‘Merry Christmas’, to all the readers & commenter’s on this blog. I hope you all have a great, safe & gastronomically exciting day with friends, family or even if you are on your Pat Malone.
My best wishes for everyone in 2010.
Also: to let you know that I have realized along term personal dream of mine since I started my cooking apprenticeship at sixteen. I am now the owner of the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet-Yay Team!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Dont Panic! This is not an obit, she's alive & well!
Time goes by & shiny others take their place, leaving the trailblazers to submerge quietly in a sea of overwhelming celebrity, made peculiar by its surprising lack of depth. One of those bizarrely overlooked trailblazers in my opinion, is Mary Walker of whom I decided to re-post an earlier article
Many words that we use everyday can claim food as the reason that they exist in the first place. I’m not scholarly enough to list everything or even give you a few examples to convince you that I am a brain-iac onI can talk about that.
When I think of Jam I think of slow. A time when people, usually the woman of the house preserved fruit & made jams to stretch out the seasons bounty into the depths of another, less, well, fruit-full.
To ‘Jam’ in WW11 meant to scramble radio signals so the enemy could not understand
‘Jamming’, the action of making jam had been appropriated by jazz musicians to describe a free way to decipher, rearrange & interpret sounds into music. This cool way of speak was not dissimilar to the ‘Beats’ & filtered down from the periphery of society toward its inevitable dribble-toward-the-middle then was appropriated by everybody who wanted some cred, not unlike how Gangsta Rap speak, is done now, in say, Kingston’s Channel Court.
I am not an aficionado of the much ‘pigeon-holed’ Grunge miesters poster boys, Pearl Jam, but I do admire, from a distance, Eddy Veddar’s politics. I read that they got their name from one of their aunties, Pearl, who made jam well enough to be enshrined in the family Parthenon. Pearl Jam devotees, set the record straight now if I have been misinformed (Thanks BicknellFC, I had read this also but thanks for confirming, 'Pearl Jam' is actually semen!)
Another musical group to benefit from the name was of course, Paul Weller’s, The Jam.
Their music, to me, was a snapshot of my youth even though they identified heavily with the ‘Mod’ culture of the sixties of which I was born but the eighties for me were the actual time of my musical comprehension. Ironically, the sixties were a time when people still had time. Time to actually, make jam. The Mod’s, who The Jam identified with, in essence, were a response to the slowness of the preceding generation & reacted turbulently against all that was slow. Speed, antephetamines & ‘Quick’ were the ever present undercurrent, as were snappy clothes; modernism & I guess a rejection of all things attributed to ‘old’. It is interesting to me because the word had achieved two different meanings. On one hand it was ‘improvisation’ at its best, spontaneous & combustible & on the other hand it was slow, predictably belonged to their parents generation & perhaps, to the Mod’s, ultimately dull.
To ‘Jam’ meant to make music, then to talk, to debate & eventually to stir, to ridicule & to ultimately challenge the status quo.
That’s a big spectrum of meaning for what is simply the action of cooking fruit with sugar to preserve it.
Now we have culture Jammer’s who criticize global advertising. Food Jammers who take a free form approach to dealing with food & recipes, courtesy of the Lifestyle Channels desperate attempts to catch an elusive demographic.
As I drove from Cloudy Bay over the neck & gazed across to Middleton my thoughts turned toward one of Tassie’s original Jammer’s, Mary Walker, late of Hill Farm Herbs & Tracklements, who sold up a few seasons ago. Her generation knows the time of slow, of seasons, of craft & of skills gleaned over years. Yet she is also a ‘Jammer’, able to improv, to excite a new direction & never remain static, constantly honing her craft invigorated by each new generation she touches & inspires in equal measure.