As the King’s Coronation looms, and with it, it’s signature quiche, Adam Bloodworth admits he’s one of many men embarrassed to order the eggy flan
Who eats quiche? The egg based tart has a dry image, seen these days as the preserve of grandparents, academics, and people who can’t be bothered to make lunch. It’s seen as boring, but how did we get here? Is hating them the pre-occupation of men? Either way, a quiche is rarely anyone’s favourite. What does that say about us, as the nation gears up to celebrate quiche as the official dish of the King’s Coronation?
Snobbery around the humble dish makes it almost embarrassing to order one in public, especially if you’re a man. I’ll admit I often swerve ordering one at lunch for fear of judgment. It seems somehow to lack the masculine energy of a pie. I don’t know what that means, but I’m pretty sure it says more about me than the quiche. “A straight man never has a quiche in his fridge,” a friend joked once. I am certainly not a straight man, but I definitely fear being torn apart by friends for ordering the once fashionable tart at dinner.
The quiche taboo was the subject of a satirical 1982 book, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, which examined stereotypes about masculinity. Fascinatingly, more than one academic paper has concluded that quiche is seen as feminine, and that perhaps makes men less likely to order it in public. None of this halted quiche’s popularity in the 1970s and 80s, when it was an incredibly trendy dish to bring to dinner parties or serve amongst friends. Although the quiche Lorraine is still the most famous, many other varieties of it were developed, particularly in the United States in the middle of last century, when it was seen as a practical dish, something people would frequently eat whole, for one person in one go.
One man who won’t stand for toxic masc ideals about men and quiche is King Charles, who reportedly loves the dish that originated in Germany in the 13th century. (Contrary to popular belief, quiche isn’t actually French.) It was “personally” chosen by the King and the recipe for the Coronation sounds gorgeously delicate.
It’s “a deep quiche with a crisp, light pastry case and delicate flavours of spinach, broad beans, and fresh tarragon.” Hardly the gastronomic template of masculinity. Perhaps there is something about it being light that aligns with stereotypical ideas about what women eat. That its flavour isn’t bold but delicate and refined.
Brits right now seem more angry that the King announced the Coronation quiche during a cost of living crisis than its effeminate image. But nonetheless, it requires rebranding. As the Coronation nears, it seems clear to me: either I get over my image crisis or quiche does.
Read things to do over the Coronation weekend on City A.M.