"We talk about austerity today, but have little idea of what folks from the 40's, 50's and 60's considered 'normal' unless we were around or our parents lived through those times. Times have been turned on their head over the past sixty years. Today, good jam cannot be secured unless you make your own. The only alternative is to pay £3-£4 for a jar half filled with sugar.
In my youth, bread and jam wasn't an extra at the meal table; on most occasions in many working class homes, it was the meal! Along with jars of cheap paste spreads, the thinnest slices of spam and sacks of potatoes, such produce were often the staple food of many a working class family.
I recall my father who was a miner, often work through the hunger of his day when we had little food on the table. He worked all day in pit conditions that were bad enough to send any man to an early grave. In his snack box was a few slices of bread and jam sandwiches to last him between 7am and 4pm when his shift ended. He told us that between taking his sandwich from his lunch box and placing it in his mouth, the white bread enclosing the jam would turn from white to black before he had managed to take the first bite.
Then, when he arrived home for the meal of the day, my mum would give him a plate of potatoes and if lucky, half a head of cabbage. When pay day came around and my mother could afford a family treat for the weekend table, we would dine luxuriously on pigs' trotters, along with a plate of spuds of course!
Those were the days! And what kind of man and woman did such simple fare produce? I'll tell you; men of courage, women of wisdom, children of adventure and families of fortitude. In short, folk who made a difference!" William Forde: May 5th, 2016.