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Bon Journal

Pick your own berries

My neighbour invited me to pick raspberries, loganberries, and red currants from her flourishing garden. The sun was still hot at 8 pm, and we picked and talked until my bowl was full.

The summer I spent at Cornell University was the first time that I had ever picked berries. I had picked enough strawberries to make eight big jars of jam.

Tonight I tried to recall the recipe for making jam. Thanks for the Internet, I just searched on google for "raspberry jam" and out came several recipes. The volume of berry equals the volume of sugar. Yet none of the recipes specified the type of sugar. I quickly ran out of white sugar and had to move on to light brown and finally dark brown sugar.

I vaguely remembered how to sterilise the glass jars. I boiled them in a big pan of cold water. Then I took them out with the opening facing down.

In between simmering slowly over low heat and running back to my computer to get the rest of the two sentence recipe, I tried to multi-task by calling my Colombian sculptress friend to arrange to see her. As the skies darkened, I rushed out to release the clothes I had hung out to dry.

When the hot mixture failed to thicken even after the sugar had all dissolved, I panicked. It tastes like jam. I just hope it feels like jam when it cools down.

1 July 2001

This time last year I was spending the entire day indoors composing the piano solo piece Winter in July. It was too cold for comfort. Then I went away almost the entire month of July, to New York, DC, Houston.
English summers are too good to be missed.