Roses in August & food writer MFK Fisher

A friend of mine, who owns a large rose garden, gave me a gift of the book Long Ago in Dijon by MFK Fisher (Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher (Born July 3, 1908 and Died June 22, 1992).  She is known as a great American essayist and food writer, who wrote for the New Yorker Magazine and 20 books during her lifetime. I quickly digested it. (Gulp.)

Long Ago in Dijon was published in 1991, the year before she died.  This book is about her early life in Dijon France (1920s) with her first husband Al Fisher, a poet. She was studying art and he was teaching English at the French University. During this time Fisher writes about her introduction to French food and society in Dijon. The city of Dijon was and is the gastronomic center of France*.  During the period that MFK Fisher lives there she vividly describes her marriage, friends and their experience as lodgers in an attic apartment in a large house in Dijon. Their landlords’ families (There were two different sets.) are a cast of colorfully bizarre people who provide them with meals. It is here that MFK Fisher’s gastronomic adventures begin and her tastes are cultivated. She was beautiful and was photographed by Man Ray, one of the twentieth century’s renowned photographers. Click her name for more about MFK Fisher. Retrieved August 28, 2010.

Dijon: *“Dijon holds its International and Gastronomic Fair every year in autumn. With over 500 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors every year, it is one of the ten most important fairs in France. Dijon is also home, every three years, to the international flower show Florissimo.” Wikipedia, Retrieved August 28, 2010

As the weather slightly shifts the smells of the earth change, the air clears of steamy summer heat and the winds bring a hint of autumn.  There are still some August roses on the grounds of a local school. I wanted to try Sabina’s Rose petal jam, but have not found any organically grown roses to make it. (Still looking.)

Here’s Sabina’s recipe:

Rose Petal Jam

1 heaping handful of rose petals

2/3 cup of jelly sugar*

½ (scant) cup water

2 teaspoons of lemon juice

Cover the bottom of a stainless steel pan with the rose petals and add the water. Put it on the burner then add the jelly sugar stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon juice let that simmer until the jam thickens.

Test that the jam is done by putting a drop of it on a small plate, blow on it to cool it off and then hold the plate at an angle. If the drop slides down the plate, then it is not done. If it doesn’t run then it is done.

When done turn the burner off on the stove, pour the jam into a sterile jar and set it aside to cool.

Then make the Irish Scones recipe to serve it with.

*Jelly sugar can be found at Byerly’s grocery store in the foreign food baking section. It is called Geleisuiker and the brand is Dr Oetker. It comes in a small paper envelope type package.

Note: “Jelly Sugar is granulated sugar to which pectin and citric acid is added to it.

Jelly Sugar is used for preserving fruits, and jams and the like. In fruit, pectin is found naturally, however, some more than others. In fruits with less natural pectin makes the citric acid to make sure the jam is still sufficiently strong. The jelly sugar is a good preservative.

Also the jelly sugar helps the flavors of the fruit  emerge. The granulated sugar in the jelly sugar brings out the aroma of the fruit.” Translated by Wikipedia from Dutch. August 28, 2010. (Modified by me too!)

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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