14 May 2009

This Bowl

Growing up, every spring for longer than I can possibly remember, my mother made strawberry jam. It was delicious. We never had Smuckers at our house, we only had homemade strawberry jam.

I am not entirely domestic, but the strawberry jam tradition has been one I really wanted to continue.

Now, every spring I find myself picking strawberries and making oodles of batches of what my husband refers to as "red gold".

I don't buy Smuckers for this house either - I prefer the fresh strawberry goodness.

Here's the funny thing. Many years ago my mother gave me the particular bowl in which she always prepared her strawberry jam. (Which I think implied I was to begin making jam for her too!) So I began using the same bowl, wrapped up in the nostalgia of the idea of generations of jam being stirred in the exact same bowl.

But the bowl is really heavy. Too big for the task at hand, really. And cumbersome for pouring. Overall, it's really the wrong choice. But I keep using the same bowl anyway. Every year.

I'm okay with this though. I'm okay with spending more effort to do the same job because I like using my mother's bowl. I like the idea that my mom was standing in some kitchen, surrounded by the change that many moves and many young children and many years of life had brought into her world but there was this one little object that never changed. This silly, heavy bowl remained the same. Different house. Different kitchen. Different year. Different chaos. Different strawberry patch. Same bowl.

I like to imagine my many daughters passing this cumbersome keepsake around their homes year after year so that they too can carry on the tradition of spring strawberry jam in the same bowl. A tiny constant in a sea of change.


  1. First, we have that same bowl at church. Its apparently worth like $100, but we use it for popcorn.

    What a beautiful portrait you painted. Your bowl also reminds me a little about God too - how he remains the same, sometimes seeming cumbersome, but that he is the same in the midst of changing circumstances.

    I also enjoy making strawberry jam, but never make enough to get us through the year so Smuckers or Polands then stocks our fridge!

  2. Thanks Abbey - I didn't know my bowl was worth money. That changes everything. (haha)

    I like the idea that God is like that too - very true.

    Last year I actually counted how many jars I made so I could see what it takes to make it through the Keigley Year of Jam Consumption. I think it was 12 batches.

  3. I would like your recipe for strawberry jam. I can apple butter in the fall, but want to branch out my jam making this spring/summer.