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Becky's Food Tales - July 8, 2013


By Becky Hoff

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

A Tale of Blackberry Jam

Blackberry season is coming soon! Every summer I go out picking, or at least buy pints of the wild growing ‘blackcaps’ at a local farmer’s market. Their sweet-tart taste reminds me of hot summer days spent roaming the woods around my Grandmother’s house. Blackberry picking was a family event and sometimes there would be a dozen of us out filling ice cream pails with the little purple berries. We would eat them on vanilla ice cream when we got back to Grandma’s, savoring the seasonal treat. There were never any berries left over, for ours is a large extended family.

A few summers back, I was reminiscing with my friend Mandy about berry picking. She mentioned that there were several berry patches in the woods around her house, and we decided to pick enough to preserve in a batch of jam. Early one Sunday morning we met at her house, donned our long sleeves and headed out into the woods to collect berries. After about three hours, we collected several quarts of berries. (And four wood ticks!)

Now it was time to make the blackberry jam. Mandy had a glass top stove, and these are not suitable for water bath canning. We thought we’d be very clever and can our jam on the grill. Mandy’s husband Brad dutifully filled the canning kettle with water and fired up the propane grill. We got down to the business of washing and then mashing our berries. We strained out some of the seeds, measured out a shocking amount of sugar, then cooked up some delicious looking jam.

But when it was time to ladle the jam into jars, we realized that we had a problem- the water bath kettle was not boiling. In fact, it wasn’t even simmering. Not knowing what else to do, we jarred up our jam and stuck it in the hot water anyway. We cranked the heat on the grill, put the cover on the kettle, and waited. And waited.

About 45 minutes into it, we accepted the fact that our kettle was not going to boil. So we did what any sensible people would do- we loaded the canning kettle into the back of a pick-up truck. Mandy drove, and I hopped in the pick-up bed to steady the kettle. We drove down the steep quarter mile of Mandy’s driveway, turned sharply left, and then went up another steep quarter mile driveway to her parents’ house. It was quite the wild ride in the pick-up bed, and I am happy to report that I did not get burned or bruised in the process! With the use of Mandy’s mom’ .....
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Postcards from the Windy City - Cardboard Boats and Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Cardboard Boats and Cock-a-Doodle-Doo Dear Readers, This week’s postcard comes to you courtesy of the magazine where I’m interning. In the past three weeks, I’ve helped update their news blog, drafted an article for their website, attended ..... 
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Tech Bytes - PasSwORd: Do’s and Don’ts

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jul 5th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

PasSwORd: Do’s and Don’ts The average person has to remember more than ten passwords or PIN numbers for various login information. That’s ten more items to keep fresh in our minds when we struggle to remember to pay some of our bills, forget ..... 
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Leadership: Democracy’s Essential Ingredient

Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

By Lee Hamilton For those of us who think and write about democracy, few things are more appealing than a book about how to make it work better. My shelves are groaning with them. They contain a lot of good and helpful ideas. There are proposals ..... 
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Rain-filled Family Reunion

By Loni Kemp

Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

The rain just wouldn’t stop, but neither would the family reunion. Planned for two years, our rendezvous was fast approaching as 35 members of our clan ranging from one month old to 88 years converged from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, C ..... 
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Scottish Dancing at Fermilab

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Dear Readers, By the time you read this, I’ll have commuted to my internship at least 15 times. In those 15 trips, I have yet to figure out why, in the course of 12.9 miles, it is necessary for the speed limit to change ten times, never accelerat ..... 
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More notes from the country kitchen

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Jun 21st, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Mowing the yard! Do you love to do it or do you hate to do it? My co-worker, Sue, just loves to go home after work and push that ole lawn mower all over her yard! My husband, who has a brand new zero-turn riding lawn mower with stereo headphones ..... 
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Postcards from the windy city

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Jun 21st, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Dear Readers, Hello from Batavia, Illinois! I have a confession: although my postcards are “from the Windy City,” I’m actually day-to-day living in the Chicagoland suburb of Batavia, about 45 minutes by car or an hour by train to downtown ..... 
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A little of this, A little of that.

By Kathy Little

Fri, Jun 14th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Even Dr. Sigmund Freud admitted that he could not answer his own question about what women want. He researched this question for 30 years and still came up with nada. Perhaps the good doctor should have realized that all women are different. So the ..... 
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