17 June 2009

honey and jam

honeyjam01a handwritten expiration date. when was the last time you saw that!?

let me tell you how strange i am.

At my new apartment, with my new roommate M, I brought out a box. A box full of precious jams and honeys from France and Germany. My roommate’s response: “Cathy, most people bring back, at most, 2 jars of jams, and say, Yay! Jam from France! Done! Not 8 jars of jam and 5 jars of honey.”

And another friend, P, when I showed her the the tube of crème marron (chestnut cream) for the Mont Blancs I plan to make eventually – she thought I had ordered it online, or bought it in a gourmet store in Texas. When she realized that, no, I had actually bought it in a grocery store in Europe, packed it into my suitcase, lugged it across different countries, and cleared customs with it, she just said very slowly, “We have very different ideas on what souvenirs are… I bought stuff like T-shirts when I went to Europe…”

But come on. Banana Litchi Guava jam? Avocado Honey? Strawberries & Wild Strawberries jam? Mango and Passion fruit jam? How can you expect me to not buy them!?

But here is the key: when I bought them, I had no idea when I would be returning to Europe. In fact, I didn’t even know about the assistantship program. So I wanted to be able to savor everything about Europe for a long, long time once I got back to the states. My plan was quite selfish: they were going to be hidden & locked up, and brought out on special occasions when I had super delicious bread, and I was going to ration it out to 1 jar every 2 months so it would last me until 2012, when they expired.


And it was more than the fact that they tasted good. It was the fact that every time I had a bit spread out on a slice of toasted bread, I was flooded with memories. Memories of all the people I met, the things I did, the sights I saw – and once these jars were empty, I was afraid those memories would fade away. So I wanted to stretch them until the next time I found myself back in Europe.

Then I was accepted into the program in April. Which meant that I was going back to Europe. Which meant that these do not need to be saved and hoarded because I was going to have unlimited access to them once I’m back! (In the past 9 months, I only finished one jar of them. It was that precious to me.) In fact, it’s the opposite now – these need to get eaten ASAP because after August, I’ll be back in Europe and there won’t be anybody to eat them for 9 months! And I know I won’t want them next summer because I’ll have discovered new jams and honeys to eat… So now there is a little less than 3 months to empty these jars of deliciousness– which is impossible to do by myself.

So I get to do my next favorite thing – share. With people I like. First, the honey – I brought it to my German class along with a loaf of Challah bread. It was such a nice feeling being able to share something that was so precious to me with so many different people. And we all learned a bit of German by reading the labels. By sharing my honeys and jams, not only am I sharing food, I’m also sharing all the happy things I experienced last year. So there is much more than just fruit and sugar in these jars.


Don’t worry. None of these are going to to go to waste. I’ve got plenty of friends who are going to have delicious breakfasts/snacks this summer!


No comments: