That first taste of rich, sweet plum jam from a spoon – because who had time to make toast before enjoying the taste of summer. Not just any summer either, an English country summer with the crisp smell of fresh cut grass, the subtle warmth of the mottled sun through the trees, and the sound of doves and robins as your great grandmother calls you in for cake.
Nanny Green always had a tin of cake or biscuits at the ready and whenever we went to visit you never left hungry – EVER. She was a lovely, kind, warm lady of whom my memories are few but never fading. I was 5 when she passed away and I remember my Nan bringing round a couple of things from her house. An old egg cup for me to keep and a jar of Nanny Green’s plum jam. Nanny Green you see raised children through the war and was still of the mind set to make your own and put things up. That last jar of plum jam with luxurious flavor from something so simple will never be beat nor replicated.
When somebody makes something from scratch I believe part of them stays with it – their essence, love, and honesty. That last jar of her plum jam, the jam you could eat from the spoon, was a bittersweet treat and a last hug of her love and I remember when Mum told me it was gone.
At age 5 I vaguely understood death. I knew that we would never see Nanny Green again and it was clear that that last jar was the last, but only the last made by her hands for you see – when our ancestors pass on they are never gone entirely. I can’t speak much on spiritual terms but I do believe that when they pass away they are only really gone if we fail to remember them and although Nanny Green’s plum jam is over 20 years in the past, her legacy is not. Nanny loved to cook and showed her love for family with her food and that passes on through generations. My Nan cooks, my Mum cooks, and now I cook. I teach our sons to cook.
One day I will have a plum tree and finally get around to making plum jam just like Nanny. Now, I have canned a lot, and I mean a lot and have even won county fair ribbons for some of my canned goods but as yet I have not been able to bring myself to can plum jam because nothing could shine a light on Nanny Green’s and especially not store bought plums. So when I make it, it will be from our garden and from my kitchen just like hers and a piece of her will shine on as I enjoy that jam in her memory.
Consider your ancestors recent and past and repeat history by learning a skill they had and it will bring you much closer to your heritage as well as enriching your everyday life.