Thursday, 5 April 2012

Marmalade Machinery


Marmalade Machinery

If anyone has been waiting with bated breath (ahem) for the promised marmalade-by-committee experiment, my apologies for the deathly hush of the last three weeks. But I got it into my head that it would be fun to get hold of an antique marmalade-cutter and try it out on the last of my Sevilles. But that required enough time to fiddle around on eBay, so the plan faltered while I caught up with quite a lot of overdue work (got to pay for the marmalade-cutter somehow).

However, thanks to a mere half-hour spent on eBay two days ago, I am now the proud owner of a Follows & Bates ‘Rapid’ marmalade-cutter, which I hope will clamp on to my rather shallow worktop edge.

As it’s now Easter weekend, there’ll be a further delay while it wends its way through the postal system. But I will upload a pic as soon as it arrives, possibly in action, if the blades don't need sharpening.

All this reminds me of a nice story I read about the Titanic in a book review a while ago. (Apologies to anyone who is sick of Titanic stories, there are rather too many about at the moment. You may look away now.) 

Among the many survivors of the shipwreck was 27-year-old Edwina Troutt, a second-class passenger. After surviving the terrible ordeal, she sued the White Star Line, not for a refund of her ticket or compensation for her distress, as one would these days, but for 8s 5d for the loss of her marmalade machine.

When I first read this, I couldn’t think what the machine might be or why on earth she would take it with her; was she setting up a jam factory? How big might a marmalade machine be, for heaven’s sake? But now I wonder if it was in fact a marmalade-cutter, which wouldn’t have been that big, as my postman will soon confirm. Although Edwina lived to be 100 and was a regular at Titanic conventions, she is sadly no longer with us, so I can't ask her. But if anyone knows more about this, do leave me a comment.

While we're discussing the Titanic, my marmalade-blogging friend in the US sent me a snippet about the Titanic’s stores reportedly including 1,120lbs of jams and marmalades. Amongst the information I noted that while the first-class menus listed ‘Oxford marmalade’, the second- and third-class menus said just ‘marmalade’. Such fine distinctions, even at sea…

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