No spread, please

I hate the concept of spread.

It sounds industrial, unappetising and harmful, like something you’d use to repair a pot-holed road, smear on a rash or apply to a vegetable plot.

I eat butter and accept no alternatives. Admittedly, not a lot of butter, but I’d rather have the real thing or nothing.

Over the past 10 years or so, we’ve reduced the amount of butter we eat considerably. I love butter on hot crumpets, melted into toast or mashed into fluffy potatoes, but realise that the rest of my body probably doesn’t appreciate it as much as my taste buds.

This morning I calculated how much butter I eat a week: 2 oz (50g). This just happens to be the weekly adult ration in the Second World War. Rations also included 4 0z (100g) of margarine and 4 oz (100g) of cooking fat per week. We don’t use the former and use far less of the latter.

In the war, recalled Marguerite Patten, who worked at the Food Advice Division of the Ministry of Food, people tended to be very healthy, even if menus were somewhat monotonous. Apparently, infant mortality declined and the average age of death from natural causes increased. Dr Alan Borg of the Imperial War Museum suggested that the introduction of more protein and vitamins and the reduction of meat, fats, eggs and sugar played a part in this.

I definitely don’t want to go back to rationing, especially one egg a week or having to use powdered egg, but I like the concept of a simple, healthy diet. I also feel it’s important to be able to enjoy food, even if it’s not eating treats all the time. That’s why I eat and enjoy butter, but not all the time.

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