Sunday, 27 August 2017 11:51

My Gran's Jam Sandwiches

We were given the instruction to write a piece for The Guardian's 'We Like To Eat' feature. So I have done this piece about my gran's jam sandwiches. Feedback appreciated. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We Like To Eat: My Gran's Jam Sandwiches

2 slices of white bread (per person)
Butter
Strawberry jam (Preferably homemade)

Butter one side of each slice of white bread. Spread one buttered side with strawberry jam. Place other buttered side face-down onto jam to create sandwich. Cut into squares and serve with either tea or orange squash.

When I think of my gran's house, my overwhelming feeling is one of happiness. She lived with my grandad (who we called Granf) in an end-of-terrace council house in Bower Hinton, Somerset. It was a place where even my dad seemed to relax - spinning me around as we danced to old Rock n Roll 45s on my gran's multi-stack record player.

Granf, though, was a serious man who took no messing. He liked nothing better than to smoke his pipe, watch the horses on the telly, and fuss over his fat Jack Russell terrier, Sindy, who he would often feed his cups of tea to from his saucer.

By contrast, my gran was a jolly woman, quite mischievous, with white curly hair and "plump" (I once made the mistake of asking her why she was so fat, to which she immediately replied, "I'm not fat. I'm plump". Lesson learned). On many levels, she was the embodiment of Terry Pratchett's Nanny Ogg - except my gran's cooking was far less 'experimental', sticking to the traditional meat and two veg variety.
The exception was Sunday teatime which, unlike every other meal which we had to sit at the table to eat, we could eat on our laps. Sunday tea at my gran's house consisted of sandwiches made with the leftover meat from the Sunday roast (and, sometimes, also tinned ham), jam sandwiches, homemade buns, and either a homemade jam sponge or boiled fruitcake. This was all served with cups of tea for the grown-ups and tupperware beakers of orange squash for us kids. 

When I became a grown-up myself, I often tried to recreate my gran's strawberry jam sandwiches but could never get it quite right. As she had died of Cancer, she was no longer around to ask. So this lead to some experimenting in the kitchen. Thinking it was the jam, I piled it higher and higher trying to recapture the jamminess of them. It never worked. Then, one day, I had a brainwave - instead of buttering just the one slice, I buttered both slices. Eureka! I had managed to recreate my gran's jam sandwiches. It wasn't the jam, after all. It was the butter!

Published in Aug-Oct-2017