She’s no Churchill: ‘Scrape the mould off’ Theresa May’s unusual advice horrifies Brits

Microganisms are only visible when they are numerous.

I would throw away the entire jam to get rid of the unseen bugs, which number in the trillions.

Theresa May, chief Brexit strategist, PM and armchair microbiologist, shocked the UK by telling a Cabinet meeting Tuesday that she “will not throw away a jar of jam if it has gone mouldy on top”  according to the Daily Mail,

Instead, the newspaper reported, “she scrapes off the mould and eats the good preserve left underneath”.

May considered the rest of the jam to be “perfectly edible”, a Whitehall source told the Mail, and instead of binning food past its best-before date shoppers should “use common sense” to check if it’s edible.

The tip came during a Cabinet discussion on how to reduce food waste.

Social media immediately set about debating on whether this was good food advice, but more importantly, whether it was a metaphor for Brexit.

Nick Miller of The Canberra Times writes, some asked if Brexit was a case of “jam tomorrow.”

As the country lurches towards a potential no-deal Brexit, featuring potential food and medicine shortages, there has been a new focus on making the most of indigenous food supplies.

The UK is Europe’s biggest producer of citrus jams and marmalades, however France is by far the biggest producer of other types of jams and purees, followed by Germany.

If there are significant customs delays then breakfasts across the UK could be disrupted.

It may also be significant that the British government has been simulating the immense traffic jams expected to materialise around its southern ports if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Interestingly, the British government revealed in 2016 that its post-Brexit ‘Food and Drink International Action Plan’ would include a major campaign to sell British jam to Australia.

Asked on Wednesday if May thought people should follow her example, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said it was a “matter for the individual”.

Time magazine reported in 2015 that “when visible mould is present, its tentacles – called ‘threads’ – have likely penetrated deep into your food [unless it’s a hard cheese], contaminating even those parts that appear to be mould-free”.

They added that mould exposure can produce mycotoxins leading to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and even cancer.

However, in 2014, a “mould expert” told the BBC that “the moulds you find on jam are fine – just scrape them off”.

Churchill survived Salmonella that killed his servant on a trip to East Africa

A never-seen-before letter by Winston Churchill has emerged to reveal how the future Prime Minister once escaped a fatal bout of food poisoning which killed his servant instead.

churchill-warThe great wartime leader described how he had eaten the same food as George Scrivings, who became ravaged with salmonella poisoning a short while later.

The valet endured 16 hours of choleraic diarrhea before passing away in 1907 during a trip to East Africa.

After burying the army officer, Churchill wrote a very personal and poignant letter to Scrivings’ wife to break the news to her.

In it he wrote how her husband ‘seems to have eaten some poisonous food’, adding ‘we have all had the same food, for he always ate whatever was prepared for me and others’.

Churchill then speculated: ‘It may be some mouthful of poisoned fish from a tin.’

The little-known episode reveals a previously-unknown close brush with death Churchill had which could have changed the course of history.

His letter to Mrs Scrivings has now emerged for sale at International Autograph Auctions for the first time after being in the hands of a private collector for years.salm-churchill-lett-2


Churchill’s secret plan to stink bomb the Nazis

Further to the on-going discussion of farts comes word that of all the hideous weapons devised during World War II — Little Boy, the Doodlebug, the bouncing bomb — the British secret service came up with the silliest.

mallrats-brodie-bruce-stink-palm-jared-svenning-michael-rooker-jason-lee-pretzels-reviewDeclassified letters in an American archive reveal that the Special Operations Executive (SOE), Winston Churchill’s cherished forerunner to MI6, set up a program to undermine German and Japanese officers in occupied countries by squirting them with stinking fluid.

Concealed in brass perfume sprayers or little gelatine grenades, the devices were designed to contaminate enemy officers with a “highly persistent smell suggestive of personal uncleanliness”.

In an exchange that could have been taken from a Monty Python sketch, a British military intelligence officer sent one of his US counterparts the complete plans for an olfactory weapon known as “S liquid”. The S was short for “stench”.

Based around skatole, a compound with an intense faecal reek produced by bacteria as they break down meat in the gut, it was intended to make Nazi officers the objects of mockery and contempt and sow alarm and confusion in their meetings.

On August 4, 1943, as the SOE was ramping up its campaign of sabotage in German-occupied France, Wing Commander TR Bird told Stanley Lovell of the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor to the CIA, how to make the obscene formula.

“Up to the present, our employment of evil-smelling substances has been mainly for the purpose of contaminating individuals’ clothing,” he wrote. “Since the air in any ordinary public meeting room is generally free from smell, almost any strange smell which cannot readily be accounted for would arouse suspicion which might easily culminate in fear or even panic.”

The officer appended sketches of an antecedent to the modern joke-shop stink bomb, which would release a gust of skatole when pierced with a pin, and a miniaturised cologne atomiser to be “carried about secreted in the hand or pocket”.

He also discussed the smell given off by the “stinking ant” found in South Africa, whose smell was thought to induce extreme nausea.

The papers were uncovered in the OSS archives near Washington by Mary Roach, a Californian science writer, during her research for Grunt, her book about science and the American military.