Monarchists and anti-monarchists alike will not, by now, have failed to have noticed that the coronation of King Charles III this weekend, and his Queen Consort Camilla, is to be missing a vital ingredient. Tiaras? Yes, but no. Ceremonial robes? A handful, but not many. Coronets? Correct, but not the answer we were looking for. The conspicuously absent ingredient from this great historical event we shall all be poring over this weekend is... chicken, in its coronation form.
Take a moment to steady yourself, or better, allow a sturdy chair to bear your fragility at hearing such news, because the bare facts of this tragedy are as follows: the iconic coronation chicken that was served up to guests at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 has apparently taken leave of the luncheon menu, only to be usurped by a Gallic pretender in the round fluted shape of le quiche. We told you it was bad.
One Le Cordon Bleu-trained Rosemary Hume was the mastermind of the coronation chicken of 1953, which was believed to be inspired by the jubilee chicken dish served up to George V in 1935, which saw the brave triumvirate of chicken, mayonnaise, and curry perform a culinary three-step into mouths already featuring silver spoons. Hume's version was altogether more delicate, with just a hint of curry powder providing the colonial kick to accents of apricot puree, wine, citrus and cream. A relatively simple yet indulgent dish you might agree. Admittedly, it is not the prettiest, but one wonders why it slipped into the culinary version of non-league football, kicking about between slices of bread in sandwich bars up and down the country?
Regardless, the nation had high hopes for it, but these seem to have been dashes by the self-styled 'Coronation Quiche', of which even the French are giving a good kicking. Far from championing this great Gallic switcheroo, they are instead washing their collective hands of it, claiming it is not a quiche at all, but instead... a TART!! (This coming from the Grand Master of the Brotherhood of the Quiche Lorraine no less). Were it to be of Lorraine's making, then I believe the nation would raise an eyebrow, shortly after which it would devour the thing. The coronation quiche, however, appears to be picking a fight with the wrong populace. Instead of eye-wateringly expensive Duchy bacon, we have been offered broad beans, tarragon, and spinach. Mon Dieu.
One can only hope that this is not an omen. We very much welcome a modern monarchy but the absence of coronation chicken leaves me hollow, and I shall not be filling the void with a broad bean quiche.