English

An Ode to Gammon

When I first heard that Twitter had become a safe haven for gammon, I was very pleased. After all, gammon is the best of all the cured meats. Each Christmas Eve I boil a gammon joint in cherry coke and then roast it in the oven with a honey-mustard glaze, which I look forward to every year. Make no mistake: I love gammon.

To my disappointment, Twitter has not become a hotbed for sharing gammon-related recipes. Instead, the name ‘Gammon’ has been bestowed upon a certain subsect of British society who have garnered a reputation for people who regard being bigoted and generally unpleasant as their patriotic duty.

I appreciate that not every non-British person may be familiar with this term. Why are these people called gammons? Well, the name refers to the uncanny resemblance between a succulent, pink gammon joint and the sweaty, reddened faces these people tend to have when they express their strong, uninformed opinions. The men often have receding hairlines, which results in their anger-fueled redness is not only visible on their cheeks, but on their entire heads. Think of it as an angry football reflecting the pink hue of a wintery sunset.

The typical ‘Gammon’ voted for Brexit, hates immigrants, thinks racism is not an issue in Britain and think slavery doesn’t need to be apologised for as ‘I didn’t keep any slaves myself, did I’. Conversely, they are very happy to say ‘they’ won the war despite not fighting in it. Furthermore, ‘Gammons’ feel anything that’s put in place to further the position of women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, etc. is either ‘woke nonsense’ or a ‘threat to British culture’, whichever suits their argument.

Funnily enough, given that the term ‘Gammon’ is a direct reference to the reddish blush on their patriotic cheeks, Gammons are quick to condemn this name as a racist slur, which is incredibly ironic since the typical Gammon harbours an intense dislike for movements such as Black Lives Matter and others who combat actual racism.

Of course, ‘Gammon’ is not a racist term; how can it be? Racism can be defined as prejudice against an ethnic or racial group, which ‘Gammon’ is not. In fact, even though the vast majority of ‘Gammons’ is white, it certainly is possible for a non-white person to be classed as ‘Gammon’ as their bigotry is not an exclusively white character trait. Vice versa, many fellow Caucasians are not Gammons at all. Furthermore, a red flush of anger can hardly be classed as skin colour and not at all as a race – it is a physical feature. It would be no different to class bald people or overweight people as separate races or ethnicities, which is simply absurd.

But don’t take this negativity out on the humble gammon joint. This delicious pork did not vote for Brexit, it does not hate you and it is in many cases produced in Denmark or the Netherlands, which means that it is a truly European party for your taste buds; I may not like gammon – but I do like gammon. Especially with a honey-mustard glaze.

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