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Mama’s Moldy Marmalade Makes Me Mad

, , , , | Related | October 29, 2020

This takes place quite a few years ago when my husband and I have been married for less than a year, and we’re visiting his parents for a weekend. His mother uses copious amounts of salt in her cooking and likes “old-fashioned” food — casseroles, dumplings, steamed puddings, and the like. I’ve always thought her food had a weird taste, and this particular weekend I find out why. We’re sitting at the table eating a full English breakfast.

Husband: “I’ve just used the last of the butter.”

Mother-In-Law: “There’s more in the fridge.”

Me: “I can get it.”

I’m nearest to the kitchen door.

Mother-In-Law: “Make sure you get the oldest one.”

Me: “Um… okay?”

I go to the fridge to find no less than five packs of butter. Three are in date but two are out of date, one by over two months. I bring the oldest of the in-date packs.

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, no, dear, that’s the wrong one.”

Me: “The others are out of date.”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, don’t take any notice of that.”

She takes the in-date butter back to the kitchen and brings back the old, expired, funky-tasting butter for our toast. I decide I don’t really need any more toast right now.

After the meal, I help to clear up. There is marmalade in a bowl on the table. My mother-in-law asks me to spoon the leftovers back into the jar — the jar which had a ring of green mould around the rim.

Me: “This is mouldy!”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, that’s fine. I scrape off any green bits when I serve it up.”

I pick up the frying pan with the oil from frying the eggs.

Mother-In-Law: “Just leave that on the stove; the lid’s in the cupboard.”

Me: *Pause* “Pardon?”

Mother-In-Law: “Pop the lid on; keep it fresh.”

It was then I discovered that the pan sits on the stove more or less permanently. The lid “keeps it fresh” and the oil is topped up whenever it gets low. It has never, to my knowledge, been washed… and we’ve now been married fifteen years.

My husband has since realised that his parents don’t have the healthiest outlook on food, but he won’t “rock the boat” and when we visit he will happily eat anything they serve. I have cereal for breakfast, and I’m sure my mother-in-law thinks I’m a fussy eater because I take a cautious bite of my food and leave anything that doesn’t taste quite right. I usually have a stash of cereal bars and chocolate in my overnight bag.

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