Sunday, 4 March 2012

Marmalade Helpline


Marmalade Conversations
Have lunch with a marmalade-making friend; I take a jar of Batch Two as a gift and make him admire the hand-cut peel. He later emails me to tell me that he started an office discussion about marmalade after our lunch, and found that there is an insect called a marmalade hoverfly. But his colleague misheard and said ‘Marmalade Helpline? Is there such a thing?’

Which is a rather nice idea. Run by the WI, of course.

I planned to ignore such non-edible distractions on this site, but can’t resist looking up the hoverfly and it is, in fact, rather beautiful, with black markings that look like a selection of false moustaches. As you'll see if you click here.

And, once more, I am delighted that people talk about marmalade at work.

The Britishness of Marmalade
One thing that interests me about marmalade is how it has become a symbol of Britishness, an essential foodstuff without which the country’s morale would surely collapse. As we didn’t invent it and it’s not even made with a native crop, I’m not sure why this is. But it has become so; and this blog will frequently present evidence that this is the case.

For example, last year the Radio Times printed a diary written by actor Ben Miller, who had moved to Guadeloupe for six months to film the wonderful ‘Death in Paradise’ for BBC1. I particularly liked this entry:

‘15 August 2011: What I really miss are the most clich├ęd things about England. Things I don’t even generally care about when I’m in England. I have started fantasising about marmalade. They have orange jam here, which is really not the same. I have invited a friend out. I have pretended I want to see him, but really I just want him to bring some marmalade. I hope he doesn’t read this.’

Note to Ben Miller: if you ever go back and make Series 2, I promise to send you at least one jar of marmalade for moral support. In fact, could you write it into the script? Although then your character might cheer up a bit, which would never do.

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