DO YOU keep your jam in the fridge? This is important stuff. When I found out my wife’s family kept their jam in the fridge, I lost all respect for them.
I didn’t say anything at the time, because it looked a bit petty, but I never saw them in the same light again.
I remember when it happened too. There was no sign of the jam shortly after a member of the other side had called in for a cup of tea. My wife said, ‘try the fridge’.
There it was, cold and disgusting, bound for the worst slice of toast in living memory.
When I was finished, I put it back in the cupboard, where it belongs. A few days later it was back in the fridge.
We’re working through it obviously, and hopefully we can come to some kind of solution where I don’t have to eat cold jam.
(There is talk of keeping two jars on the go, but then you are into the whole area of waste and sustainability and our seven-year-old is very hot on that at the moment.)
There is something primal about this kind of stuff. I refuse to follow my parents’ lead on a load of things, but when it comes to storing sugar disguised as a fruit spread, I’m toeing the family line.
My mother stored her jam in a cupboard, and that’s good enough for me.
Before you flood my editor with emails pointing out the jar says you should refrigerate after opening and consume within four weeks, I know that and I don’t care. My mother knows her jam.
And I hope that when the time comes for my own kids, they’ll keep their jam well away from the fridge
That’s what’s really at stake here. I don’t want to pass on my lack of religion or love of Manchester United to my kids.
It’s the small daft traditions that I want to keep alive.
Toilet paper is another one. Not the use of it, we’re all agreed on that.
I mean whether the toilet roll should be placed so the paper unfolds down the front, or (if you’re an eejit), that it should unfold at the back. You’ll have guessed where I stand.
Every now and again I find that someone has replaced the roll so that it unfolds down the back.
My wife insists that it fell off and she just put it back any old way, but I know aggression when I see it and my lawyers are working on a response.
I told her that Francis Brennan put the issue to bed on RTÉ’s At Your Service, when he made it clear that letting toilet paper roll down the back is basically ignorant, but she’s not for turning.
The other big family difference is that her lot were clearly born on the top of a mountain during a howling gale, because if all the windows in our house aren’t open at the same time, each and every one of us is going to die of ‘stale air’.
It’s lethal apparently.
I spend a lot of time closing windows.
Look, I know I’m fighting a losing battle here. The little things that I’m trying to pass on to my kids, they are all my mother’s traditions.
I’m not sure my Dad got a look in, as his dad didn’t either back in the day.
For all that the world has changed for the better, moms still rule when it comes to things like bog-roll, jam and howling gales.
I’m sad that my kids will end up struggling with toilet paper all their adult lives.
Hopefully the whole robot thing will have kicked in by then and they’ll have a machine to wipe their bums.
At least there will be no waste of toilet paper just because my kids got the runs after eating jam from the press. (I know, I know, it’s supposed to be in the fridge.)