Inspiration comes from the oddest places. Last night, at around 2AM, I decided to make jam. Stone fruits have been our taste du jour lately, so at around five past two a whole punnet of apricots found themselves in the saucepan. Next, a few tablespoons of granulated sugar, some lemon juice, and a cornstarch slurry.
Heat, strain, heat, cool. Jam.
We save jars because we like to drink out of them, but their lids get thrown away so I couldn’t decant the sugary yellow into one. We’ve plenty of tupperware but the only one large enough for this amount of jam is currently being used to defrost some loose chicken thighs. Inevitably then, I now have a used coffee tin full of apricot jam in the fridge.
Actually, it’s on the desk next to me as I type. I wanted to take a picture of it because it tickles me — the idea of someone opening a coffee tin and being surprised when they don’t find coffee pleases something base within me. A bait-and-switch, but utterly harmless.
Two in the morning is a weird time to cook, but I had the urge to make jam, so I did. I’d never even tried apricot jam before but I followed the impulse and now I have jam. Learning how to cook properly over the past few years has been really satisfying — there’s a really enjoyable, artistic element cooking where even the experiments that fail spectacularly are fun memories and lessons learned.
I do find myself really appreciating all the small moments in life these days. We are so used to doom and gloom on such a grand scale that the tiny snatches of joy become highlights. Fleeting, but important. Like a sugar rush.
Incidentally, the jam tastes only okay. It’s a bit too tart — I think I over-lemoned. I’m going to put it in a cake.
I started writing this because “Apricot Jam in a Coffee Tin” is a really good title. I considered writing about how it’s rare for me to be able to follow these impulses because of my chronic fatigue, or to ruminate on my relationship with foods, but I think this is better. I just like jam.