To be simplistic: a loaf of bread is not meant to be alone. Sitting on the table without butter or oil, a slathering of jam or a drizzle of honey, lonely bread is a sad, even pitiful sight.
This particular loaf needed the simple words "it will get better, I promise" to keep her from hurling down into a whirlwind of yeasty despair. A package was coming, and although the bread thought she would live her short days dry and alone, she, like so many of us, was wrong.
Two jars of strawberry rum jam were pulled from a cardboard box, tightly wrapped in plastic packing tape and stamped with the official script of the United States Postal Office. Could this jam possibly be meant for her? Sent across the country in a package as nondescript as any other?
The bread quivered as the first jar was opened, as the steady knife sliced off the first piece of her body. She melted as she heard the faint pop of the sealing lid and the knife slide across the smooth surface of the jam. Their first contact was a melding unlike any other...the warmth and the heartiness of the loaf mingled delicately with the sweetly spiked strawberry jam. Nothing could be more perfect, the loaf thought ,and the jam acknowledged. They sat there together, awaiting that first bite of pleasure, bread and jam.
We are opening a shop together one day.
In our bookstore/coffee house, we will serve freshly baked bread, muffins, cookies and pies. Our jam varieties will be endless and a pot of tea or coffee will always be brewing. We will create a space in which people can come to think, to write, to engage, to grow, to nourish each other. We need more places like this in the world.
Below is a loose adaptation of one of Abby's jam recipes. Loose because jam requires the willingness to dip your spoon into your pot of bubbling fruit to test for sweetness, for that perfect consistency.
Today also marks the beginning of Project Food Buzz. While you don't need a food blog to vote, you do need a Food Buzz account. Food Buzz is very similar to facebook and is a wonderful place to find new recipes, meet new foodies and learn more about the culinary world. Here is the link to my profile...just find my entry to challenge #1 on the left side of my page and vote!
6 cups hulled strawberries
Juice from 1 lemon
3 cups sugar
1 TBSP fruit pectin
4 TBSP white rum
1. Combine the strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and pectin in a large pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute before stirring in the white rum. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the jam easily coats the back of a wooden spoon and the mixture reaches 220 degrees F.
2. Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't bother with processing, and just refrigerate.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores