The Banality of Treacle: Mary Berry and the Empire of the Bun

Isabel Millar on why its really Mary Berry and her cakes to blame for the great Brexit swindle.

When everyone’s favourite grandmother saunters across her beautiful English country garden in her snazzy indigo jeans, enviable pale blue cotton chambray shirt ironed to within an inch of its life, candy floss hair coifed to perfection, carrying a tray of fresh cheese scones to greet her adoring family, how can one fail to feel a stirring of pride in the Great British institution that is, yes you guessed it…: war.

She snuck up on us like a stealth bomber, all those years in the Bake-Off tent making us feel all warm and fuzzy as resident subversive Noel Fielding made cheeky jokes about her warm buns, secret drinking problem and promiscuous behavior. Hilarious! Because the patron saint of Great Britannia is the closest we could ever get to purity, chastity and honour. And have you noticed she is never on screen for longer than 3 minutes without a Union Jack appearing? ‘Let’s Make Britain Bake Again!’ she tells us.

But while she was playing the paragon of virtue in the kitchen, the naughty old minx was actually Uncle Sam-ing us the whole time. How could we have been so blind! Forget Cameron, Johnson, May or even Farage: the architect of Brake-Shit Britain is Mary Berry. She made the country feel they had something to actually be proud of. Even if that was just sausage meat and trifle, she gave it a certain dignity.

Like an overindulgent granny telling her spoilt little Augustus Gloop to stand up to those nasty bullies at school as she taught them how to whisk meringue and fold napery, Mary Berry got a nation to believe they were strong enough to go it alone and bitch fight the whole world. But what would they be armed with? Mary Berry’s extra firm rock cakes?  Custard pies? A mayonnaise splatter gun? Some boiling treacle? Oh no no no! We’ll need something a little bit stronger than that and here’s one she prepared earlier… it’s called the Navy, and you are all welcome; white, black, gay, straight or both (greedy!).

Do you know, they have these wonderful things called “Destroyers” which do exactly what they say on the tin – just marvelous! Because one of the things we can be most proud of in this green and pleasant land is not just the Church of England (which incidentally Mary is an active member of), but her Majesties’ Armed Forces, who kill so many filthy foreigners for the sake of our glorious Empire, and you never even hear about it!

So naturally, given that we will probably be needing them soon, Mary did her duty and cooked a hearty meal for the good old boys and girls of the HMS Defender who will be keeping us safe when we go to war with China! (Sorry about the cauliflower chaps!)

There’s still time to join kids. This is your future and Mary loves you. Rule Berrytania and all who sail in her!


Isabel Millar is a PhD candidate at Kingston University, School of Art in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Theory. Her research is on Jacques Lacan, Sex and Technology.

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