New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-07-25 06:00:00 –
Do you like fig jam? I think that’s one of those all-or-nothing types of questions.
I don’t know why, but when a topic emerges, I usually find that it can be quickly divided into two very different groups (like and dislike).
Maybe it’s a southern one like grits? who knows?
West Virginia has friends who love them and exchange fig jams for cherry jams every year.
My husband was cooking a batch of freshly picked figs today. His favorite treats are peanut butter and fig preserve flaps. My is a fig preserve cake. The recipe over 45 is from one of my husband’s hunting companions in Northern Louisiana.
Just mentioning the fig reserves will always bring out such fun memories of grandparents, grandmothers and puppies. On a hot July morning, I spent time in the kitchen with my grandma and saw a mixture of sugar and figs bubbling on the stove. The black, humming vibrating fan on the counter creates a welcoming momentary passing breeze. Mason jars and lids are heated in boiling water. And my expectation of being asked to be a taste tester.
There was a special bucket that my grandparents used to collect figs. We still have that bucket and now we use it to collect figs and other garden blessings. My husband says it was originally a milk bucket. I’m not sure, but I think it was. Perhaps some of the side dents are due to the impatient cow that Puppy kicked it at an early age.
My grandfather had a stroke at the age of 80. It left him with a very weak left leg and arm. He dragged on, but managed to choose a low fig to play his role. (He was also able to use a push lawn mower and a pecan picker upper, which was a huge success!)
I remember taking a bubble bath one hot summer day. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old. Puppy came while my mother and grandmother were doing errands. He came into the bathroom and announced that he was surprised. It was a freshly made warm fig preserve flap. He was sitting on a small white stool by the tub while I was eating it.
He was always able to talk great about growth. That day he told me the story of when he and all his brothers had measles at the same time, including his little white dog! He said the dog had red spots on his belly. (Probably a flea bite, but I think it was measles.)
My sister and I were so blessed that we lived opposite our house. It’s hard to be together without something that reminds us of something important in the past. At the beginning of summer, I saw a mass of primroses on the side of the road. (My grandma used to call me a buttercup, so I often went to pick it up in a car.) I had tears in my eyes, so I pulled it to the side of the road. I called my sister to see again how lucky she was to have such a loving grandparent.
I still miss them after all of these years.
— Fowler lives in Baton Rouge
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