Yes, the exclamation mark is there so that you shout that word, JAM!
You remember the famous dogs, conditioned by Pavlov to salivate at the ringing of a bell?
Well, after over 40 years of listening to Germans speaking English, I am conditioned to shout the word ‘Jam!’ when they use the word ‘Marmalade‘, because for English speakers those are two completely different spreads.
When my Mum was in hospital here she chose ‘Toast and marmelade’ for breakfast and was mega-disappointed to be presented with a slice of untoasted white bread and a dollop of strawberry jam the next morning.
In English, ‘Marmalade’ means it’s been made of citrus fruit. ‘Jam’ is everything else.
That’s not all, though. Many British people (including the Queen) are very fussy about which Marmelade they eat, preferring that made from specially bitter Seville oranges.
Every year the province of Seville produces up to 20,000 tonnes oranges, most of which gets made into Marmalade for the British market. British links to Seville’s oranges date back to the 13th century, when the city was captured by Christian forces. Eleanor of Castile, queen consort of Edward I, is known to have imported the fruit into England.
Much later, King Alfonso XIII of Spain – who was born after the death of his father (another Alfonso) and was carried, naked, immediately after his birth to the Spanish Prime Minister on a silver tray – married Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Victoria Eugénie in 1906.
Victoria brought all sorts of English customs with her, including lawn tennis and marmelade. Unfortunately, she also brought the curse of Victora’s family with her – haemophilia. Two of the royal couple’s sons were born with the disorder, and the marriage did not end happily. (Mind you, it hadn’t started well either: at the wedding Catalan Mateu Morral attempted to assasinate the bridal couple. As the wedding procession returned to the palace, he threw a bomb from a window, killing and injuring many bystanders and members of the procession.)
Anyway, Alfonso and Victoria started the tradition of sending Seville oranges to the British royal family and this tradition continued until the 1980s when it somehow fell asleep. But in these difficult times somebody in Spain came to the idea to resuscitate the gesture and so just in time for Prince Phillip’s 99th birthday, oranges were harvested in the Poets’ Garden and the Marqués de la Vega Inclán Garden in Seville, wrapped in tissue paper, packed in a case, and handed to the honorary consul in Seville for dispatch to the embassy in Madrid and then London.
Where the Queen can enjoy them, made into MARMALADE!
The Cabin Fever part.