- Date: Saturday, July 23, 2011 -- 3pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Dining Companions: Matty, Helen, Charles, Clara, Karen H, Dave, Georgina, PJ, and Georgia
- Recipe Rating: B+
There were raspberries in abundance at the Farmer's Market in late July, so it seemed like the right time to make this recipe. I tossed a lot of raspberries with a lot of sugar and some lemon juice and let the berry mixture sit for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, I sterilized canning jars in my boiling water canner. I chilled a couple small plates in the fridge, for testing the jam. I then brought the raspberry mixture to a boil, and boiled until it was done (i.e. until a spoonful of the jam placed on a chilled plate and refrigerated for 1 minute remained in a mound when the plate was tilted). I then whisked together some pectin and sugar, and added it to the jam. I boiled it for a minute longer, then ladled the hot jam into the sterilized jars. I sealed the jars, then processed them in the boiling water canner. This jam came out very nicely. The raspberry flavor came through well, and despite all the sugar, the jam didn't taste overly sweet. The consistency of the jam was also just right. We have already been through several jars of it -- it was definitely tastier than what you can buy at the store. My one complaint about this recipe was that the jam had too many seeds in it. I would prefer that the seeds (or at least some of the seeds) had been strained out. As it was, the jam was a little too crunchy for my taste! Aside from that, it is delicious, and I am quite happy that we still have a few jars of it left!
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Somehow it is that time of year again: classes start tomorrow. I lecture at 9am tomorrow morning and I am prepared. My lecture is written, my syllabi are photocopied. I even went to a faculty lunch seminar this week all about the first day of class. So I am prepared. Yet I don't feel ready. It's always a stressful time, the transition from summer back into the academic year. Honestly, summer is glorious. I worked hard this summer, but I also had time to eat some leisurely dinners on the porch. I swam in lakes, and pools, and seas. I ran along the river trail and canoed down the river. I traveled in Europe and the US, seeing friends and going to conferences. I ate corn on the cob and blue raspberry snow cones. It was awesome. And although in some ways I prefer the academic year to the summer months, I am always sad to see the summer go. Summer really ended more than a week ago, when faculty meetings began. But I held onto it as tightly as I could nonetheless, choosing to view the meetings, learning assistant training, etc, as blips in my summer, rather than the start of a new year. Tonight, though, my denial has ended. Ready or not, bright and early tomorrow morning the school year will be upon me. At 9am I will have 41 Calculus 3 students in front of me. We'll talk about multivariable calculus. I will struggle to draw 3-dimensional pictures on a 2-dimensional chalkboard. It will be fun. Indeed, it is silly to mourn the passing of the summer, as I have ahead of me what is bound to be a great semester. I only have the one class, and generally speaking Calculus 3 students are a good bunch: smart, motivated, reasonably interested in math. Plus, I have never taught Calc 3 before, which will make it an interesting new adventure. The math in Calc 3 is a piece of cake, but the drawing is a real challenge. Will I make a fool of myself trying to draw hyperbolic paraboloids? Only time will tell!
I am also starting various other new career adventures this term. I am on a faculty search committee for the first time, which will involve a lot of application-reading and candidate-interviewing. I am also serving for the first time as a faculty advisor to a Women in Science student group, which I am excited about. As always I'm traveling some fun places to give talks (Brown, University of Virginia, etc...). Add to that a long list of research goals and it will no doubt be a jam-packed and challenging semester. Before I know it there will be snow on the ground and I will be grading final exams and baking Christmas cookies. That's how it goes -- the semesters fly by. I love the fast-paced rhythm of the academic year almost as much as a I love the leisurely meander of the summer. I feel almost ready to trade in the hot summer months for a cool fall breeze. But I wish I could have just one more week of summer...