I’m not trying to be sack-religious here with the title of this post. But thinking back to when there was a simpler time in your life. Allow the mind to wonder some. Okay not everyone has one of those times in their back pocket, or their back corner of their brains worth of memories. Of course, all matters is where you keep your memories I suppose? You can barrow mine then, by coming along for the ride. In the time that it will take you to read this post you may just remember a time….. Or perhaps…. multiple times in your life as well!
My mom used to talk about my grandmother as if she was right there in the room. She would recall an event and then act the time out right in front of me, as if her live show were a movie. But then my mom was smart. She probably did that to keep my attention, over that of just making an excuse to watch TV. Either way, the stories my mom’s would be acting, put a smile on my face and a fantasy within my mind of my grandmother, who had only traveled to the states once in my life when I was 4-years-old or so. Do to her untimely passing away I never had the honor of firsthand experiences with hearing these stories straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
This time Mom was explaining to me how to make homemade jam just a grandma did. I however was distracted with the thought of jam. Who doesn’t like a good piece of bread toasted, smeared with some melted butter and then a slathering of fresh strawberry jam. The thought makes my mouth water as I’m writing it down. Hay it is your memory mixed with mine at this point, so make it whatever kind of jam your taste buds are craving. For me strawberry tastes like the fresh berries, even in winter, just as fresh then as it does when Mom and I were picking them at the Barry farmers field. Picking berries was more like eating them till I couldn’t eat another one before I stated to pick them to place in my bucket. (Just a thought as an adult right here….. do you…… well… think that was stealing berries? Just a thought so I had to ask.)
Mom was doing the job of making jam as she was explaining the process to me. I was helping her when I could, but for the most part I was glued to watching the show. Perhaps it was because I wanted some jam, or I knew that after mom was done I could then scrape out the pots and eat warm jam. Getting the true sugar high, all with an okay from mom instead the look of those almost famous semi-scolding words, “Not before dinner!”
With an cacophony of exploding sounds, I was snapped out of my day-dream of eating warm jam. To see my mom pouring fresh strawberry’s into the blender, which pitched different sounds of various degrees of noise. What ever my Mom was saying before hand was just background noise, now disturbed. Mom glanced back to me, seeing me now holding my hands over my ears, an effort to silence the strange noises. With a smile, she again poured more berries into the blender.
Once the blending was done. She once again started her acting and explaining. “Now you take the blended strawberries, measure the amount you need and poured into the pot on the stove. Then you take the sugar that you pre-measured, and poured that into the pot.” Again glancing back to me, checking to see if I was still there. Knowing a habit of mine was if I was bored ,to then just leave finding something more interesting for myself. But that idea of warm jam kept me glued in spot. I thought you never know….
“Would you like to stir the berries till it is ready to jar it up?” Mom asked with a warm smile, all the while thinking some moves ahead in the process. Entertaining me, as well getting some help making her job easier. Who knows, she might of thought that she was teaching me something of value in how to save some money in the future. But what she was teaching me was more like a priceless gift, I just hadn’t come to realize it yet.
“Sure!” I exclaimed, as I sprung to my feet and half-ways ran the short distance to my mom and stove. With the aid of a step stool, my height matched the height needed to stir the sugary berries.
Mom showed me just how and how fast to stir them. “No splashing, please. Just like this…” She said with a calm voice, while demonstrating the stirring motions by guiding my hand with hers. When she had the reassurance of confidence in my ability’s to follow instructions she prepared the jars, and lids, for the next step.
Once the mixture of sugar and smashed up berries came up in temp just to the point of being warm, mom took the sure-jell out of the box, and poured it into the pot of berries. allowing me to also mix it in with more stirring. Soon the mixture was boiling and the temp could be turned down a bit, so not to burn the jam. Mom lined up the jars, and lids, in an assembly line. At the proper moment, determined only by her wisdom and view of how thick the mixture was, she instructed me to move away from the stove. “Just give some room to work the hot berries into the jars please.”
My eyes widened as she poured the jam into each jar. I knew that with each jar filled I was one closer to licking the spoon and getting to the left overs in the bottom of the pot. Of course, there was never the amount of left overs in the pot that my mind thought I should be able to eat. But something was better than nothing.
Once the pot was cool enough mom handed over to me the spoon and the okay. I of course dove into the opportunity like a trained dog. Only waiting long enough to hear the commands, then diving into it without being able to be distracted by anything, or any one.
As I twisted the last of the lids onto my jars of jam, and placed them into the pressure cooker to seal them, my memories of cooking jam with mom gave me an ear to ear smile. Mom never gave me any recipe for her jams. But would often encourage me to experiment with new ideas. Over the years I tried to live up to those instructions. Making apricot walnut jam, tangerine, strawberry basil, onion garlic, just to name a few of the exotic ones.
The best is…. when you take a piece of bread out, smear some peanut butter on it, then get another one and repeat, then get some jam of your choice out, spreading it thick on one side. Thick of course, it is a must! Then marry the two pieces into one sandwich. Lick your chops once, then taking a big bite. I mean big bite! So that you get that jam and peanut butter stuck to the side of your face. AW, how can that not be the food of the God’s?
It is easy to make, even a child can make it for themselves. It gives the sense of independence, self-created enjoyment, teaches the importance to work today for tomorrows subsistence, as well gives you some of the best memories for the rest of your life. All of that with just one big bite. No surprise then that the peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwich is the number one sandwich made in the country. I’ll bet some 50% or greater of those sandwiches are made by kids. It is just a shame, that so few kids now days are not being taught the lost art of “Jam making”.
What I used to look at being a kid, as just stupid work to be done. I now look at it as work of enjoyment, which I rather do. Isn’t that the job of good parenting, teach the next generation how to take care of themselves? All the while promoting an attitude of positive human potential, finding and expanding individual talents, most of all promoting mind healing positive memories. All this wrapped up in each peanut butter and jelly or jam sandwich, enjoyed at any age. So how could it not be the food of the God’s?