Tuesday

Weetabix. It's breakfast, Jim, but not as we know it.



Well, do you? And did you? Ever? Spread one (or two) with butter and jam, like a crisp-bread, or a slice of toast? 

It came back to me this morning, a childhood memory of spreading welsh butter and strawberry jam on one in my mother's kitchen, the slow, gum-sticking process of chewing my way through. I can't remember if it was at breakfast, or when I came home from school in the afternoon. If it was breakfast time perhaps we were short of milk... but that doesn't feel right. Milk was delivered in red foil topped bottles to our back door every morning. I do remember it feeling like hard work by the time I'd got half way through one: the butter and jam overwhelmed by the dryness of the biscuit that found its way into every crevice between every tooth and resisted the concerted dislodging efforts of my tongue. 

This morning I use French butter and home-made blackberry and apple jam, more generously, I imagine, than the 10 year old girl would have dared to. And the memory is remade, but differently, as I eat every mouthful with ease and pleasure.  

At the same time this feels like more than re-experiencing a taste of childhood: it feels that it's about culture and economy too. About a working class family who managed and got by thanks to hard-work, thrift and invention. I know I'm teetering on the edge of melodrama and sentimentality, imbuing a simple Weetabix with that back-story. But the objects of our lives, from food and possessions, toys and clothes, the things we preserve and throw away, contain the stories of our lives. 

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about a childhood breakfast.

And Weetabix have certainly played a part in all our stories: from its creation in 1932, through WWII and rationing, and export to Canada and the USA in the late 1960s. 3D technology, space travel, Dr Who, polar expeditions: yep, Weetabix came with us.  Take a look at this History link on the UK site for 81 years of social and manufacturing history. But it seems I am not as original as I thought I was: back in 1939 Weetabix was 'making a man' of a small boy on a trike. How? Spread with butter and jam.