Friday, June 24, 2011

Blissful Jam

This is the only time I wrote about food in my other blog.  I would like to share it with you, possibly as an introduction mark, or possibly because I haven't cooked since I started the layout for this cooking blog.  (But probably a little of both...)  Either or both ways, it will serve as a good starting point, giving you an idea who I am and where I'm coming from.  I wrote it in September, 2010, just over one month after this cooking thing started.  It was for a food-related blogfest.
My first dinner! Caribbean Chicken

I recently moved into a new place. And for some reason, got all excited about cooking.  At 33, I have never really cooked before, or had any interest. I made my first meal, a Caribbean style chicken thing I found online with spinach and fruit. It turned out pretty good, and I was greatly surprised, and encouraged to move forward.  My goal is to learn to cook food that is good, but also nutritious.

This has been an interesting journey.  I am a bit of a germaphobe (as noted in Gym Germs).  And raw meat is OHMYGAWDDISGUSTING.  But I have a box of sugical gloves.  And yes, I wear them when touching raw meat.  Because raw meat is OHMYGAWDDISGUSTING.

Notice the surgical gloves?

However, I could not decide what to make next. I was the proverbial stand-still. Then came the dilemma of my life. (Not my WHOLE LIFE, just of that moment. But sometimes, those moments feel like lifetimes!)

My grandma makes homemade jelly. It is delicious! I crave, I mean crave her blueberry-rhubarb jelly so much that just typing those words right now made my mouth water. There is nothing better in my world that this jelly with peanut butter, butter, or just bread. Even just on a spoon, really. It's that good.

Recently, my parents' stockpiles dried up. They ran out of said jelly. I was devastated.

Off to the grocery I went. (How did I know I wouldn't find it there?)  I have never bought a jar of jelly in my life, I didn't even know where the jelly was! I had to wander up and down isles. Once I found it, I stood in front of the mass jelly jar collection for at least ten minutes. (I probably looked a bit foolish.) I didn't know what to do, which one to pick, what the brand differences were. I examined prices, to see if maybe there would be an obvious difference, surely leading me to the best jelly available. No help.

I left with no jelly.

I went to the health food store, hoping for something, anything, that would resemble homemade.

No dice.

Jelly!  From MY kitchen!

On a whim, as I do many things, I decided I would make jelly. With one successful meal under my belt, why couldn't I make jelly? I bought rhubarb and blueberries at the farmer's market and got a big stew pot, sugar, sure-jell, and jelly jars.

Suddenly, I have the vision of enterprise in my head. I will sell my amazing jelly! I will market it and be as famous as Smuckers (the brand I saw the most of in the store)! I shall call it Blissful Jam and it will be an instant hit. I designed a logo and a sticker on the computer and printed them out on stickers to put on the jars of my amazing jelly.  Meanwhile, I hadn't even started making it yet...)

I made it. It was good.

Little runny, but good.

Maybe not instant-hit-good, but certainly good.

My first PBJ!
So I put the labels on. (Cuteness!) I posted pictures of my jelly on Facebook. I gave jars to my parents, sister, roommate's parents, friends, anyone who would take one. I sent two jars to my grandma and two more to a friend in Tennessee.

Jessica's son getting the mailed jelly.
The feedback I got was that my jelly is good. My grandma even used the words, "GREAT JOB!"  I am encouraged by this. I continue to cook meals. I have been collecting recipes from friends and have several adventures to take on. If you have a recipe that you particularly like, please send it over.

Also, I have made a roast, some homemade soup, a chicken rub, and a chicken-spinach thing.  Also, I am learning to make small things, like bbq chicken.  Cooking nutritionally is fun and a learning process.


  1. Your second effort was JELLY? Truly ignorance is, well, bliss. I'm going to add you to the list of people who might cook for me. That's how I'm getting through life.

  2. I love that your second attempt at cooking was jelly. Like I said when I wrote about it - I've been cooking for quite awhile now and I'm totally intimidated by canning. So, hurray Ivy! And it was delicious. By the way, you're not the only fool spending fifteen minutes in front of the jelly display at the store. I do the same thing, reading labels, ingredient lists, and maybe, just maybe, coming away with something I can eat. The farmer's market is a much better bet.


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