Harold finished buttering the toast and reached for the condiments, his hand hovering over the jars. “Which do you you want?” He couldn't help the smile that modulated the question. “Marmalade?” His daughter's look of disgust tuned his smile into a full laugh.
“I don't like marmalade, Daddy. Orange peel is yucky. Oranges are for drinking and half-time at football matches. They're not made for putting on toast.”
“If you say so, darling. What, then? Marmite?”
“You know I don't like Marmite. That's horrid.” Lucy screwed her eyes up. She looked like her mouth was full of lemons. “Tell him he's being horrid, mummy.”
“She has a point, Harold. You're being mean to her.” Gillian's smile belied her admonition. She smeared cottage cheese onto a dry piece of dieter’s cardboard and picked it up with her left hand. The wedding band on her ring finger gleamed in the sunlight from the kitchen window. “Let her have what she wants but be quich about it. It's almost eight already.”
“Jam then.” Harold looked at his daughter's face. “Or peanut butter?”
“Both please, Daddy.”
“Both?” He glanced at Gillian and waited for her small not od assent. “Very well then, just this once. Peanut butter and jam it is. I think you're turning into an American child, you watch so much television.”
“Peanut butter and jelly.”
“Peanut butter and jam.” Harold wagged the butter knife at her. “We're in England, where a confection of berries cooked with sugar is called jam.”
“What's jelly, then?”
“In England, we make jelly when we strain away everything that imparted the original flavour to leave a translucent gel.”
“Why do the Americans call jam, jelly?”
“That's a good question.” Harold leaned forward and lowered his voice. “I don't think they know the difference.” He winked, to seal the secret between them.