Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:26-31 (NIV)
A few months ago, youngest son developed a fascination with pomegranates. He already enjoyed pomegranate fruit juice or pom tea, but when the fruit came in season and became available in the supermarket, he asked me to buy him one. He ate the fruit, actually the seeds, as he learned that that is the edible portion of the pomegranate. Then, he decided to make pomegranate jelly. Because he has been doing so well in school and is happy and pleasant to have around, I did not mind buying $30.00 worth of pomegranates, sugar, pectin, a ricer to squeeze the seeds and canning jars even though I had no faith that he would actually make jelly. Think realistically here. He was a seventeen year old boy with no experience making jelly or even watching someone else make jelly. The last person in our family to be so domestically inclined was my grandmother, and her jelly making days were long over before he was born. So, when one Saturday night about 10:00 he decided he was ready to make jelly, the only thing I could think of was, “I am going to be so angry in the morning.” I imagined all the dirty pots, sticky counters and floor covered in juice. So, imagine my astonishment the next day to see twelve pints of jelly lined up on the spotless counter, clean pots drying in the sink. It was like waking up the day after a hurricane was supposed to hit our island only to find it had gone another way. Relief. Surprise. Then, pride. My boy made jelly, and it actually tasted good! When a friend gave me a half flat of strawberries, I decided to make some jam. After all, if a seventeen year old boy could make it, so could I. Right? Wrong! What a pain in the rear end that was! My eyes were bigger than my pot, so I had to move the whole concoction to another one. Then, I didn’t read the directions, and put the pectin in too early. I stirred it for over a half hour waiting for it to boil. I didn’t scald enough jars so had to stop halfway through and heat some more. When I complained to youngest son about how much work it was he said, “Mom, you’ve got to own the recipe not let the recipe own you!” So, I settled down and tried not to panic when it took longer to get it all into jars and then, reboil them to seal the lids. After all, if a 17 year old boy can do it, so can I. And he was right; it was easier when I relaxed. I now have twenty five little pints of jelly set aside for our own pleasure and also for gift giving. I don’t know if I’ll do it again soon, but it was a good lesson in staying calm when I get into hot water which, knowing my life, will be again soon.