|Apple sauce, strawberry-balsamic jam, blueberry-basil jam, mixed fruit butter, peach syrup, fig preserves|
My apologies for my silence. I've missed the discipline of blogging, and of your comments and emails, but finding the quiet space in my head for writing has been difficult. When I do sit down to write, I get flooded with emotions and memories related to my mom's recent passing. So instead of writing, I've been keeping busy putting up as much as I am able of our garden's and our CSA's harvest.
These photos are of our basement pantry. I apology for the poor quality--they were taken with my iPod.
There is something incredibly satisfying and nurturing about putting fresh food away for winter. I feel like a squirrel, but instead of nuts, I'm saving tomatoes, peaches, and jams. In the past week alone, I've canned tomato sauce, caponata, rhubarb-plum chutney, and mixed fruit butter. The last of the peaches tempted me in today's farmers market. The fruit vendor sold me a box of seconds for $10.
It makes my frugal New Englander heart happy.
Canning wasn't one of those things I learned from my mother, but I do think of her with a smile as I'm making an utter mess of my kitchen. It amused her and perplexed her that I can, cook from scratch, and bake. My mother loved elegant restaurants. I am happiest when most of our home-cooked meals come from a radius of under 100 miles from my house. (Some from our own backyard.)
I live in a house where every room is enjoyed. My mom was always after me to get rid of clutter. In our home growing up, the living room was meant for show, as was our dining room. My preference is to tolerate a slightly more chaotic space.
She may not have understood my passion for local, in season food, or my love of dogs (we didn't have pets growing up), or my need for cozy, casual living spaces, or even my enthusiasm for winter and snow, but she loved that all those things made me happy.
So, since I returned home after the funeral, I've been thinking of her in doing the things that bring me joy.
I think she would have liked that.