Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jelly Jars and the Magic of Molasses

This morning, with the strong urging of My Son, I decided to make some granola.

Now, being the most prepared person that I am, I had alot of items on hand to choose from.  I went to the newly acquired Jelly Jar Cabinet and pulled out some items for this culinary journey.

My Jelly Jar Cabinet was a great find on the local Craigs List several weekends ago.  My daughter is a finder of all things worthy at a discounted price.   This is a true bonus.  The Jelly Jar Cabinet was purchased and delivered within 24 hours.  It was theirs and then it was mine.  Now the cabinet is not a work of mass production and that is what appeals to me.  This cabinet is old and its imperfection tells the story.

I don't know the story for sure but I like to imagine a wife of long ago, busy making yet more jelly from the producing fig tree in the back of their yard.  The kitchen cupboard is nearly full with labors of her hard work.  She lovingly looks at her husband of 20 yrs and says "my darling, the cupboard is nearly full and I still have more jelly to make."  Her husband, a man who loves his wife more than life itself and only wants to see her happy, responds to her statement with "my precious buttercup, let me head off to the work shed, see what kind of scrap wood I have and I'll see what I can do."  With that he headed out the door.  For several days, his time was consumed with trips to and from the work shed.  His wife would look out the kitchen window and see her husband busy with saws and fetching the scrap lumber from the pile.  She could see him stepping out from the shed, thinking then picking up different pieces of wood.

How she loved him. From the day they met as teenagers, she had loved him.  She remembered the day he proposed to her.  On bended knee, with the best ring he could afford, he pledged his love to her and begged her to be his wife.  Sure the times had been  hard, work was scarce and the country was pulling itself out of a decade of depression. But through it all, they had managed to have a home and enough food to survive.  She had canned and helped with the garden, all in hopes of sustaining their lives and health.  She was doing what she had been taught by her mother.  She had learned how to make ends meet.  His love had made the trying years so much easier with his just being by her side.  And now here he was, out there in the shed, making life easier for her yet again.

She awoke one morning to the sound of the back door slamming shut.  She slipped on her robe and made her way to the kitchen.  She dreaded seeing all those jars of jelly stacked on the counter.  She had finished using all the figs and even depleted her supply of canning jars and lids.  She was finished for the season.  As she turned the corner and entered the kitchen, there in the corner sat the Jelly Jar Cabinet.  Her husband had not only created a functional piece of furniture, he had painted it and had already filled it with the jars that once cluttered her counter.  He stood there next to the cabinet, smiling.  She returned the smile and looked at his labor of love.  It was beautiful and more than she had ever dreamed she would have.  Such was the life he had given her.  So much more than she ever dreamed she would have.  The cabinet stayed with them for as long as they lived.

The Jelly Jar Cabinet

The old latches

I love the hook latch!

Filling the Cabinet

Now that's probably not at all what happened or how this cabinet came to be, but its the story that I like to think about when I look at it and the food it displays.

Back to the granola.  I selected things from the cabinet, rolled oats, left over Kashi cereal, raw honey, reconstituted  Goji berries, some tropical trail mix fruit, dried cranberries and then I spied the jar of molasses.

I opened the molasses and smelled it.  It was thick and dark and rich.  I remembered that smell.  I poured the molasses into the mix and then wiped the edge of the jar with my finger.  That taste.  I remembered that taste.  I remembered long ago when I was a child, eating breakfast at home.  My dad would make biscuits.  We didn't have alot of money and molasses was cheap.  I can remember him opening up the biscuit, putting some butter on each side and then drizzling the molasses over it.  I could taste it in my mind.  What a wonderful moment that was.  A moment that transported me back to days and people long past.  What a great memory for me on this day.  And it all came from a jar of molasses found in the very back of the pantry. 

We are still waiting for the granola to finish cooking.  I'm sure it will taste just fine, but it wont compare to what I've already tasted this morning.

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