I had a sudden déjà vu as I wandered round the supermarket today; I say wandered but actually I was on a mission to buy a couple of things, and buy them I did but I also saw something which took me right back to my childhood. It coincided with me seeing my sister earlier this week and talking about our aunty who used to live in a bedsit when we were young children. It was a single room at the front of a tall Edwardian building in Cambridge near the station. It was a single room with a bed which let down from the wall and was concealed behind wooden doors, somewhat like the doors to a wardrobe. She had a table and two chairs near the window, some other seating which I can’t quite remember, a small freestanding cooker – maybe a Baby Belling with a grill and a an electric ring, and there may have been a small sink in the corner.
We used to visit her and sometimes stay overnight – I guess we slept on the sofa or maybe on a camp-bed, I can’t remember, but it was always exciting because it was different from home. One of the treats she gave us was date rolls. These were bridge rolls, buttered and with slices of compressed dates cut from a block. Bridge rolls I think are a thing of the past:
Bridge rolls are small finger-shaped soft white bread rolls. They appear to be quite recent creations—the term is not recorded before 1926—but by the mid-twentieth century they had become omnipresent in Britain at occasions such as children’s parties, their filling seeming almost invariably to be egg and cress. Since the 1960s they have gone into a decline. The origin of their name is not clear, but the likeliest explanation is that they were originally intended to be eaten at afternoon parties at which bridge was played. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095527122
We thought they were delicious and special, we only ever had them when we visited our aunty. Later she moved to her own house and when we visited we had normal things to eat, and often lovely cakes she had made. Once I commented to her about date rolls and how I’d loved them as a child. She laughed and said when we had come to tea she had bought some bridge rolls and was suddenly inspired to put slices cut from a block of dates, instead of the usual jam or spready cheese. She had quit forgotten them, but it was something I’d always remembered.
Today as I was in the supermarket I saw blocks of dates, and smiling, I bought some. Then I had to find some bridge rolls, which I couldn’t. I found some small soft rolls, but they were still too big, and were too fluffy and soft, but I made do and made myself a date roll. Not as good as aunty’s, but I still enjoyed it!