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The Field No 6 - Chocolate was very much a treat

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 28 February 2017

Perhaps it explains why I have picked up such a sweet tooth later in life but, in my early years at Butterwell farm Byfield, chocolate was a real rarity and sweets were just non existent. This was my mother at work.

She really did not like many aspects of the modern world. Hence we had no TV just a device known as "the steam wireless." But even it was not left on as background noise as we all tend to do today. It was switched on very deliberately for special programmes. We had no car until eventually she relented and we purchased an old Morris Traveller. And, having grown up with wartime rationing, she really did not approve of sweets or chocolate being freely available as they were for most kids in the village.

Part of that was also down to her desire that we be self sufficient, eating largely what we grew or reared. Even for those like my mother who corresponded with the guru of the movement John Seymour, there were certain things you just could not home produce: coffee, tea, sugar and the evil chocolate. So they were bought but rationed.

My mother used to buy large dark brown bars of cooking chocolate. I struggle to remember if we were allowed a piece on Sunday, I tend to think that we were not. My sisters and I were allowed some when we had a family Birthday or on a special occasion. But it was terribly rare.

Was that so bad? As I wander around Sainsbury's doing the shop for my family I look at fat little brats demanding, and getting, all sorts of sugary rubbish from their parents. It is just accepted as part of modern life. Some folks demand sugar taxes to discourage parents from caving in to the demands of their spoiled offspring. I'd like to think that I will not be quite as stern as my mum on this matter but that I do not need the nanny state to give me a backbone.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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