The Importance of Being Earnest Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

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How does Wilde use food as a way to satirze the aristocracy?

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As a society, Victorians were snobby and classicist down to how to hold a fork down, the types of foods they ate, and the amount that they served. More, opulent, excessive, and hyperbolic always meant "wealthy" or "fashionable".

Lady Brackell ate "crumpets" with the Duchess, and the famous cucumber sandwiches are symbols of status.

In the famous showdown between Gwendolyn and Cecily, food made all the difference. Cecily's cake and sugar were "unfashionable" and "unseen in the households of the best families", whereas her bread and butter and her unsweetened tea were apparently the "rage" in London.

Cecily.  [Sweetly.]  Sugar?

Gwendolen.  [Superciliously.]  No, thank you.  Sugar is not fashionable any more. [Cecily looks angrily at her, takes up the tongs and puts four lumps of sugar into the cup.]

Cecily.  [Severely.]  Cake or bread and butter?

Gwendolen.  [In a bored manner.]  Bread and butter, please.  Cake is rarely seen at the best houses nowadays.

Cecily.   [Cuts a very large...

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