As so many of my conversations go : I was just listening to this podcast about a man who has a very severe form of amnesia. After a virus caused his brain to swell he developed both anterograde AND retrograde amnesia. In basic terms he can’t remember his past and he has no ability to form new memories. Every few seconds his brain essentially resets and he has to start over again from scratch.
Let me give you a minute to process that.
Can you imagine not having any memories ever again?
And, not just memories but basic social norms to function in society. He no longer understands why people sing Happy Birthday, shake hands or put lights on a tree to celebrate something.
We spend so much time talking about “living in the moment” and this guy has no ability to do anything but. Puts things in perspective.
My memories are so much tied in to food. It was a way to celebrate, recover, bond, relieve stress and almost everything in between. I honestly can’t imagine just walking away from all those associations. It seems something so fundamentally human- it spans across cultures, ages and all walks of life.
Take this jam for example. I can give you no less than 15 memories involving jam. I could tell you about the time we I was young and we picked little wild strawberries for my grandmother to make jam out of, I could tell you about eating giant spoonfuls of my grandmother’s strawberry rhubarb jam, I could tell you about the time my mom doubled the jam recipe and we ended up with gallons of strawberry “syrup” that suddenly appeared in all our desserts and breakfasts, I could even tell you about the time I went to a jam making course with my friends and we overcooked our jam and ended up with the most incredible jar of berry toffee that, cruelly, was so stiff that it wouldn’t come out of the jar. I could tell you all of these stories and more, but for your sanity, I won’t.
This is a quick and easy version of jam, a new one to share with new family members and begin to gather new memories but the smell is the same, the taste is the same and the memories are there in full effect.
- 500g bag of mixed frozen berries (or your favourite kind!)
- 440 g (2 cups) granulated sugar
- ½ cup of orange juice
- Place berries, sugar, and orange juice in a large pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Increase heat until the mixture is at a slow boil.
- After 20 minutes at a slow boil, test to see if it has reached a set - place a spoonful of jam onto a chilled plate and push mixture with your finger. If it wrinkles and a skin forms, then it's ready. If not, continue to cook and try again in 5-10 minutes.
- Pour in to a jar of your choice (or you can proceed to bottle it in a sterilised jam jar).
- Allow to set and enjoy!