Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Gooey, Filled With Love, Strawberry Jam Tarts
After filling her pie plates with crusts kneaded to the right consistency, my grandmother would gather the leftover dough and shape it into small balls. Then she'd take her wooden rolling pin and roll the balls out one at a time. When all the little balls were flat on the flour-covered counter, she would fill them with her homemade strawberry jam, fold the edges into the center and put the tarts in the oven of her woodstove. Anticipation would mount as the sweet aroma of jam and cinnamon blending into the dough filled the kitchen-the dining room-every room of that farmhouse.
Once the jam tarts were pulled out of the oven, cold milk was poured into tall glasses. Then piping hot strawberry jam tarts were enjoyed. It didn't matter what time it was or if it was a sweltering summer day. They were enjoyed as much as any fine dessert from any fine bakery. Of course if it was Christmas time, they seemed to taste even better. Their aroma mingling with the scent of a tree in the front parlor-with snow swirling and joy prevailing-heightened the season of Santa and gifts and family gathering.
Those little tarts served in that country kitchen were mouth-watering delicious. There were no preservatives or food colorings. Just Crisco. Just so bursting with flavor. So filled with love by a woman with hair pulled up in a bun. Her hands worn, strong. Her house dress neat, covered by an apron. Her shoes black and tied up the front. Her smile as warm as sunshine. Her wit always near. Her arms all embracing-making you feel as if you were all that mattered. To my grandmother, you were. That's why she made her hot, gooey, filled with love strawberry jam tarts. She knew how much they were enjoyed. And she came from a generation where nothing went to waste. Not even small bits of pie dough.
Simple is priceless. Simple comes easy-like a breeze through the trees. Like an embrace of a grandmother dressed in a house dress covered by an apron.