Some people tell me that, now and again, they love nothing better than dining on a sneaky jam sandwich, partly for convenience and partly because it brings back childhood memories of picnics in the park and warm summers (I’ve certainly forgotten what those are like…). The phrase certainly brings back childhood memories for me but not of the culinary kind. I grew up in a first floor flat overlooking a police garage, which was full of the Rover police cars used in the Seventies and Eighties. They were known as ‘jam sandwiches’ because of the orange stripe around the middle. Perhaps a preoccupation with motors is the legacy of an Essex upbringing, but I digress…
Marks & Spencers has put the humble jam sarnie under the spotlight this week. The retailer has today introduced a new credit crunch-busting sandwich to their ‘Simply’ range– a strawberry jam sandwich which will set you back 75p. And it has created something of a hullabaloo in the press. Some angry commentators claim that it’s an affront to consumers struggling to make ends meet, when a jam sandwich can easily and more affordably be made at home. Others complain that nutritionists would be outraged by the unhealthy jam and white bread used. If anything this sarnie is being held up as a symbol of everything that is wrong with modern Britain. An unhealthy, cookery-shy nation that is so time poor it can’t even be bothered to make its own obesity-inducing sandwich for lunch. Watch out the doner kebab…
Personally I find it faintly ridiculous that while conflict rages in Afghanistan and we stumble through the biggest economic crisis we’ve seen for decades, a couple of tablespoons of jam and two slices of white bread can create such a fuss. But perhaps along with a fascination for anything Jonathan Ross does these days, it’s the chronic need for light relief.
I mostly make my own lunches now – it’s cheaper and easier to do so when you work from home anyway. You don’t have to remember to make sandwiches the night before and risk them going stale, or worry about your leftover Bolognese leaking in your bag on the way into work. Plus I’m a couple of miles from the nearest sandwich shop and it seems pretty non-frugal to buy in sarnies when all the ingredients are at home.
But when I worked in London I was generally in a rush and not as well organised, and I used to struggle to find a shop-bought sandwich for under £1. Occasionally I could get a packaged egg and cress or plain prawn sarnie for 99p. Even to get a much nicer freshly made one from a sandwich shop was usually about £1.50 or more. So perhaps M&S is doing us all a favour.
Personally I probably wouldn’t buy their jam sandwich. While I’ve got a terrible sweet tooth, I just wouldn’t find a jam sandwich satisfying enough to eat for lunch. I would feel the need for something savoury and more filling. But DJ tells me he quite happily indulges in one from time to time. Many busy commuters buy a couple of pieces of toast and jam from a sandwich shop on the way into work anyway, so why the fuss when M&S decide to package and sell it to us? OK, it’s hardly frugal when you could buy a whole loaf and make your own sandwiches, but why is it any different from the cheese or prawn sandwiches it and other retailers sell? We aren’t being forced to buy them!
Would you buy the M&S jam sandwich or does it go against the grain? Are there other types of ‘credit crunch’ sandwiches you would like to see instead? Anyone for a marmite sandwich…?
|StumbleUpon||Technorati||Yahoo! My Web|