Mature Cheddar cheese, Branston Pickle, a handful of baby tomatoes, pickled beetroot, granary bread with full cream Irish butter, probably not the healthiest of teas, but one that has a Sunday feeling about it. (Perhaps a wedge of fruit cake should have been added, but it would have been an unnecessary addition of calories).

To be honest, it is a tea that I probably have rather too often, justifying to myself the large amounts of cheese eaten by reference to the half dozen baby tomatoes which must surely balance out the negative effects of the cheese. (And pickled beetroot must surely stand on the side of the angels when it comes to the balance of the good and the bad foodstuffs).

Teatime on a Sunday used to be different from teatime on other days, perhaps it was an economic matter, treats could only be afforded on one day of the week.

Sunday was a day when there might have been fruit cake. Not slices from the sort of round cake that might have been iced at Christmas, but slices from a rectangular, square-ended cake baked on a base of paper. Choosing the right slice was important if one wanted a cherry.

Sunday was a day when there might have been ice cream. The Wall’s ice cream van would visit the village on a Sunday afternoon and a block of vanilla might have been bought. It would be served with tinned sliced peaches and the dish would have been scraped for every last taste.

Sunday was a day when there might have been boiled eggs. There was no reason why there could not have been boiled eggs on any other day, eggs were a thing in abundant supply. Perhaps it was that there was more leisure on a Sunday teatime for boiling eggs and making toast. The eggs had to be soft-boiled, runny yolks, no more than four minutes in the pan. Hard-boiled eggs were no use for the sliced toast that became bread soldiers.

Occasionally, Sunday might have been a day when there were toasted crumpets. Presumably, crumpets now include preservatives of some sort that extend their shelf life, for they do not now have the flavour they seemed once to possess.

Perhaps it is the flavours that are now missing. There was a richness of taste seems to have become hard to find, even bread and butter would taste special.


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2 Responses to Teatime

  1. Kev says:

    You have just summed up my childhood

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