Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sublimated Anxiety

Dr. S, looking into the Jam Cupboard:  "Oh.  My.  God.  I had no idea."
Me: "I told you I was taking out my anxiety on canning things."

Figure 1: The things I have canned so far this year.  Not pictured: About two gallons of stuff I gave away.  Also not pictured: the 19 quarts of green beans in my freezer.
L to R: Tatoe's feet, raspberry jam, white peach jam, canned white peaches, canned yellow peaches, pickles, tomato sauce, grape jam.  Things I paid for: yellow peaches, sugar, pectin.  
(I know it doesn't look like that much, but we've only been here eight seven weeks.)

Figure 2: The pickles currently fermenting.  Yes, that is a picnic cooler
Figure 3: 3.5 or 4 bushels of apples.  
Dr. S: "What other seasons are left around here?  Apple, pear..."
Dr. S: ".... you're pretty anxious."
Me: "Plus.  Free. I may have gone a little overboard with the apples though."
Dr. S: "There's no a little overboard.  Once you're gone, you're gone."


  1. Dr. S has a point: I may add "overboard" to my teaching list of absolute adjectives. (I used to include "pregnant," which makes the students laugh, but, enh, it got less funny.)

    I cook big tagines and such when anxious. You can imagine how fun I was to live with when we first moved to NYC and it took three months, five days, and two trips to court to get the landlords to turn the cooking gas on. Tell Dr. S it could be worse.

    1. Yeah... I mean, pregnant is still binary, but 'pregnant with a healthy baby at the end' is a lot less black and white.

      Landlords! Cooking gas! ACK!!!

  2. Anonymous10:03 AM

    I'm an anxious cleaner. My stove is sparkling this week. In fact, I'm not sure there's going to be much stove left by the time I get to the end of the fall semester. Canning though, that is genius. Far better than endless scrubbing and infinitely more tasty.

    1. Even without a pressure cooker, there's a lot of stuff one can put up. Plus, washing up the jam-covered kitchen afterwards is the only cleaning I actually enjoy. It has such a pleasant sense of accomplishment.

    2. P.S. That made 7 whole gallons of applesauce. Plus I did two gallons of pickles last night. I'm kind of tired now, and wondering if I'm losing my tiny mind.

  3. Actually this looks like a delicious form of therapy!
    Would you mind doing some sort of tutorial on canning? Because I love homemade applesauce, but then I always have to make it fresh because I know nothing about canning...

    1. It is pretty tasty. And mostly harmless (unless you're my spouse being roped into peeling apples at 9 PM).

      As for a tutorial, sure! In the meantime you can always check out - a reputable, if endlessly-detailed, source on canning and preserving ALL THE THINGS.

  4. Anonymous6:52 PM

    Oh yummy! Though I'm sorry about the stress it represents. I was certainly looking INSIDE the jars for Tatoe's feet, thinking perhaps he'd gone a bit too far. Basically, I think it's incredibly cool that you do this! I don't even have a jam cupboard, let alone stock to fill it...

    1. We have this one lame-ass cupboard in the apartment, with an eight-inch opening, and then it's 3x4 feet inside. What can you store there? Jam. (And other canned goods.) Clearly, I must fill the entire thing! There's another one that's more like 1x3, which is also full of jam. It has a shelf! I couldn't put anything else in it!

      Also, I would like to remind you that this is what I do instead of having a PAYING JOB.

      As for Tatoe's feet, they are still attached to his mischievous little self. He's found the jam cupboard and keeps bringing me jars and saying "Mama! I watt djam bwead!"

  5. So, you realize I don't have nearly excuse for canning that you do. I just make jam because I like it. Stress on the "I" since my children only eat strawberry jam, and Patrick eats strawberry and grape. I planning to accept more pears, though I still have canned pears and pear butter in the basement! I chatted with a fellow orchardist at the F. Center, and we are planning a September canning party and I hope to beat the 16 gallons of applesauce from last year. I may also glean apples from that park! Tomorrow, I'm going to try to convince my in-laws to go to a nearby u-pick place to get enough raspberries to make into jam. (Small children eat mine as fast as they ripen. Which is good, I guess.) I still need to find blackberries one of these days, too. Oh, and I forgot about the grapes at the F. Center, I need to jam those too. Thank heavens school starts next week.

    You can tell Kyle that you're the sane one. Relatively.

    So far, my refrigerator pickles taste terrible. I haven't checked on the fermenting ones, but tomorrow will be 3 days. I'm sure those will turn out well. It is Alton Brown's recipe, after all.

    1. Mine always turn out great (because it's Alton Brown's recipe). But don't eat them before 7 days! They won't be sour enough!!!!!

  6. I have finally made it back to say that this reminds me so much of the picture book "Jam" by Margaret Mahy. It's 1980's vintage book so I have no idea if it's actually available in the US, but the basic story (as cut and paste from an Amazon review) is..

    Mrs. Castle is going to work as an atomic scientist, so Mr. Castle will stay home with the three little Castles. He is an exemplary househusband, cleaning, cooking, gardening and meeting the family at the door with a kiss at the end of the day. One day, this paragon runs out of work; while pondering what to do next, he notices ripe plums falling from the tree behind the house and decides to make jam. As the plums keep falling, he fills vases, glasses and even the teapot. Soon jam becomes a staple in the Castle diet; the surplus is used to stop roof leaks and glue down loose bathroom tiles. The family is growing noticeably rounder and is beginning to have nightmares about jam. At last it is gone. As the family celebrates with a game of cricket, they hear a soft thud on the roofthe plums are ripe again. Charming, soft-colored illustrations filled with round-eyed people help to tell the tale. The nightmare images are particularly effective, humorous and horrid at the same time without being scary. The role reversal of the parents is nicely handled, although Mr. Castle is almost too good to be true. Sure to bring giggles from story hour audiences.


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