Thursday, September 29, 2011

Answers, Ketchup, Jam and Freaking Out a Little

Thank you for your kind words and well-wishes on my Good News post.

To answer Rachel's questions:
Location? Focus? Celebration?

Location: University of Southern Maine, Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program.
(The "campus" is in an old house in a state park; which is fitting considering my undergrad alma mater was a bunch of old houses on the edge of a National Park).

Focus: Fiction (yikes!)

Celebration: Hmm, good idea. I have not celebrated yet, but I am considering throwing a great big "Andrea's going into seclusion and you won't see her for the next two years" party, sometime after I finish my workshop pieces and before I receive everyone else's (and the holidays descend).

Last night I made ketchup (recipe from 6512) and tomato jam. I was a little sad that our own tomato harvest has been so meager this year, and that I did not hit the jackpot of free tomatoes that I did last year, and so would not be able to make these two favorites. And then I thought...why not just buy the tomatoes? Even if it's uneconomical, it would make you happy (and anyway, we can buy canned tomatoes for spaghetti/pizza sauce, so who cares about that?)

As it turns out, I found organic tomatoes for $2 a pound at the farmers market, bought seven pounds, made seven jars of ketchup and four of tomato jam and had a pound or so of tomatoes left over, so even if you count all of the other ingredients, like spices and vinegar, which I have on hand anyway, the ketchup came to less than $2 a jar, which is still less than even cheap ketchup (though a somewhat smaller jar) and a lot less than organic. And I didn't have to compromise my values and buy one of those plastic squeeze bottles I hate (we've gone without ketchup for about four months since the last jar of last summer's batch ran out).

Don't you think making your own ketchup is the ultimate badge of old farmwifery?

(By the way, if you decide to cook these two at the same time like I did, you should probably just measure all of the ingredients of one before moving on to the other, so you don't accidentally put the eight tablespoons of lime juice called for in one recipe into the other, which only calls four two. Just sayin')

While the ketchup simmered (and simmered, and simmered--plan for a good two to three hours to make this stuff), I reviewed the big packet of materials about the graduate program that had just arrived in the mail, and OMFG, I think I will die. What I really need is for an extra day to be added to each week. Or another two or three hours to each day. Couldn't just one teensy tiny little meteor strike the earth and slow its rotation by a couple of hours? Is that too much to ask. At any rate, this means I may have to take up coffee for the first time in my life. Or up my chocolate consumption by, er, a lot.

Definitely will be saying goodbye to all kinds of recreational activities like the twice-monthly Netflix movie, craftiness (I thought at least I might be able to have one knitting project going), ketchup and jam making, and sleep. Wish me luck!


  1. I am so proud of you, Andrea! Celebration? I know a group of women who would love to share a toast with you. Love, b

  2. FELCIDADES, Andrea.
    I have horribly delinquent reading blogs. This is just amazing news. Way to go for it. Really inspiring.

    That is fantastic news and I am so excited for you.


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