Tonight, the Writing Cafe is Serving

Jam, of course.

–The Queen and Alice, on hiring Alice as a maid–

`I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!’ the Queen said. `Twopence a week, and jam every other day.’
Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, `I don’t want you to hire ME–and I don’t care for jam.’
`It’s very good jam,’ said the Queen.
`Well, I don’t want any TODAY, at any rate.’
`You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,’ the Queen said. `The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday–but never jam today.’
`It MUST come sometimes to “jam today,”‘ Alice objected.
`No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. `It’s jam every OTHER day: today isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’
`I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. `It’s dreadfully confusing!’

-Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass (with thanks to

The Raspberry Jam is done. It is beautiful. Pictures tomorrow. Alice tonight.


10 thoughts on “Tonight, the Writing Cafe is Serving

  1. Ooh, raspberry jam! We’ll have a raspberry bush in the garden as well, but not until the autumn. And I hear they don’t bear (much) fruit the first year…

  2. Lucky you! It is beautiful jam and I’m only sorry there’s no way to have a virtual taste of it (or to smell the lovely smell in our kitchen this afternoon.) We don’t have anything edible in our garden. Well, we have a single strawberry plant on our sill, but we’ve already harvested the single berry it yielded. Someday, we’ll put our yard to WORK. xxoo, BL

  3. The raspberries here in Michigan are beginning to bare fruit, so your advice on “jamming” couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Thanks again. I can’t wait to see the photos!

  4. Hello Culinae — I’m so glad to see you up and running after your time away. Your food photos are yummy. I’m going to be posting some jam photos in a few hours. And then, it’s on to apricot. Cheers, BL

  5. I’m relieved to hear someone else’s strawberries were rather light in harvest. We had four plants and about four strawberries! My mother and my mother-in-law both make jam, but I come over all scaredy at the sight of that boiling, bubbling sugar.

  6. Yes, a single jewel-like strawberry was pretty much it for us. Like you, Litlove, I am not a fan of boiling pots of hot fruit. I simmer mine, in that lovely copper kettle. There is something weirdly primal and Little House on the Prairie-ish about putting up summer in jars, but I spend a lot of time just eating the fruit and then wondering why my jam yield is not as cupboard groaning as I’d hoped. We’d never survive a long midwestern winter on the somewhat teensy amounts of jam I store up. (By the way, have you ever noticed how much FOOD there is in the Little House books? The Long Winter is pretty much one eating episode after another.)

  7. Damned borogroves.

    “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.
    ‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!’
    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought–
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.
    And as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!
    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.
    ‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
    He chortled in his joy.
    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.”

    Uh. Huh.

  8. Dear BL — I’m glad you are into the jam again, sorta. Gives me an excuse to look for more berry poems. Raspberries are one of my favorite writing subjects. I’m looking for one I cooked up about my mother in Michigan quoting her mother as always referring to good little children as “aren’t they the berries.” Actually, that one is mostly true; the following is more the cooked up variety– a placeholder until I find the Michigan berries. Although I actually do hike. Thank you for making such an attractive and interesting blog that invites a wonderful variety of pictures, poems, connections and memories from almost everywhere.


    Hiking with a woman
    on her own grounds,

    I learn that her bathing pond
    wants to reflect on my face
    before my hands create ripples.

    Her wildflowers
    want me to lie still
    and exchange life breaths.

    Her red raspberries
    want me to cup them like rubies
    and consume slowly with closed eyes.

    The day after, sore thighs
    and scraped skin remind me
    where I want to be.


    “All summer,” she says,
    “we ran barefoot along sand paths
    that separated one grade-school year
    from another.
    My crew searched bushes and marshes
    for red, blue, and black berries—
    precious gems from pirate ships,
    wrecked in coves
    that only we knew about.”

    Now, ninety years and 2500 miles
    west of Michigan
    in her California rest home,
    the smell of summer—
    dandelions, mint leaves, pine bark,
    creek water, and the berries—

    can’t stop her from agonizing
    over a few imperfect steps
    in her 100-year life—not guiding
    her children enough, not helping
    a sister enough, not appreciating
    her husband enough, not being appreciated
    herself enough–and saying,
    “Why does it take us so long
    to understand, forgive, and love?”

    “I don’t know,” I say,
    squirming like a salamander
    back to the times
    when she would see the beauty
    of some children at play and exclaim,
    “Aren’t they the berries!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s