I love good jam. A good jam makes you tingle with joy. Like a psychotropic drug, it instantly transports you to a country kitchen with wild flowers on the window sill and mason jars of colourful confections filled with memories of summer past.


Growing up, I used to crave my neighbour Mrs MacNeil’s peach jam. In peach season, she’d always send over a special delivery just for me. Then there was my mother’s strawberry freezer jam phase, and I fondly recall the summer where we had yummy homemade jam almost every day of the week.


But here’s the problem with jam. Once you have the good stuff you can never go back to sugary grocery store brands. I’m so fussy I’ve even gone so far as to bring my own jam to restaurants (those little plastic “jammers” at my local greasy spoon just don’t cut it.) At first my breakfast companions wanted to hide under the table when I pulled the jar out of my purse, but soon they were smearing it on their toast.  Too bad good jam isn’t free. A small jar at my local epicerie is seven bucks, minimum.


Maybe that’s why, a few weeks ago, when the French Cock wanted to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich (a North American tradition he’s become inexplicably hooked on) I freaked out.  Jam with peanut butter?! This was blasphemy! How could he desecrate the delicate fruity flavours with that goopy brown paste?!  ( No offence against peanut butter, but I just don’t believe it should go with jam. With croissants, yes. Toast and butter, you bet.  Scones, a must. ) Even worse, at the rate the FC gobbles up these sandwiches I knew my expensive jam would be gone in a few days. As I wrestled the jar out of his hands and placed it back in the fridge, the FC looked confused and disappointed.  “So, no jam wiz my peanut buttare?”  His sad puppy dog eyes nearly broke me, yet still, “No,” I said firmly. But I felt awful. Normally I share everything with the FC, but not this, no, this was my jam. What could I do?


Determined to “preserve” our happy new cohabitation,  the next time I went to the grocery store I bought the FC a big jar of cheap non-name jam. This, I declared, was “his”  jam to use however he deemed fit; with peanut butter, pickles or even poutine!  The FC consented, but I could tell he thought I was totally bonkers.


And maybe I am. But if our “his” and “her” jams can save the relationship, that doesn’t seem so crazy to me.





Simple Strawberry Jam



Appreciating good jam is easy. Making jam is scary. Who wants to sterilize jars and lids? Sounds like a surgical operation. So when I read this simple jam recipe in Self Magazine (offered by the cute and an incomparably hip Zooey Deschanel) then saw it again later at Pink of Perfection, I knew it was a time to make my own. The resulting jam was perfect– tart and sweet with a cheerful bright red colour (if happiness had a hue, this would be it.)  Show your man what an old-fashioned country girl you are and whip him up a batch today. (Just don’t let him have it with peanut butter.)





2 pints strawberries (one big basket)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice






Mash strawberries coarsely in a food processor or with a masher. Pour into a sauce pan adding sugar and lemon and heat on medium-high for 8 minutes, until jam thickens and boils. Scoop jam into jar and let cool to room temperature. Lasts in fridge for seven days. Serve on toast or swirled into vanilla yogurt. Makes 1-2 small jars.

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