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“I got blackberries, I got blackberries, blackberries.”—street cry, New Orleans blackberry seller

Yesterday at the Greenmarket, I ignored the signs of early autumn—the first apples and acorn squash, collards and kale—and instead stubbornly lugged home corn, tomatoes, melon, and the other usual summer suspects. Fat, shiny blackberries were going for a song, and I bought a boatload, enough for an entire week of greedy fistfuls.

Then the weather changed in a flash from a string of what my mother used to call “Champagne days,” because of their sparkling clarity, to a dank chill, with periods of steady, dispiriting rain.

I looked at the contents of the refrigerator with no enthusiasm whatsoever.

So tonight, our meal was more spartan and rougher than I had planned but still enormously satisfying. We ate ham and fried eggs, done to a crisp frizzle around the edges—and thick pieces of toast with butter and blackberry jam, my favorite.

That jam could not have been more purer or, literally, more immediate-tasting. Faced with a fridge full of blackberries that seemed to be rapidly turning from lustrous to forlorn, my husband casually thumbed through Lenotre, hauled out a big heavy pot, and spent a pleasant, productive morning in front of the stove. That evening, he pried the lid off one of the jars and turned my cobbled-together supper into something sublime.


Comment from Jenny
Time September 29, 2010 at 7:43 am

Scratch dinners end up being my approach 90 percent of the time. In fact, I seem to be leading a ‘scratch life.’ I do love the element of chance, and the creativity of it all. And sometimes everything just really works, and you do get something sublime, as you say.

The weather just changed here too (Decatur, GA). It stayed in the 90s through most of September, but now it’s suddenly fall. I still have an absurd amount of basil in my garden, but I just don’t feel like eating it. You really do just have to do (and eat) what you feel, I guess. Maybe I’ll just freeze the basil and save it for the dead of winter, when I actually miss summer.

I’m glad I found your blog, thanks to your former boss. Twitter is good for something. I happily look forward to reading more!

Comment from admin
Time October 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I’ll bet you are a wonderful cook. Tell about how you freeze fresh basil! I always resort to a semi-panicky day of making multiple batches of pesto….By the way, you might also enjoy, the genius child of the wonderful Sally Schneider.

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