Things sure can get silly. The parameters of the word "racist" seem to have grown much wider lately.
The latest target is the humble Afghan which one biscuit company has already renamed Chocolate Rough and a Christchurch café has now started calling a "1908". 1908 was the year Edmonds Cookery Book was published but I consider that a pretty tenuous link.
The change in nomenclature was possibly based on Juliet's, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," though I could be thinking too deeply here.
The café manager claimed the change was simply a "playful way" of reflecting a changing world. Rightio!
It seems Belgian (or Belgium) Biscuits have escaped the silliness. So too have Turkish Delight, Yankee Doodle Cake, Russian Fudge and Yorkshire Pudding. But if you're a stickler for PC thinking, I suppose Christmas cake is a tad dodgy and debate is probably already under way.
When I was a kid and everyone had cakes and biscuits in "the tins", the mother of a friend of mine used to make and often offer us Chinese Chews. They must be due for a name change though I find it hard to find any Asian connection anyway so they might have to become Chews.
They're still called Chinese Chews in our Edmonds Cookery Book. So, I see, is something called Jewish Cake. Hmmm!
Also featured in our Edmonds (people call it that for short) are: Date Surprises, Duskies, Elsies Fingers, Khaki Cake, Loch Katrine Cake, Russian Layer Cake and the very simply named Nutties.
Those into puddings and confectionery might be tempted by Prune Whip, Jelly Fluff, Special Jelly or Moonshine Biffs.
Of course, there are other examples of PC changes in our food history. The name Eskimo Pie was unacceptable but I am afraid I don't know what the newer alternative is.
If my memory serves me correctly – and there have been times when it has – luncheon sausage was called German sausage when I was a kid but was changed to Belgian sausage because of the war. The later version, luncheon sausage, removed all geographical references but still tasted just as awful.
My memory also tells me that in Australia it was/is called Devon but I find it difficult to understand why.
And finally, in case you want proof that recipes change over time, let me share with you this simple one from our Edmonds:
"Mock Chicken: Chop a medium-sized onion finely and cook in a little butter but do not brown. Add a small tomato, skinned and sliced, 1 teaspoon mixed herbs, salt and pepper and 1 beaten egg. Cook slowly until mixture thickens. Pile on cheese or water biscuits and garnish with parsley."
I find that very hard to believe. In fact, so much so that I might have to head into the kitchen and try it. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
On second thoughts, I think I'll just make some Afghans.
Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker