Let them eat Cakes

Jaffa1

Bought a tube of Jaffa Cakes to accompany the coffee while watching the Oscars on Monday morning. Not my usual tipple, but really nice, let’s be honest. Anyway, I was just squashing the empty tube up for recycling this morning and I noticed that Jaffa Cakes are no longer a tasty little sponge biscuit with a smashing orangey bit in the middle. No! They are now an aid to fitness and health.

The side of the tube says, “EAT HEALTHILY: McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Each Jaffa Cake contains lots of energy, and only 1.0g of fat per cake. That is why they are recommended by sports nutritionists.” How proud these sports nutritionists must be for having “recommended” and “endorsed” a cake. (I like the way they refer to the weight of fat as “1.0g”, as if that’s less than “1g” – look, it’s got nothing after the decimal point! That’s how low the fat content is!) I’m glad a sports nutritionist isn’t giving me dietary advice. (Actually, it’s probably just two sports nutritionists, not all of them. McVitie’s should name them, especially with the Olympics coming up.)

Furthermore, the tube itself says it is “IDEAL FOR SPORTS BAGS”. Now, this is meaningless, because a sports bag is just a bag. They may as well say, “IDEAL FOR BAGS” (which doesn’t, I admit, have the same dynamic ring). But you can see the implication: it looks a bit like a tube of tennis balls, thus it’s for eating between serves. (Hey, don’t get your tube of tennis balls and your tube of Jaffa Cakes mixed up! You wouldn’t want to eat a ball and play tennis with a cake!) Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s smashing that fitness is back in vogue and that people are more aware of health problems and their links to what we eat, but let’s not fool ourselves: Jaffa Cakes are cakes. They are eaten for pleasure. They are not put in sports bags, except by people who aren’t planning on using the bag for sports but are in fact using it to transport cakes.

Jaffa2

Memo to marketing dept: why not just sell Jaffa Cakes as “really nice”? It would stop McVitie’s looking like fucking idiots.

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50 thoughts on “Let them eat Cakes

  1. Before anyone starts lets have a definitiona biscuit is a baked sweet meat that goes soft when it goes stale.A cake a baked sweet meat that goes hard when it goes stale. hence jaffa cake.It’s all about the relative water content comparedto the air! word of the day deliquescent sorry nice post AC and Jaffa cakes are delish deos anyone really put the lid back on?

  2. Before anyone starts lets have a definitiona biscuit is a baked sweet meat that goes soft when it goes stale.A cake a baked sweet meat that goes hard when it goes stale. hence jaffa cake.It’s all about the relative water content comparedto the air! word of the day deliquescent sorry nice post AC and Jaffa cakes are delish deos anyone really put the lid back on?

  3. Much as I hate to argue with a well-expressed rant, I must quibble a little. I used to work on a running magazine and our experts (proper ones, with qualifications and everything) did indeed regularly recommend Jaffa Cakes as a good way to get a guilt-free energy boost. And this was over 10 years ago, so it’s not a new development. Maybe McVitie’s have only just caught up.The thing is, exercise nuts (runners, cyclists, gym addicts, etc) do get obsessed about nutrition, and especially about identifying foods that give them a quick hit of energy (preferably without any fat – the food of the devil for these people). If you were to turn up to your local 10K run or cycle race on a Sunday morning and rifle through the sports bags there, I’d wager that you would indeed find several tubes of Jaffa cakes.

  4. Much as I hate to argue with a well-expressed rant, I must quibble a little. I used to work on a running magazine and our experts (proper ones, with qualifications and everything) did indeed regularly recommend Jaffa Cakes as a good way to get a guilt-free energy boost. And this was over 10 years ago, so it’s not a new development. Maybe McVitie’s have only just caught up.The thing is, exercise nuts (runners, cyclists, gym addicts, etc) do get obsessed about nutrition, and especially about identifying foods that give them a quick hit of energy (preferably without any fat – the food of the devil for these people). If you were to turn up to your local 10K run or cycle race on a Sunday morning and rifle through the sports bags there, I’d wager that you would indeed find several tubes of Jaffa cakes.

  5. Quite right. This piece reminded me of the advertising tomfoolery fictionalised in “Then We Came To The End” by Joshua Ferris – proving that “Richard and Judy” do sometimes pick really interesting books.Jaffa Cakes are banned in my house, though.

