Jamming in the Kitchen

Today I'm making strawberry jam. The kitchen is too warm, I have a reverse French manicure (red tips, anyone?), but the house smells wonderful.

Why do I do this each year? Strawberry in the spring, blackberry and plum in the summer. I figure it saves me a whopping hundred dollars a year. Woo hoo.

To me, the main appeal is a sense of connection with my foremothers. Thanks to modern technology I've never had to slaughter a chicken or weave my own cloth or draw water from a well. But making my own jam reminds me of a time I never knew, when life was simpler but a whole lot tougher.

Making jam also connects me to the characters in my novels, who canned out of necessity and patriotic duty during World War II. Putting up fruits and vegetables allowed women to save precious ration stamps for other canned goods and freed supplies of tin and food for military use.

Today we live in uncertain times. We've become so comfortable and pampered, we consider it a true sacrifice to give up our weekly pedicure or cut our daily latte from a venti to a grande. Perhaps it's good once in a while to get our hands dirty - to plant our own veggies, sew our own curtains, or even (gasp!) brew our own coffee - to connect with the past, save a little money, and foster gratitude for modern conveniences. Who knows? Maybe reverse French manicures will become stylish.

Leave a comment, and your name will be entered in a drawing at the end of the week for a pint of freshly made strawberry jam.

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