The English Cheese War
“It seemed the very cheeseboards of our souls were all atremble!” So said Plenitude Bosom-Frontage, back in the early days of what was to become the English Cheese War. Back in those days, cheese had a powerful mystical hold over the populace, with each part of the country – usually – having its own local cheese for the masses to rally around in times of trouble. This was especially true down on the south coast where there was the ever-present danger of invasion by the rather bland and uninteresting French cheeses. There was suspicion there too among the general populace that those of high rank in society looked down on the local cheeses and regarded the – to the common British palate – tasteless and bland Foreign cheeses as somehow far superior to the indigenous cheeses.
This fear of the danger of an invasion of foreign cheeses is still a common fear, right down to this day, a feeling that those in control of society (nowadays the left-leaning middle class) do despise this country’s indigenous local cheeses to a greater or lesser degree, while regarding anywhere but their own country as somehow superior in one way or another.
However, back in those days we now speak of it was the great cheese schisms that for the majority centred on the obvious - to them – superiority of their own local cheese to all others. While in the higher echelons of ‘polite’ society there was a feeling that the true civilised cheeses for the discerning palate could only ever be found on the continent. For a time there was even a small sect that claimed that the cheeses from the New World colonies would soon surpass all other cheeses of the world, but time and experience soon put an end to such cults, that proved too heretical and schismatic, even for those fevered times.
These days we no longer confine ourselves to our own local cheeses, but partake of those from all around the country. This is a practice that would have – in the days of the English Cheese War - been regarded as sacrilegious. Such a blatant transgression of the social norms would mean that the transgressor would run the risk of being either hung, burnt at the stake, or placed under a hot grill on a large piece of bread with the heretical cheese grated all over them, to be toasted to death.
The skirmishes between the supporters of local cheeses soon turned into battles between various cheese-based sects with constantly shifting alliances between all the various factions, each supporting their own cheese and allying with those other sects that would gain advantage for them, no matter how fleeting.
War became inevitable when the king threw in his lot with the Stilton and Wensleydale sects and parliament took up the cause of the Cheddarites and Double Glouscesters.
The war ended only after many battles, culminating with the forces of the Royalist cheeses being soundly defeated at the famous Battle Of The Table Water Biscuits on the 3rd September 1651, where the king was captured by the Stiltonian cavalry.
The king was later put on trial for knowingly consorting with a Parmesan cheese, and for engaging in certain 'midnite rituales with a devilishle blande French Brie'. Eventually, he was sentenced to be grated to death and England became The Commonwealth of England’s Cheeses.