This weekend we made jam. Strawberries, mixed with sugar and lemon and stirred into a bubbly froth of jam. Strawberries, lifted from their paintbox of color in the windows of our greengrocer, a red so red the purple pink radish in the next box vibrated ever so slightly out of key.
I started the jam first thing Saturday morning, before coffee and after tea, after peanut butter toast but before Caroline woke up. I can’t make pancakes in the morning without burning them, but pouring a kilo of sugar into a pan, squeezing 2 lemons and mashing a pound of berries I can do. While I stirred (over low heat until all the sugar is absorbed, and then over high), Will washed our empty jam jars from last summer’s grocery spree in France and made more toast to test out the first sampling.
"Jam is ready when a spoonful of liquid gels when dropped onto a cool plate," the recipe said.
The next drop met bread. The first jar disappeared in two days.
Our babysitters don’t quite trust my cooking, and this morning Teta waved off an offer of a taste with a reminder that she was on a diet. "13 days and 5 kilos so far!" she said. She’s eating rohlik and grilled chicken, and as much iceberg lettuce as she wants. On occasion she'll drink coffee too.
But she made Caroline toast for breakfast and conceded to use the jam. It wasn’t peanut butter, after all, and we didn’t have anything else in the pantry. (Our sitters feel that peanut butter should only be consumed by Americans over the age of consent). Caroline ate all her toast and asked for more, and then Teta asked me, was it was possible I had made this jam, it had such a nice smell and what was the recipe? Teta, here’s the recipe for you - it goes well with rohliky too.