I was feeling a lot like Toad yesterday, Frog’s rather glum and pessimistic friend. An iced coffee at about 4:00 finally shook it out of me, but I promised to have a brighter outlook today. So I started things off with a brisk walk and came home to stare down the three baskets of raspberries in the fridge.
The local A&P has raspberries on sale this week, three baskets for five dollars. It is actually a sweet deal when one considers that a half-gallon of organic milk is almost that. The thing with raspberries though, is you have to use ‘em or lose ‘em. So the pressure was on: what was I going to do with those berries?
I thought of a raspberry mousse, that is until I looked up the recipe and saw how many cups of heavy cream go into it, and it seems a shame to eat all those calories without the chocolate. I riffled through as many cookbooks as I could and came across this from my guru, Laurie Colwin: “God created raspberries in large part so that we would preserve them in glowing jars to stack smugly in our cupboard. Lord knows I love jam making—the ravishing color of the berries as they first combine with the sugar, the moment when the thickness is right, the satisfaction of ladling the wanton jam into the tidy jar.” See! Toad would not make jam; it is such a Frog activity.
I found some old jars and fresh lids and put them on to cook. Measured out equal parts berries to sugar and let my mind drift to other literary inspirations for the process. Suddenly I was Sal’s mom, in their kitchen, making blueberry jam. Yes, I am hopeless.
Feeling even more empowered I sliced up 9 lemons, sprinkled them with sugar, and began to mash them with a potato masher so we can have lemonade later too.
It’s 11:00 am. Maybe it’s time for a nap.
Frog and Toad illustration by Arnold Lobel
Sal and her Mom, inside cover from Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey