out of.

I doubt my mother ate butternut squash in her entire life, she only started buying bell peppers in the 1990's and wasnt too sure what to do with them.

It is partly generational, and partly class/wealth related I would say. Growing up in the 70's and 80's, the availability of a wide range of vegetables was non-existent unless you shopped in M & S or other "posh" shops, and the majority of working class people did not, and still do not shop there for their groceries.

Basic bog standard vegetables are cheap and a portion steamed carrot is probably just as nutritious as a portion of steamed asparagus.. at a fraction of the cost.

Eating out in fine dining restaurants is not really a "working class" regularity either.

mrskeithrichards Mon 26-Nov-12 00:11:02

Billy Connolly sums it up nicely.

Notcontent Mon 26-Nov-12 00:12:06

I can buy a decent sized butternut squash for £2. You can make a big pot of soup with that, or two lots of risotto, or a big curry. That's pretty good value.

Notcontent Mon 26-Nov-12 00:16:01

I don't shop at M&S for my veg. I buy them at a local shop. I can get a huge amount for £10.

takataka Mon 26-Nov-12 00:19:00

squeaky I was just wondering if class is more of a northern concern. I come from a family of northern mill workers/miners. I very much feel that being WC is part of my identity

I agree that the veggie thing is just generational though

takataka Mon 26-Nov-12 00:22:04

Also Working class people have grown their own veg forever. Long before the MCs started coveting allotments grin

SecretNutellaFix Mon 26-Nov-12 00:22:36

Fair enough, but if you have a limited income and seriously limited budget then buying fruit and veg you don't know your family will eat is too great a risk for some people to take.

Personally I loathe butternut squash, dislike risotto and curry is too expensive to make from scratch if you need to buy all the spices.

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 00:23:18

My grandad was a socialist and then a member of labour party until he walked out in protest when the got rid of bank regulations ect before the election. He's from cornwall but most of his life was in the SW, he was very much a WC and proud man who was still harping on about Tony Benn and getting angry with Cameron the day he died. I don't think it's just a north thing.

squeakytoy Mon 26-Nov-12 00:25:10

OP, you arent british though, so your culinary choices will be likely to be somewhat different to standard/traditional british food too.

As a teen I dated a hungarian and I loved going to his house for dinner as his parents cooked traditional hungarian food, which was completely different to anything I had ever eaten in my life.

There are also a lot more international food shops now, that sell the less frequently used fruit and veg at much cheaper prices, but many of the generation who were born to british parents and have been brought up without those foods are likely to be wary of trying new things, or not even know what to do with them.

I am quite an adventurous foodie, despite my mothers reluctance to add anything new to our diets as a kid, and I regularly watch cooking shows, try out new recipes, and buy ingredients that I was never given as a child.

fridgepants Mon 26-Nov-12 00:28:47

"See, that's the thing, how on earth can butternut squash be seen as being luxury food???????"

Having grown up in a working-class town like squeakytoy and had working-class friends (we were not quite - ,my dad was an architect but spent periods being unemployed when we lived off my mum's manual job earnings), I never even tried one until I was at university. I'd never seen one, didn't know what it tasted like, didn't know how to cook it. It might not be very expensive, but it requires the knowledge and skills to be able to do something with it. ( I think I only bought one because it was a pre-prepared pack from Asda that was reduced and had instructions on how to cook it.) I've been served by checkout assistants who didn't recognise some of the veg I bought - one lass in Waitrose thought my sweet potatoes were fancy organic ones. If you're on a low income, buying something that is a bit weird and you/your family may not like is not so appealing.

If you live on an estate, as my sister did with her DCs, your option for shopping is the local Spar which sells very few vegetables and certainly nothing 'exotic'. If you have the money and the ability to get yourself and three kids on the bus to the supermarket, then great. Many can't or don't have the time or the money for four bus fares on top of your food.

I still can't get my head around the idea that it's OK to spend money on food rather than going for the cheapest option automatically, and DP, from a similar background, feels uncomfortable in fancy restaurants.

flow4 Mon 26-Nov-12 00:30:04

I can buy a butternut squash for a quid. But I can buy 2-3 the volume in potatoes for the same amount, so that's probably what I'd buy if I had a tighter budget. And I can get a 'smartprice' chicken curry with rice for 74p, so that might be what I'd buy if I couldn't cook and didn't know what to do with butternut squashes...

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 00:30:07

Oh just to add to my post, you can be wc and not live in poverty, you can be working class and like butternut squash and have 40 different olive oils, you can be wc and ride a bike to te library.

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