RMGT's editor reflects on the worst part of the recession. But it's not what you think it is.

The nation’s very public “Great Recession” has turned my very private pet peeve into a full-blown obsession.

For years I have been mildly annoyed when restaurants put out only grape jelly with toast or other breads. Why is it always grape? The obvious answer is cost, but I am not letting these establishments off the hook that easily.

For years I have gone through the same routine when I query the waiter, “Could I have strawberry, or blackberry, or apricot or anything but grape jelly, please?”  “Yes,” comes the response. And invariably the condiment of choice shows up, usually a mixed berry, whatever that means.

But in the last year the situation has gone from bad to worse. I now have to practically get down on my knees and beg for jam of the other-than-grape variety. To say that it is a humiliating exercise may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  Honestly, you would think these little packets of jam were lined with gold or something.

To make matters worse, some restaurants in my neck of the woods now are charging for any jams or jellies besides grape. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not altogether against paying for a great jam, but the really annoying kicker is you still have to beg for it. The restaurants don’t even make that transaction painless.

As an added annoyance, by the time I usually get the jam, the eggs are cold. Because I like to put my eggs on toast, it’s imperative that everything is ready to go at the same time.

Actually a great jam is more than an accompaniment to me; it often can be the star of the show.  Nothing makes a slice of toast, bagel, English muffin or croissant more enticing than a fabulous jam. My favorites are blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry, but I have been known to go a little gaga over exotic jams like apricot fig or lime and ginger marmalade.

When confronted with this jelly situation, time and again my reaction is always the same: I roll my eyes in disbelief. “Not again,” I say to myself in an exasperated tone. And so it begins anew.

Perhaps the next time I am in the mood for eggs and toast while dining in a family chain, diner or local eatery, I should think about bringing along the jam of my choosing. I suppose if I plan on ordering breakfast, I’ll have to check out the jelly situation in advance. Either that or risk the server’s ire by whipping out a jar of Smucker’s in protest.

After all, drastic times call for drastic measures.