It was over breakfast one morning in May. There I was about to delight myself with boiled eggs. The plate of toast ,served as soldiers and for my Marmalade after that.
In comes Anita with a strange look on her face. “Marmalade again. ”
Indignant of the comment and the look ,one cracked open the last egg in the holder and dipped on hot buttered toast as if no one else was there.
Again the call. I cleared my mouth and spoke my jolly mind. “Marmalade is a British thing. Love it or hate it depends decidedly on tasting it my dear.”
She had been rather slow on the take up but now by Gad it happened. Wide eyed I looked up from the finished egg and watched her slide a knife into my marmalade jar in somewhat somber motion.
I had no need to ponder it was instant and positive and flowing was the occasion and her countenance told it all.
Since then I have to make twice as much marmalade.
To think that reference to the product is stamped in the pages of English recipe books going way back into the days of good old Queen Elizabeth. .Then when it was made with Quince fruit not Spanish sour oranges.
So Saville in Spain had 80 tons of sour oranges and somehow the British bought them .Today the entire market is that of Britain .Spain has no other customer for her oranges of Seville are that sour one is hard pressed to find anyone other than Marmalade makers who adore the said fruit .
It changed from Quince grown in England to oranges grown in Spain around 1800. Queen Victoria so loved Marmalade that it became a product for the business man to produce.So much so for most households the only thing was to make ones own . Cooks in big houses made pan fulls of the stuff. The common workers bought oranges when spoiled as cheap and so made marmalade in the little kitchens .From that it became a sport as one cook challenged others all across the cities of England this went on.
Womens Institute WI or to us men Wild Indians made jam circles to sell at fairs they had open to public. Each member made a jam or Marmalade and brought jars to sell.
So it became a truly British thing over time of ,many centuries. When in 1953 Hillary and Tenzing reached the summit of Everest mountain they opened a jar on Marmalade and spooned it out to enjoy the victory .
Scott had taken Marmalade to Antartic cirlce . Sugar content stopped the jar freezing.
I believe it may even have been taken into space.
So is it good .Indeed it is a jar that trapped sunshine . It is fruity heaven and now two of us like the taste.
When ever one can find the sour fruit in Europe one can set too and cook up a batch of Marmalade . Not often enough are the sour oranges here as Latvia is not a Marmalade nation. Then not to fear I simply visit Lidll shops and there one can find the real thing on the shelves. Dundee Marmalade is common with the Germans also hooked by the taste it seems .
I try to have six jars always on my shelf to eat when I want.
The story of Italian chef seeing his lady Mary Queen of Scotland ill decided to make her a fruit jam to revive her mood . It is a nice tale but with little fact as he called it My Mam malady . Do not thing so .
Marmalade is a thing that brought millions of housewifes to compete making it .All over Britain they judge who makes the best. Even sell it on stalls at summer fetes. Why not it is the peer in the range of jams that brings back my youth with its taste in every bite of toast. Fresh and orangey sweet and delicious .It sparkles in the sunlight in the glass jar from pantry to the dish on breakfast table. Anita now conversant supports my efforts now but says rather have honey but marmalade is good too?
The truth is a thing called Meladosa made with oranges and lemons into jam existed in Portugal in the 11 century .So the Marmalade may have come from that .Our Quince jam goes back to much the same time . The oranges replaced the quince around 1800 in England and I add the juice of a ripe lemon to my marmalade making as it helps the flavour I say .
What ever, a good story and a great British product . If one adds a thimble full of Malt Whiskey in the mix after cooking you have Scottish Marmalade and to be honest I like it so much as it is not same product otherwise.
A bit of rest and light reading.I do so hope you liked it.
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt2022