My Happy New Year wishes to all kindly souls wandering about virtual reality on this special day.
So far, aside from easily crashing through last night’s time barrier ‘tween `18 and `19, I also wound up crashing a small plate into the linoleum while preparing this morning’s meal… uh… regrettably… just one serving for li’l ol’ lonesome me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not crying in my beer. That’s mainly because  I’ve accepted for many decades that my bachelorhood is likely terminal,  things could’ve been far worse had that broken glass involved my one and only French Press coffee maker and  beer would not have been my first choice for washing down my, by and large, nutritionally incorrect holiday feast… a menu consisting of drenched in syrup pancakes, overly salted turkey sausage patties, cinnamon coated / saturated fat loaded doughnuts and toast spread thick with jam.
NOTE to any concerned cardiologists / physicians / nutritionists out there… as well as buzzard-like morticians flying in formation (in a holding pattern) above my home:
In my defense…  this is not my steady diet,  I also consumed a far healthier banana, Fuji apple and bowl of oatmeal, and  considering my metabolic “ability”, I find myself frequently “flirting” within featherweight territory (118 – 126 pounds / 54 – 57 kg).
Well… at this point I can virtually hear your three part question…
“Wassup Tom? You still hung over from New Year’s Eve champers? Just WTF is the point to your post, anyway?
Well… this is all about the “jam” I got into this morning… NO not the broken plate deal… the type of jam we spread on our toast. And, considering all the sugary stickiness… maybe you’ll stick around long enough to hear me out?
You see… one of the things I’m grateful for is that my Mom not only had taught me all she knew about food prep, but that this also involved invaluable, hands-on cooking/baking OJT.
One of Mom’s favorite (usually Christmastime) projects involved jam production. To e.g. that a bit… she loved preparing her unique peach / pineapple blend recipe. BTW. she oft tossed in a few halved maraschino cherries, which not only added flavor but also randomly dotted the jarred, brightly orange hued jam with festive red. All in all, this was… still is… a labor intensive endeavor. Believe me, each jam manufacture’s costly, per jar asking price is more about the labor than the actual price of the fruit, jars and lids.
Well… in the beginning… Mom and I had worked as a team… but… as age related fatigue started catching up with her… there were times where she’d leave mid project… only to return just as I was topping off the jars with sealing wax. Amidst my mentor’s apologies for having bailed were her smiles. After all, she now knew that her skills would live on long after she had departed.
But… as already mentioned… jam making is so labor intensive that, in the nearly 16 years since Mom’s death, I’ve yet to put our shared, jam making know-how to good use. Instead, I’ve been opting to let the “pros” do all the work. And imagine how thrilled I was to discover that one manufacturer’s product line not only includes peach but also pineapple preserves. Even better is the size of the jars… respectively 18 oz (510g) and 12 oz (340g)… i.e., respectively, a peach to pineapple ratio, which is oh-so-close to my Mom’s original recipe.
In other words… at the breakfast table level… to “cook up” a close facsimile all I need do is proportionally spread peach on one side of the warmed and toasted bread, pineapple on the other and fold.
Now, here’s where my story takes on an aspect… one that many would dismiss as mere coincidence… but not li’l ol’ lonesome me!
During the December holiday season, jam sales typically, rapidly decimate the supermarket displays. Just last Friday, on the nearly barren shelves… misplaced from their usual “homes” I spotted one jar of peach preserves… and right next to it one jar of pineapple… the very same two jars that wound up on my breakfast table this early a.m. I mean… how could I not interpret this as a message… a “phoned in” menu request… from the great beyond?
Just prior to sinking my teeth into this a.m.’s warm toast, I hoisted my coffee cup upward to toast my Mom. True, its mere speculation on my part, but…
Might it be possible that, on special occasions, our ancestors can live virtually (sort of vicariously) through us… still enjoy earthly sights, sounds, scents and flavors with us / through us? After all, half my DNA belongs to my mother. If I am correct, maybe … just maybe… she sort of sat alongside li’l ol’ lonesome me at my New Year’s Day breakfast table… maybe even enjoying that “homemade”, breakfast table blend which so closely resembles her peach / pineapple preserves.