Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas Fare from the Empire

Stir up Sunday has been and gone but it is not too late for Christmas baking. Today we want to highlight a publication produced by the Empire Marketing Board, Christmas Fare from the Empire.

The Empire Marketing Board (EMB)was formed in May 1926 by the Colonial Secretary Leo Amery to promote inter-Empire trade and to persuade consumers to 'Buy Empire'. Amery was the first Chairman of the EMB, Sir Stephen George Tallents was its Secretary, and Edward Mayow Hastings Lloyd was Assistant Secretary. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies holds archive collection from both Sir Stephen Tallents and Edward Mayow Hastings Lloyd  from or about their time with the Empire Marketing Board.

The EMB supported scientific research, promoted economic analysis about trade and produced publicity for Empire trade. While scientific research took up a large proportion of the EMB's work and budget researchers have more often been interested in the publicity and promotion of trade. The EMB organised poster campaigns, exhibitions, 'Empire Shopping Weeks', Empire shops, lectures, radio talks, schools tours, and advertisements in the national and local press and of shop window displays. Publicity work included that of the EMB film unit led by John Grierson, often considered the father of modern documentary film.
Christmas Fare from the Empire is a good example of the work of the Empire Marketing Board, providing consumers with recipes clearly stating ingredients and prefered origins.

The recipe for mince pies includes ingredients from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the Irish Free State, South Africa, the British West Indies or British Guiana, India, Zanzibar, Canada, Palestine, Cyprus and Jamaica. This recipe for standard Christmas fare thus shows not only the work of the Empire Marketing Board, but more generally reflects on the interplay between trade, empire and diet.

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