London (AFP) - The US ambassador to Britain sparked annoyance in his host country by criticising the local traditional food in a magazine interview this week.
Asked what he would serve at his ideal dinner party, envoy Matthew Barzun replied somewhat undiplomatically.
"I'll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes. I must have had lamb and potatoes 180 times since I have been here. There are limits and I have reached them," Barzun told Tatler magazine.
Commentators were quick to respond.
"When Barzun quits his post in disgrace – as he surely must, with immediate effect – angry mobs are bound to line the route to the airport, booing and pinging potatoes off his windscreen and screaming threats," wrote Stuart Heritage in the Guardian.
The Telegraph's William Sitwell defended British lamb as "the finest lamb on the planet" and hit out in return at US cuisine.
"Chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, retailers – indeed all British patriots – have collectively had a sharp intake of breath before spluttering profanities about how a man who comes from a land… of deep-fried chicken, cheese grits, burgoo and spoonbread (foods simply lashed with sugar and fat) could be so disparaging about two of our most noble ingredients."
To make matters worse, Barzun spoke before travelling to Newport to accompany US president Barack Obama to the NATO summit in Wales -- famed for its lamb.