Friday, August 22, 2008
It is the beginning of salsa season here. We made the first little batch on Wednesday and it was delicious. Throughout the years of canning while I've had children they have mostly just gone and played out of the way so I could get on with it. I've had them help by bringing jars or lids to me; picking produce from the garden; transferring jars down to the coldroom and sorting and organizing the coldroom shelves but not much with the actual prep and canning.This year I asked W for more help. I admit to an ulterior motive or two. I want them to know how to preserve, partly for their own good (I consider it an important life skill) but also to be able to carry on certain recipes that I always make - my aunt's pickles, my mom's antipasto, my salsa. My other motive was that I recalled reading, in The Shelter of Each Other, that all family members used to gather in the kitchen to help with the yearly food preservation (out of necessity) and that some women found it a time when they really connected with their older sons. I had read that the monotony of the prep. work and the time it took could really bring out a space and the time for good conversation between mothers and their adolescent sons.W and I have always enjoyed an easy, open relationship but I often feel as he gets a bit older and has more of his own interests that we don't spend the same amount of time together and just don't have as much one-on-one time to really connect. It takes time to get to deeper conversations...and it takes time to prepare produce for canning. So, I got busy scalding tomatoes and peaches for the salsa and he prepped and chopped onions, peppers and garlic. And I waited...and he talked...and I listened. I love hearing about what is important to him and how he shares it.And I am so glad that we love salsa and that we will need to make lots more before the Summer is over.