Friday, July 25, 2008

Just like Grandma used to make. . .

Lemon curd, apricot, and cherry jam.

There is nothing to me that screams summer quite as loudly as spending an afternoon standing over a hot pot of boiling fruit and sugar. Many an hour have I stood over the stove in my grandmother's kitchen, stirring, making batch after batch of jam, until there was nary an apricot left in the tristate area. Oh how I loved and hated those days. It is the best, worst experience in a cook's yearly schedule. But, oh what a sweet reward you reap. Months later, even in the dead of winter, you can pop open a jar of these golden, amber preserves, and you can literally taste a spoon full of sunshine.

There are only a hand full of things that can bring me back to a very specific place and time and feeling. A certain cologne, a certain song on the radio, a certain sacred space. But the smell of bread baking, and the taste of melting butter and apricot jam are all I need to be transported back in time. It is the smell of my childhood.

Sadly, there will be no more carefree summer days spent making jam with either of my grandmothers. But as I knead my great-great grandmothers rolls, and stir my own batch of my grandmother's jam, I can feel myself stretch my hands back through our history. It is so tangible. I can feel them around me, these generations of women. And for the briefest moments I can feel that I am apart of them, and they of me. I can feel their strength coursing through my very veins, and I am reminded in these moments, of the fact that I appear tall today because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. And I guess that, itself, is worth braving the sweltering summer heat, and a couple of afternoons of constant stirring.

3 comments:

B Kinch said...

Thank you kindly, sir. My ma was ever so pleased with the lemon curd!

THE PHONES said...

Yummy. I love lemon curd, but can't eat store bought because of the sulfites that most add in. Haven't tried making it myself yet.

Cheyenne said...

So that's why you're tall?

Man, if that's the case, I'd better stay the hell out of the kitchen!

Great post.