And The Livin’ Is Easy


Oh summertime. Those sweet early summer days when it’s hot but not suffocating, when all I want to do it be in the garden and the vineyard. And put things up.

I’ve been having a sweetly old-fashioned weekend, making vin de noix, then raspberry jam from my garden raspberries, then French-style apricot jam with fruit that was a gift from a friend. Americans like their jam set up, firm, jam that behaves itself on a piece of toast. Hence my raspberry version, seeds and all, cooked to 220° to ensure a firm set. The French like their jam runny, oozing off a buttered baguette or spooned over yogurt, with big chunks of fruit, and so my apricot jam macerates overnight, cooks to only 210°, and has mouthfuls of succulent apricot flesh. Chacun à son gout, to each her own, and I’m pretty sure that both are delicious, containing, as they do, noting but fruit and sugar. My friends and family will have to tell me, since I won’t be tasting either of them.

Nor will I drink the vin de noix, since it too contains plenty of sugar. It’s funny, this compulsion I feel, to make things with beautiful summer produce that I’ll never taste. I do it for the pure joy of working with the ingredients, all jewel-like and filled with sunshine, and for the pleasure of giving and serving my creations to others. Weird, huh?

But I’ve also been harvesting kale and chard by the armload, as well as what I fear will be the last of the broccoli, lettuces and arugula for the season, and those I do devour happily. My tomatillo plant is covered with baby fruit, the cucumbers are scrambling up the trellis and flowering like mad, the beans are twining, and the tomatoes are just beginning to flower.

That’s life in the garden, one luscious things appears just as you’re mourning the passing of what came before. If you’re lucky, that’s life on Earth.


Explore posts in the same categories: French Letters Visits America, Posts Containing Recipes

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9 Comments on “And The Livin’ Is Easy”

  1. Catanea Says:

    OH! Mayn’t we have photos of the plants curling and fruiting?

  2. Abra Bennett Says:

    Catanea – you and I should be friends on Facebook. I tend to put a lot of photos there. Send me a friend request.

  3. I’ve never tasted Vin de Noix. Is it available in wine shops?
    I’m on FB too

  4. Abra Bennett Says:

    I’ve never seen it in a wine shop, not even in France (although maybe you can find it bottled in the south-west region, which is its spiritual home). It’s very much a home-brew sort of thing. If you have access to a walnut tree it’s so worth making it yourself. And you can send me a FB request too, of course.

  5. Heinz Bobek Says:

    I remember your very delicious tomato jam and since then I’ll use your very special ingredient for my San Marzano tomato jam. Vin de Noix will be sold under the trade mark Quinquinoix.

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    Wow Heinz, I never saw that anywhere. Where did you find it?

  7. does that mean you’ll sell me a bottle?

  8. Abra Bennett Says:

    Sorry, no can do without a license.

  9. Heinz Bobek Says:

    I found it at where I sometimes order some wine . They do ship EU wide and there is a website in the States. But I don’t know whether the will deliver the Wine de Noix into the USA.

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