  6. Quite right. This piece reminded me of the advertising tomfoolery fictionalised in “Then We Came To The End” by Joshua Ferris – proving that “Richard and Judy” do sometimes pick really interesting books.Jaffa Cakes are banned in my house, though.

  7. There was a time when Jaffa Cakes were the official snack product of Manchester United, such was McVities commitment to sport. And I have to say that on more than one occasion I’ve seen footballers coming to the sidelines to get jaffa cakes during a match – just stick “Rio Ferdinand” and “Jaffa cakes” into Google and you’ll see…Personally I can’t stand the things. But then, I’m no athlete…

  8. There was a time when Jaffa Cakes were the official snack product of Manchester United, such was McVities commitment to sport. And I have to say that on more than one occasion I’ve seen footballers coming to the sidelines to get jaffa cakes during a match – just stick “Rio Ferdinand” and “Jaffa cakes” into Google and you’ll see…Personally I can’t stand the things. But then, I’m no athlete…

  9. When we were kids my brother, somewhat bizzarely would eat Jaffa cakes by first picking off the chocolate, then eating the sponge (or rather consuming it by letting it dissolve slowly) so that the orange jelly bit was left on its own for particular savoring. Kit-Kats were subject to similar deconstruction.Jaffa cakes were a mainstay of wet sunday afternoons visiting Gran.All of which I’d forgotten about until your post. Is that what Proust was going on about? Have I just had my first Collinsian rush?

  10. When we were kids my brother, somewhat bizzarely would eat Jaffa cakes by first picking off the chocolate, then eating the sponge (or rather consuming it by letting it dissolve slowly) so that the orange jelly bit was left on its own for particular savoring. Kit-Kats were subject to similar deconstruction.Jaffa cakes were a mainstay of wet sunday afternoons visiting Gran.All of which I’d forgotten about until your post. Is that what Proust was going on about? Have I just had my first Collinsian rush?

  11. I would probably watch more of Wimbledon is they played with cakes.Start with a slice of Victoria sponge cake in the first round and go from there. It could mean an English player might win.

  12. I would probably watch more of Wimbledon is they played with cakes.Start with a slice of Victoria sponge cake in the first round and go from there. It could mean an English player might win.

  13. Stop pouncing on about the…. “Little cakes “, lets just get fat with “Mc Donald’s”……Official food sponsor to the Olympics.Need I say more about ” marketing “?

  14. Stop pouncing on about the…. “Little cakes “, lets just get fat with “Mc Donald’s”……Official food sponsor to the Olympics.Need I say more about ” marketing “?

  15. Well I want to get really fit, really fast, so I’m off to buy a whole tube now. Cheaper and quicker than the gym.I shall be conducting some more in-depth research of my own though – I’m slightly disappointed that Mc Vitie’s choose to only work to one decimal place with their fat calculations – I want to dig deeper and make sure they’re not sneaking in an extra 0.04g per cake, or I might get fat, and have to sue them of course.What’s up with you guys? Don’t you all keep food in your gym bags? Do you not appreciate the way that stale sweat adds to the flavour of your confectionery? Philistines!

  16. Well I want to get really fit, really fast, so I’m off to buy a whole tube now. Cheaper and quicker than the gym.I shall be conducting some more in-depth research of my own though – I’m slightly disappointed that Mc Vitie’s choose to only work to one decimal place with their fat calculations – I want to dig deeper and make sure they’re not sneaking in an extra 0.04g per cake, or I might get fat, and have to sue them of course.What’s up with you guys? Don’t you all keep food in your gym bags? Do you not appreciate the way that stale sweat adds to the flavour of your confectionery? Philistines!

  17. Is my memory playing tricks on me but didn’t KP nuts try to boost sales in the 70s by having Geoff Capes advertise them – the selling point being their high protein content? Even as a kid, I think my main word association for “peanuts” would have been “pub” (garden, honest) rather than “exercise”. It’s all a marketing con, but no more ridiculous an idea than people wearing sports gear and trainers to hang around a multiplex or shopping centre I suppose.

  18. Is my memory playing tricks on me but didn’t KP nuts try to boost sales in the 70s by having Geoff Capes advertise them – the selling point being their high protein content? Even as a kid, I think my main word association for “peanuts” would have been “pub” (garden, honest) rather than “exercise”. It’s all a marketing con, but no more ridiculous an idea than people wearing sports gear and trainers to hang around a multiplex or shopping centre I suppose.

