20110224

The Jam Detail


I have a lot of thoughts currently in an inchoate state about learning, developing, appreciating, and curating new ways of life, lifestyles, modes of being, but until I get them all sorted out, here's a superficial and yet highly pleasing detail in my current lifestyle, that sort of gets at what I mean: I make jam. Mostly this is because I buy fruit, too much fruit, all the time, and it just breaks my heart when it starts browning and wilting faster than I can consume it (and I assure you, I am a champ, almost inhuman, consumer of fruit).

My grandfather is a lot like David Sedaris' father in Me Talk Pretty One Day; he'll eat everything, even, if he thought it was a cookie, his hat. I am not a Depression-era housewife; I throw things away when they transmute into other lifeforms or become more hole than garment. But there's something so lovely about a mild savior complex, the ability to fix a small hole in the shoulder of your favorite cardigan with just a thread and a needle, the ability to transform a few cups of dying fruit into a jar of jewel-bright sweetness. And it's not just the saving, the feeling of worthy thriftiness, but the process of it, and the product, the whole bundle: the pull of a needle and thread through cloth, becoming suddenly aware of the texture of fabric and the precision of your fingers; the smell of bubbling fruit completely perfuming your house, the viscosity forming as you stir; and then wearing that sweater again, with your favorite comfy jeans; or having that jam on yogurt, bread, or as a tea.

Perhaps it also helps that it's so very easy to do these things; fixing a hole takes less than ten minutes, making jam may take longer but mostly involves you being driven crazy by the bright, extraordinary scent of fruit calmly simmering away on your stovetop, and the only negative effects are possibly some burnt lips from desperate tasting attempts.

So yesterday, there was a rather sad blood orange hanging out on my desk. That, along with the synchronicity of the revelation (made by Ramya) that the lemon tree in my backyard (which I assumed for years was just a normal ol' lemon tree that just happened to produce astounding lemons) is actually a Meyer lemon tree, and this blogpost landing in my RSS feed, all resulted in me making blood orange and Meyer lemon marmalade. It was absurdly easy. It made the house smell astounding. And then I boiled water and made the marmalade into tea for my herbal-tea-only-drinking mother and she swooned--swooned!--and everyone was happy and everybody drank the rind-bitter, jam-sweet, orange-pink deliciousness.

Jam! Marmalade! Jelly! At the crossroads of thriftiness and an appreciation for process, you sit like a perfumed non-Newtonian fluid. I like you.

Oh, and don't forget apple butter.

1 comment:

  1. I somehow managed to not notice this post until this morning. I made blood orange and Meyer lemon marmelade the other day. (!)

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