Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Look! I AM Ma Ingalls! ... Oops, No, Sorry, False Alarm

So yesterday I made 8 quarts of strawberry jam, with 10 more to do today (I forgot -- seriously forgot -- to make it last summer and the family reaction this last winter was memorably horrified). I just use the regular-old freezer jam recipe on the pectin box. It's so good ... I can still remember H.M.S. Richards, Jr., sitting at our dining room table when I was about 11, talking to my dad after Sabbath dinner was over, and eating my mom's strawberry jam out of the crystal bowl with his spoon! As a total aside, I consider it one of the luckiest things in my life that I got to sit at Sabbath dinner listening to people like Alden Thompson, Clifford Goldstein, Leonard Bailey, and the aforementioned Elder Richards debate theological and philosophical things with my dad. If there's a better education for a broadened religious mind, I'm not sure what it is (short of somehow getting C.S. Lewis et al in there, too).

ANYWAY, my point (and I do have one) is that I gotta tell you I felt quite smug about my homemaking talents, and I do really feel so satisfied when I make good stuff myself. Here is my lovely assistant, the talented and 6-year-old-with-a-wiggly-tooth Mara, looking absorbed and serious as she fills a freezer carton:

And, after that moment of smugness, let us now observe what the rest of my country home kitchen looks like -- surely, it must be sparkling clean and homey!
Sigh. Now, if I were Scott's grandmother (my personal standard for homemaking excellence -- that woman was a MARVEL, and lovely to boot), or even my own mother (pretty darn excellent herself!), I would not have left that kitchen until it was cleaned up and counters cleared. Wanna know what I did? I laid on the couch and watched: #1) Euro Soccer Cup -- Poland vs. Russia (Up Germany! -- sorry, getting carried away); and #2) NBA Finals Game #1 -- OKC vs. Heat (in any rational society, the Heat -- with the possible exception of Shane Battier, who I love -- would drop off into the deep blue sea). In between game moments, Scott and I made snarky comments about silly commercials.

I get SO close ... and then just fall off the bandwagon. On the other hand, I rather enjoyed my evening. Like I told Scott, if it had been up to me to settle the West and tame the wilderness, we'd all still be packed into the East Coast. I must go now {ahem} the Kitchen Fairy appears to have missed this house.

love, kristin

p.s., Benita, it's more fun to make the jam with you! I thought of you!


  1. Ah yes, freezer jam! Mom made that - probably the same recipe - for many years. I don't do the canning. However, my freezer at the moment contains batches of traditional scones, Oat Maple scones, Double Coconut muffins, Buttermilk biscuits, Irish Soda muffins and Strawberries and Cream biscuits!

    So, I feel rather smug myself ;-]! Actually, it seems we should get together, your jam and my biscuits and/or scones!!

    As for how your kitchen looks - I refuse to believe the pioneer families had spotless kitchens often, if at all. After all, if nothing else, the floor was usually packed dirt! So relax - killing yourself is not the best plan!

  2. Whoa. You have one of those net baskety-hangy things from the 70s. I'm so in awe.

  3. Yes, RMW, why are we not in the same place putting our scones and jam together! I have the nicest memories of sitting in your cool, breezy dining room on a summer morning, eating scones and drinking tea. And laughing ourselves utterly sick over that story of Sarah's about the robbery at the Farmington town bank. Do you remember that? We were absolutely weeping with laughter.

    And, per the packed dirt floors, I also often try to remind myself that it took ONE DAY for Ma and Laura to completely clean the ENTIRE house, including washing both sets of curtains, and pulling all the furniture out on the lawn. There's something to be said for that little furniture!

  4. Yes, I do remember that morning and the discovery of a new side to Sarah's personality!! Such fun!!

  5. I hear ya! Was thinking of making raspberry jam (even purchased said raspberries). And it made me think of our jam making forays. Ahhh, the raspberry jam that was, but really shouldn't have been. I'm with ya on the freezer side of jam making. Easier and tasty!

  6. I'm currently *trying* to make gooseberry jam. By "trying," I mean that Emily kindly picked the berries off our bush, and I'm "trying" to get up the energy and time to make it!