British MP Dawn Butler has accused celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for his ‘punchy jerk rice’ product, which can be found of UK supermarket shelves.
The MP tweeted her dissatisfaction at Oliver’s use of the word ‘jerk’ to describe his product, which she argues bares no similarity to the actual Jamaican dish.
Instead Butler says the cook has appropriated the term purely for marketing potential.
“I’m just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is?” she tweeted.
“It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products.
“Your jerk Rice is not ok. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”
#jamieoliver @jamieoliver #jerk I’m just wondering do you know what #Jamaican #jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products. @levirootsmusic should do a masterclass. Your jerk Rice is not ok. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.
— (((Dawn Butler MP))) (@DawnButlerBrent) August 18, 2018
The term ‘jerk’ refers to the cooking process or seasoning of BBQ meats which are marinated in a mix of allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers and other spices which can include cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, garlic and brown sugar. However, Oliver’s product reads as a mix of “fiery chilli, aubergine and beans”.
As one woman of Jamaican heritage explained on Twitter, “There’s no such thing as jerk rice apart from what Jamie Oliver has concocted. That’s her [Dawn Butler’s] point.”
There’s no such thing as jerk rice apart from what Jamie Oliver has concocted. That’s her point. Anybody from any nationality can eat anything they want, there are just some dishes that are best left alone and enjoyed how they’re supposed to be made.
— Regina Holland (@ReginaHolland_) August 18, 2018
Although the father of five has yet to respond the the criticisms himself, fans of the cookbook author and entrepreneur have come out in favour of the popular cook. Some commenters have further misinterpreted Butler’s original tweet, and are defending Oliver’s decision to cook food from other cultures.
If Jamie Oliver isn’t allowed to make Jerk chicken because it’s cultural “appropriation” she’s going to go mad when she finds out about “Jamie’s Italy” https://t.co/uY7YzWZ5Vr
— Neil O’Brien MP (@NeilDotObrien) August 18, 2018
An MP has accused Jamie Oliver of cultural appropriation, because he has released ‘Jerk’ rice.
So, only the French can make croissants? Only the Welsh can make Welsh cakes? Only Italians can make pizza?
Why is it that some people are always looking to be offended by something?!
— Chrys (@carysrees15) August 20, 2018
After reading Dawn Butler’s attack on Jamie Oliver’s cultural appropriate of jerk rice I must own up to the fact that I cooked a Lancashire hotpot last night despite being from Kent.
— Phil Patterson (@phil11936) August 20, 2018
Other Twitter users have sided with Butler’s original comment.
What she was saying is it’s culturally illiterate to say jerk rice when that isn’t a thing, jerk is a mix of spices u rub on chicken or fish. Jamie Oliver’s “jerk rice” doesn’t even have those spices on the list of ingredients.
— Tom Oakley (@tomoakleyuk) August 19, 2018
So funny watching all these people misunderstand what the issue is you CANNOT ‘jerk’ rice. To jerk is a PROCESS and a seasoning. When last did you marinade rice ppl ??
— Chardine TaylorStone (@misschazmatazz) August 20, 2018
For anyone who is unbothered about @jamieoliver and his Jerk rice let me tell you in Jamaica there is NO such thing as jerk rice only jerk pork or chicken.
— Diana BSc (@PrinceessDi) August 20, 2018
What do you think of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Punchy Jerk Rice? Do you think it crossed the line? Tell us in the comments section below.