Apricots in Vodka

Meeting Julia

If it weren’t for golden-hearted Julia at What Julia Ate, I would be home in my kitchen, pink-faced from steam, turning out jar after jar of jam with no one to talk to. Instead, I’m doing the same, but conversing with a whole world of folks who actually care about what happens when fruit, sugar, and a little bit of acid meet and mingle in a pot. (And Stewart, of course — poor guy — who lets me talk his ear off about jam most every day.)

Julia and I started like this: One chilly night in February, I wanted to make some clementine marmalade. I went hunting for the perfect recipe and found it on Julia’s blog. I made a comment, she commented back, and we’ve been yakking ever since — about fruit and everything else. She inspired me to revive my sleepy blog and join the Can Jam. And we send packages of our jams and jellies cross-country to each other, from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley to mine in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think this is the greatest thing about blogging. It’s not just chatter. It’s possible to learn a whole lot and make real friends in the process.

So how thrilled was I when I learned my summer travels would take me right into her neighborhood? Very. A couple days ago, we were able to meet and yak and eat together in person, and we did a darned good job of it. Here’s a brief tour of what we enjoyed after lunch . . .

These are Julia’s baby apricots in vodka.

(Don’t let the cuteness fool you; there’s a shot in every bite.)

On the side, some chocolate with dried raspberries from local Lucky Chocolates.

Julia’s wonderful Mulberry Rhubarb Lemon Jam introduced me to my first mulberries.

A portion of the table at the end of the day.

Add to the above two of my blackberry jams and an amazing vanilla pot de creme that Julia made.

Did we get a little carried away?

Deliciously so.

Finally, one of the greatest pleasures of the day was getting to meet the exceptional little person that Julia is raising. Her son’s name is Sterling, and he’ll be two in September.

Taken altogether, our day made me feel like this . . .

Thanks, Jules!

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  • Reply Gloria June 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Your piece almost brought a tear to my eyes until I read of all the treats you tucked into, then it turned to plain jealousy. How great that you got to meet up. I hope one day that I meet some of my canjamming pals.

  • Reply Cathy June 23, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Sounds like a beautiful day! And the jams look amazing!

  • Reply Julia June 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    You are so welcome, and I thank you right back! And yes, we totally over did it in the best way possible. Your photographs are gorgeous; the lighting was perfect, but your eye captured all the special details of that meeting. Lucky us!

  • Reply Shae | Hitchhiking to Heaven June 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Gloria: It's definitely worth going the distance to meet each other. If you ever have a UK gathering, it will be great to hear about it — and our turn to be jealous!!

    Cathy: Is that you? I can't tell! If it is, you're part of the reason this great meetup happened, too! If it's not, well thanks to the mystery Cathy as well. :-)

    Jules: What can I say but thank you some more? I'm already looking forward to next year.

  • Reply tigress June 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    shae – your photos are gorgeous! i love how the two of you met through blogging – and jamming, of course! until i knew, i totally thought you guys were old friends, had lived in the same town earlier in life.

    …my mouth just watered at the sight of those naughty drunken apricots. how sweet they were! (and how they bit back!)

    as sweet as meeting you & julia [& kate] on our berry-picnicking adventure! :)

  • Reply Cathy July 7, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Hi Shae! Yes, that was me (Cathy, your friend and former coworker). I'm so glad that you two wonderful ladies met and bonded over jam and yummy food. A perfect way to meet! :)

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