Ingenuity is a valuable trait when staying at a vacation property. You never know what you might find, or find missing. In this case, we found a nice BIG house perfect to accomodate our large group; but there was a marked absence of kitchen utensils in the “fully stocked” kitchen. Well, there was a 3″ toy whisk that I think was a kitchen-themed Christmas ornament, but its usefulness was limited.
We discovered the lack of any type of spatula/flipper when the meat was heading to the grill on Friday night. After a thorough search of all the drawers and cupboards, we discovered a nice, shiny-new set of garden tools in a kitchen drawer, and promptly re-purposed the trowel as a hamburger flipper and brat turner. It worked. That garden trowel got lots of use through the weekend, although we did not have to use it on the scrambled eggs because a late-comer received the call to bring a spatula, pronto.
This lack of proper useful conventional equipment did not stop a couple of us from undertaking what I might consider one of the most ambitious cooking projects I can imagine: a first try at canning peaches. B brought a recipe fresh ripped from a magazine (“Impossible Virgin Canning Projects Magazine”, perhaps?) with a beautiful picture of the preserved peaches, so pretty in the jar with no trace of botulism to be seen. She brought canning jars, lids and rims. She bought a huge box of gorgeous, fresh, Michipie peaches. Most importantly, what she brought to the kitchen was a sense of fun, and optimism, and a confidence that this could be done by two people who had never done it before — a sense that canning peaches was the most natural thing in the world to do on a beach vacation.
I love that about her.
Everyone else disappeared from the kitchen in fear in logic in haste, scattering in all directions trying to look busy. I never would have tried this adventure on my own, but I was happy to find myself there, working side-by-side with my cousin, figuring it out as we went along. We boiled lots of pots at once. Pots of boiling water to sterilize jars. Pots at a boil for a quick dip to skin the peaches. Pots of sugary syrup that boiled over, but we kept on going. I love to cook but am hopeless at following recipes, so I goofed a few times yet she did not make me feel inevitably responsible for the possible botulism poisoning of our whole relation.
I really like that about her too.
Here we are getting started. (Note: the dog treats on the counter were not part of the recipe.)
Look how happy the brave canners are!
Peaches turn the sugary syrup a beautiful color when they cook (This was right before it bubbled over — I was supposed to be watching the pot, DOOH…)
Things got a little sweaty scary exciting near the end of the process…
It was declared the leftover syrup will make delicious lemonade:
And, viola!, the finished product. I am not positive how the stray hot dog ended up in the food-styled final shot; suffice to say there were seven kids running around and at least as many kids-at-heart…
Thank you to my dear cousin who, as always, opened my eyes to new adventures…