Author: Sargent, Geoff

Your Jam Palate

You know you are scratching for ideas when you start brain-riffing at 11PM Saturday night on trying to write a Sunday column around a play on words for “jam” and come up with a column about recipes for making jam… in bluegrass jam, which led to me thinking about food, which led to it’s almost Thanksgiving, which led back to holiday jams… in bluegrass jams. Don’t all this circular thinking make you dizzy?

So what are some recipes for jams? Well my first question would be do you want a savory jam or a sweet jam; and I would have to go for savory if is going to be a bluegrass jam because even the sweetest bluegrass songs seem to have a touch of bitterness in them, enough so to make the sweet more interesting. My jam making and tasting started early in the holiday season this year and took me up to a very savory jam at some friends house warming last week in Santa Rosa. There were good, goooood pickers that made the jam savory and tasty. But these kinds of jams are pretty ephemeral, you only get a sample, and just enough of a delicious smell to bring a smile and whet your hunger for a feast.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and a good season for experimenting with jam recipes. Unlike Christmas, where everyone seems to focus on home-made jams, for me Thanksgiving has always had more of a neighborhood, community feel to it, with the opportunity to taste lots of jams, even some exotic ones. And the nice thing about Thanksgiving is that you can have it both ways, you can have some homemade jam and then you get to take the leftovers so other folks can have a taste.

For me though, I’m particularly looking forward to a jam next week that should generate enough heat to make a nice toasty bluegrass jam. And I gotta tell you that lately I’ve gone back to baking my own bread…….and I like my toast with lots of jam. For that I’ll even experiment with some jam that has a whiff of bourbon to it.

But the next real feast for jams doesn’t happen for another six weeks, and that of course is the Great 48, in Bakersfield the first weekend in January, a glutton’s heaven for jams that gives metaphorical meaning to the gastronomic phrase “jam until you puke”. Now I am planning on being there, and I am planning on overindulging, and need I say I am planning to immerse myself in all the jam that weekend. Even though I might not have the self-control or will-power to reign in my out-of-control appetites, I counsel you, fair readers, in this holiday season, show good judgment in your selection of jams, taste with moderation, and go to the Great 48 with a clean, hungry palate. Have a happy Thanksgiving and see you at a jam tasting soon.

Posted:  11/18/2012

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