Jubilee, y’all

The British member of the aerobics class I attend and I were discussing the recent diamond jubilee for Queen Elizabeth. This was preferable to doing yet more knee lifts, something the queen certainly wouldn’t be seen doing. She brought up the eternal question about what’s in that darn purse Queenie carries around. It’s everywhere. No matter what she’s wearing – suit, ermine-trimmed robe, gold lame – it’s always the same black patent leather handbag.

As we talked, I realized something: The queen could never be a Traditional Southerner. At the boat parade on the Thames for the jubilee, she had on a lovely white suit trimmed in Swarovski crystals (or so the orating heads on BBC America said) and a beautiful white hat. She glowed like a diamond herself – until the camera swung around to her white-gloved left arm. There was the shiny black purse,  looking like a cowpatty in the snow. Black patent leather after Memorial Day? My grandmother (who lived to be about the queen’s age now) would have drastically lowered her estimation of the monarchy. On the dot of Memorial Day, my grandmother would wrap her black patent leather handbag in tissue paper and put it in the closet, then pull out and carefully unwrap her white patent leather bag. The ceremony was repeated in reverse on Labor Day.

The purse issue isn’t all. My college roommate, a Tar Heel native who has lived in Britain for many years, often bemoans the Brits’ lack of familiarity with the Southern staple, the deviled egg. I don’t know how they have Easter dinners there, I just don’t. And what they do to chicken salad… After the commentators mentioned something called Coronation Salad, I looked online. A recipe that purports to be the 1953 original contains, with the chicken, whipping cream, apricot jam, canned apricots, red wine and tomato puree. Well, I guess you have to make do if you can’t get Duke’s mayo.