My five a day was portions of sugar...

Brioche? Are you sure?

Brioche? Are you sure? - Credit: Archant

What is this new generation we are rearing, writes Lynne Mortimer this week.

I was on the phone to Wil (aged two years and three months). He is not the world's best conversationalist when it comes to talking to grandma on by means of telephony. After his big brother, George, has had a chat, I hear a distant voice: 'My turn!' and Wil is on the other end of the phone. At least, I assume he is because he doesn't speak until spoken to... a behaviour normally well-regarded in children. It is difficult to know what to ask him because I don't always catch what he says in reply. But on this occasion he came over loud and clear.

'And what did you have for breakfast, Wil?'

'Brioche.'

Brioche? What is the world coming to when a toddler has brioche for breakfast? It was akin to being there when Marie Antoinette suggested the peasants should eat cake/brioche.


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Did I know about brioche when I was two? I don't think I'd heard of it when I was 22.

When I was small breakfast was cornflakes sprinkled with white sugar and drenched in full cream milk, maybe followed by a piece of toast made with sliced white bread. Winter was porridge, also sprinkled with sugar. On holidays in a caravan at Corton beach we would have a special breakfast treat – the Kelloggs one-bowl-sized variety pack which would have cornflakes, Frosties, Rice Krispies and the coveted Ricicles. I'm not sure when Coco Pops first made their appearance. Very occasionally we would go exotic and have half a grapefruit encrusted with sugar (white) that was sprinkled on the previous evening.

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A boiled egg might be a Sunday option and that was about the gamut of my breakfasts in the 1960s.

Ah, but what about a Full English?

The fry-up tended to be served for dinner – which was a lunchtime meal in our family, the evening meal was tea when I would sometimes devour a sugar sandwich (white sugar sprinkled on buttered bread). Bacon, eggs, fried bread and a grilled tomato was at variance from the usual weekly menu which was: Sunday roast, Monday: soup followed by baked potato, cold meat (left over from the roast) and dad's pickled onions which remain unparalleled in the history of the world; Tuesday: Cottage pie or casserole; Thursday: liver and bacon, toad-in-the-hole, or chops; Friday: Fish and chips; Saturday: Something else. I can't remember eating on Saturdays... though I know we must have done.

Good luck trying to calculate a healthy five-a-day out of that very British line-up. We always had potatoes and veg, of course but it wasn't easy always easy to locate five in the winter.

If we had afters it would tend to be syrup sponge pudding, rice pudding or baked apple. Strawberries and raspberries were for summer only and grapes were for ill people.

There was none of that 'foreign muck' – ie the food we love today. My first ever curry was served for lunch at school and I didn't like it. It was savoury but had sultanas in it...it seemed all wrong. By the age of 15 I was in with a theatrical. arty set and encountered my first spaghetti Bolognese. But pizza was still some years off. As for avocado hand? There was no such injury available to us in the 60s.

There were Chinese restaurants in town and I think I may have visited my first c.1973 when I partook of the 'business lunch' a three course affair comprising a light soup with noodles, sweet and sour chicken balls with rice, and lychees.

Now I have a grandson who eats brioche for breakfast, loves chicken korma and devours egg noodles with reduced-salt Soy sauce and barely has sugar on anything at all.

• Forgive me a crossover but my friend Dorinda, seeing my recent limerick challenge wrote this, following my Monday Feeling appearance in a wetsuit: 'In Suffolk, a lady called Lynne,

Decided she wanted to swim

But she struggled a bit, In her costume to fit

So she threw it away in the bin.

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