The first time was on a sunny, Saturday morning, sitting on a green window seat cushioned with tapestry-covered pillows. The restaurant was at the crossroads of two meandering county highways. The floors creaked. I had an omelet filled with pesto and heirloom tomatoes, but it was the strawberry jam that really had me. I spooned it out of the glass jar and spread it thick on my sourdough toast. It was so sweet, a salve to wounds of other disappointments I had that morning, a bright spot in a teary breakfast.
The next time was the following Saturday, and by then I had a taste and was happier. After browsing a used book store, we settled in to little table set next to the wall in a little bistro. The walls were painted a pale yellow the overhead fan were whirring wildly, and I feasted on toasted baguette with strawberry jam. For the cool air on a sticky day and the sweet jam, I was in heaven.
The big surprise here is that I always thought of myself as a bigger fan of the orange preserves: marmalade, apricot, peach. But sometimes just what you need presents itself to you, like discovering a cookbook author with the kind of frank, witty voice that makes you swoon, or a glass pot of strawberry jam, ready to sweeten your morning.
Quick Strawberry Jam
makes about 1 1/2 cups
adapted from Everyday Food
1 pound hulled strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a food processor or with a potato masher, process strawberries until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover surface, 9 to 10 minutes. Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature. (To store, seal jar and refrigerate, up to 10 days).