Sunday, July 24, 2011

Smelling the Past

I woke up this morning feeling grateful and content.  It was so refreshing.
It was 7:30 in the morning.  Ahh…what to do with this day ahead…

Jelly.  Yes.  Jelly.
Pile of pears!
I packed up my belongings (including my newly organized recipe binder!), fed the cat, and headed home from where I have been housesitting this weekend.  What kind of jelly?  I have all the titles of jelly recipes in my head from just organizing my binder.  So many to think of, so many to choose from...
All the ingredients ready to start the boil
Blueberry.  Obviously.  I still have tons of blueberries from an amazing sale at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago.  So, blueberry-rhubarb.  That’s the standard, the reason I learned to make jelly in the first place.  But what else?  I got a bunch of pears from the farmer’s market yesterday, so how about ginger-pear?  Why yes.  I would need to make a quick stop at Whole Foods, then onward to the kitchen!
Jelly is a process.  That’s one of the things I like about it.  It is a complete and total process.  Everything is careful, everything is in intentional.  The timing, the temperature, the type of boil has to be precise.  The way the ingredients go in.  The measurement of putting it in the jars a quarter inch from the top.  The inversion time.  I love it all.
Jars ready for jelly!

Making jelly also makes me think of my grandma.  She made jelly in every flavor and type.  I do not think I had jelly out of a jar until I was an adult.  And even then, it was very rare, usually at someone’s house.  I grew up on one corner of the block, with my grandma on the other corner.  Her house was on my way to school, and almost every morning, I would stop for breakfast, or a card game, coupled with a hug.
Once I started cooking, my grandma sent me a bunch of recipes, including several for jelly.  She lives 1000 miles away, and I don’t get to see her as much as I would like.  She feels closer when I can make something she has made.  We have yet to cook together, as I have not seen her in the year I have been doing this.  I do imagine her voice, though.  I imagine her telling me that I’m doing something right, that there is a better way to do this, and she will be happy to show me. 
A day that started good and has continued good.  The feelings that come from the kitchen are true and real.  The smells are surely a good memory, if not of the past, then on a day to come. 
All done! Grandma would be proud.


  1. good work! I was not kidding when I said we are finding every way possible to eat the jelly you gave us. you have a gift, I believe.

  2. Thank you, Jessica! I meant it when I said to pick a flavor...I'll make anything you want! :)

  3. You found my weakness. I LOVE blueberry! Umm, do you sell them by any chance??

  4. I don't sell it...that would be a TON of work! :)
    Whole Foods had an amazing sale a couple weeks ago on blueberries...12 pints for $20! I love them, too, and could not help myself. I have about six pints left in the I'm afraid I'll be posting more blueberry foods for your drooling pleasure!
    One thing I did try (since I have sooo many!) that I would recommend to any fellow blueberry-lover - I grilled some chicken and put balsamic vinegar and blueberries in the pan with it. YUMMS!


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