  19. “Recommended” sporting diets are all over the place these days but the first time I ever heard of them (other than a fotballers Friday night steak) was Jaffa Cakes being used by cricketers before games. That was probably fifteen years ago – so it’s not new and explains why my plate is fill of them every other summer Saturday down at Kettering Town Cricket Club. Just saying, like…Timbo

  20. “Recommended” sporting diets are all over the place these days but the first time I ever heard of them (other than a fotballers Friday night steak) was Jaffa Cakes being used by cricketers before games. That was probably fifteen years ago – so it’s not new and explains why my plate is fill of them every other summer Saturday down at Kettering Town Cricket Club. Just saying, like…Timbo

  21. Can I (rather belatedly) point I that I am not myself an exercise nut, Andrew, as you’d know if you’d ever seen my waistline. That was why I had to stop working on the running mag, in fact – I wasn’t prepared to take part in semi-compulsory lunchtime runs round Regents Park twice a week (however many Jaffa cakes I was allowed to consume afterwards).

  22. Can I (rather belatedly) point I that I am not myself an exercise nut, Andrew, as you’d know if you’d ever seen my waistline. That was why I had to stop working on the running mag, in fact – I wasn’t prepared to take part in semi-compulsory lunchtime runs round Regents Park twice a week (however many Jaffa cakes I was allowed to consume afterwards).

  23. Apologies to Simon B – I just accidentally rejected your last comment due to a mis-click. This is what Simon wrote (luckily I get a copy sent to my home email):”Ever heard of disinformation? I’ll just say that those nutritionists are unnamed for a reason. And that the Chinese are looking for superfoods to force-feed their Olympic athletes… Good work timt, by the way. Move on, Andrew.”I’m not sure what you’re getting at though!

  24. Apologies to Simon B – I just accidentally rejected your last comment due to a mis-click. This is what Simon wrote (luckily I get a copy sent to my home email):”Ever heard of disinformation? I’ll just say that those nutritionists are unnamed for a reason. And that the Chinese are looking for superfoods to force-feed their Olympic athletes… Good work timt, by the way. Move on, Andrew.”I’m not sure what you’re getting at though!

  25. Nevermind! Just a half-hearted attempt at humour I’m afraid. The childish idea that amused me at the time was that our Olympic team had used McVities in a bid to fool the Chinese into feeding Jaffa Cakes to their athletes. Hilarious, I know. But seriously… surely anything can be “enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle”, as ‘all things in moderation’ equals ‘a healthy diet and lifestyle’, even for athletes, who usually just need to eat more.

  26. Nevermind! Just a half-hearted attempt at humour I’m afraid. The childish idea that amused me at the time was that our Olympic team had used McVities in a bid to fool the Chinese into feeding Jaffa Cakes to their athletes. Hilarious, I know. But seriously… surely anything can be “enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle”, as ‘all things in moderation’ equals ‘a healthy diet and lifestyle’, even for athletes, who usually just need to eat more.

  27. Oh come on, this whole thread is purely academic anyway. Jaffa Cakes combine chocolate with orange, and as such have no place in civilised society. The same thing goes for chocolate oranges. Seriously, whoever though it would EVER by a good idea to mix the taste of chocolate with the taste of oranges is one messed up individual. Bleurgh.

  28. Oh come on, this whole thread is purely academic anyway. Jaffa Cakes combine chocolate with orange, and as such have no place in civilised society. The same thing goes for chocolate oranges. Seriously, whoever though it would EVER by a good idea to mix the taste of chocolate with the taste of oranges is one messed up individual. Bleurgh.

  29. I love chocolate, orange and cakey/biscuity type stuff – however – I really HATE the jammy orange bit in Jaffa cakes.When I was little I used to have to eat around the edges of the squishy jammy bit and give the middle to my brother. M&S put the same jammy gear in their otherwise lovely orange mini rolls (that come in those flower pot like tubs – too easy to eat a whole one). What a way to spoil a good organgy flavour ^.^

  30. I love chocolate, orange and cakey/biscuity type stuff – however – I really HATE the jammy orange bit in Jaffa cakes.When I was little I used to have to eat around the edges of the squishy jammy bit and give the middle to my brother. M&S put the same jammy gear in their otherwise lovely orange mini rolls (that come in those flower pot like tubs – too easy to eat a whole one). What a way to spoil a good organgy flavour ^.^

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