Culinary Marxism: Blueberry Banana Bread Gone Woke

By John C. A. Manley

Last week, I received the following under-the-radar example of culinary Marxism in an email from a member of the crew at the musical my son is currently rehearsing for:

“I just got informed by a parent that one of our young ladies has an anaphylactic allergy to walnuts and tree nuts. While I (and the rest of the company) adore our banana bread, may I request that we exclude walnuts going forward? I’m so thankful you list all the ingredients, it is obviously so helpful to keep people safe.”

Now, what I find disturbing about this email is not that the girl can go into anaphylactic shock if she eats a walnut. What I find disturbing is that the sender expects all the other members to go without walnuts to keep one person “safe” (as if merely being in the presence of a walnut might kill her).

For context, each week my assistant preps all the ingredients for two loaves of banana bread. On Sunday mornings I bake them. My son eats an entire loaf (growing boy) for brunch and brings the other loaf to rehearsal that day where it is enjoyed by the cast and crew at break time (along with a variety of other snacks people provide).

It’s already dairy-free, lard-free, egg-free and made with 100% organic ingredients. I thought the whole point of providing the list of ingredients was that anybody who was avoiding a particular food it might contain could then decide not to eat a slice — not so that they could ask everybody else to conform to their personal dietary restriction(s).

As I said in my response:

“Seems a bit of a shame to deny everybody else walnuts because of one person. Banana and walnuts are quite the classic combo.”

I have total sympathy for someone with food allergies. I have a long list of them. Por ejemplo, give me a raw strawberry and my mouth breaks out immediately in ulcers so painful it would almost be more merciful to serve me razor blades. But if I was a member of the cast and someone brought a fruit salad with strawberries, I wouldn’t request they stop including the strawberries. I just wouldn’t eat it.

Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story

The world doesn’t revolve around my strawberry allergy.

I mean, I can already hear the wokism of it all: you should omit X ingredient or you don’t care about people with X allergy or X dietary preference. You’re a selfish person.

Really, who is the selfish person? Maybe it’s the person who expects everybody to go without something because they can’t have it.

It’s like Stefanie says to Constable Mackenzie in my novel, Much Ado About Corona, when he calls her selfish for not wearing a mask:

“‘Oh!’ She gasped in sudden anger. ‘Who’s the one being selfish? You’re the one telling me to wear a Petri dish on my face for your protection. Ordering me to stay at home for your safety. All for your benefit! I haven’t asked anything of you — other than to leave me alone. So, you tell me — who’s being selfish?’”

It’s the same mentality behind vaccinations, the lockdowns, social welfare, forced taxation, affirmative hiring policies, climate change… You should limit yourself because someone else has limitations (real or imaginary).

Well, guess what? Everybody has limitations. If we keep on adding on other people’s limitations to our own limitations we’ll all be left with nothing.

Por ejemplo #2: That banana loaf contains spelt flour. Some people have gluten allergies. So I replace it with rice flour (which is no fun to bake with). But then some paleotarian who refuses to eat grains because he identifies as a caveman will wield his club and say the rice has to go. So now we’re down to a banana salad. But then a locotarian protests that tropical fruits are not native to Canada and the banana has to go.

In the end, we end up with nothing to eat.

However, if people with different needs and preferences would simply provide different snacks, instead of nothing to eat we’d have an abundance and variety.

Limitations and restrictions are a fact of life which lead to creativity and diversity, instead of destruction and conformity.

Well, it seems many of the mothers who subscribe to my newsletter were in 100% agreement with me when I originally posted this article. The responses were so numerous I think these freedom-minded mothers need to band together and start an organization called:

M.A.M.A.S. (Mothers Against Marxism And Socialism)

Here are just a few of their comments:

“I totally agree with everything you said and wish more people would think through their ideals. It has also been my experience that whenever someone calls another selfish, it is he who is thinking in a selfish way. Unfortunately, a selfish person seldom sees the error of his own ways — he’d have to stop being selfish…”

I don’t really mind if people want to be “selfish.” In many ways, I have a deep respect for self-centred people (I often wish I could be more like them). It’s only when they cross the line and expect others to sacrifice for their self-interest that I get annoyed.

Another mother commented:

“What do they think lists of ingredients are provided for? Are they now going to all the grocery stores to ask that they remove all foodstuffs that they cannot eat? It is the same mindset as punishing the entire classroom for one student’s infraction.”

I’m considering asking if all the cast could be required to wear blindfolds because my son is blind. It’s totally unfair that they can all see each other, the stage and the audience while he cannot. They’re a bunch of sight supremacists.

One last comment:

“Oh John! I so agree with you. We all need to ‘include everyone or heaven forbid.’ Just don’t eat it if you have issues with an ingredient. This drives me nuts (pun intended).”

In the end, I feel I found a simple win-win solution: I simply scooped out a half-cup of the batter (before adding the walnuts) and placed it in a tea cup lined with parchment paper. I stirred in a tablespoon of roasted pumpkin seeds and baked a nut-free muffin. This way everybody else gets to enjoy the classic walnut-banana combo and the girl with the anaphylaxis karma can still enjoy a renegade banana-pumpkin seed muffin.

In defence of the crew member who has driven you nuts, I do believe they made the request out of compassion for the one girl who couldn’t eat the baked good because tree nuts will kill her quicker than an mRNA booster shot.

But compassion, like any virtue, needs to be tempered by discernment. Compassion for the one girl led to a request that showed no compassion for the other children. Compassion for one person can easily mutate into tyranny for many.

John C. A. Manley is the author of the full-length novel, Much Ado About Corona: A Dystopian Love Story and the forthcoming novella, All The Humans Are Sleeping. John lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada with his son Jonah, and the ever-present spirit of his late wife, Nicole. You read free chapters from his novels by subscribing to his Blazing Pine Cone email newsletter at

Image: Pixabay

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