In Little Women, what is the meaning of the lines "We're both as hungry as hunters, so we shan't mind what it is. Give us the cold meat, and bread and cheese. We won't ask for jelly"?

In Little Women, these lines mean that John and his friend Mr. Scott are so hungry that they don't need Meg to fix anything elaborate for supper. When John says that they won't ask for jelly, Meg thinks that he's making fun of her for her disastrous attempts at making jelly earlier.

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Having recently married John Brooke, Meg is absolutely determined to be a model housekeeper. Despite Meg's determination to be a good housewife, she's having problems in the kitchen. Meg insists on serving up dainty dishes for her husband. But this only gives John indigestion; he much prefers plain food.

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Having recently married John Brooke, Meg is absolutely determined to be a model housekeeper. Despite Meg's determination to be a good housewife, she's having problems in the kitchen. Meg insists on serving up dainty dishes for her husband. But this only gives John indigestion; he much prefers plain food.

Meg's culinary skills are put to the test when she tries to make some currant jelly. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a complete disaster. For some reason or another, the jelly just won't jell, leaving poor Meg at her wit's end.

John is very sympathetic to Meg's predicament. Her jelly disaster is really no big deal to him; in fact, he advises her to throw the jelly out of the window and forget all about it. In any case, both he and Mr. Scott, the friend he's brought home for dinner, are so hungry that they don't need anything fancy or elaborate. Some cold meat and some bread and cheese will be just fine.

If John had left it at that, all would've been well. But he cheekily says, “We won't ask for jelly.” Now John almost certainly doesn't mean anything by this comment; at the worst, he's gently teasing his wife over her jelly disaster. But the highly sensitive Meg takes offense at his remarks and thinks that her husband is making fun of her culinary skills.

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