Bulletin Board, excerpt


Posted to (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, March 23, 2003

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From Poet X of PDX: "Subject: Comfort Foods.

"Or: Sweet bread of youth?

"My grandma made her own jelly (and canned fruits, vegetables, chicken soup, noodles, you name it) on the farm. We were very spoiled, in that Grandma would make two varieties of the chokecherry jelly that was my own favorite: thin and regular firmness.

"The thin jelly had two purposes. The first was as a syrup over pancakes or French toast. Because I grew up with this as the pancake topping of choice, maple has never been able to pass muster as a suitable pancake-topping flavor. Even in restaurants, I'll usually open a few strawberry or grape jelly packets and have that on my pancakes. It's nothing like Grandma's jelly, but still beats that funny maple taste. (And leave that taste out of the pork sausages, please! The only reason the flavors mix in the first place would have to be accidentally, it seems to me.) The second purpose of the 'thin jelly' (we called it that, and only chokecherry was so prepared) was to have 'cream and jelly.' I salivate nostalgic.

" 'Cream and jelly' was a triple farm treat/threat: All three ingredients could be imitated away from the farm, but never duplicated: thin jelly, 'farm cream' (another unvarying phrase) and Grandma's home-baked bread. My fingers go limp on the keyboard as my nose and lizard-brain imagine the yeasty smell.

"Somewhat equal amounts of thin jelly and cream were poured into a bowl and very slightly stirred. The bread was then dipped into the mixture, one bite at a time, for a taste thrill better than Christmas Eve presents or an Easter thaw.

"(An odd comfort taste treat that doesn't involve bread, something that my mom and I were the only ones in the family to like: sauerkraut, precooked rice and sliced German sausages, combined casserole-like and baked a short while in a roasting pan in a hot oven. Mmm. It still surprises me how many people think that combination sounds inedible, when it's very logical and right to me.

"Bon appetit!"

2003 Bulletin Board Loop

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