Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ten Gallons of Jam


The mangos keep falling like heavy raindrops, the kids keep selling me more mangos, I keep making this delicious sweet goo. The word is out, “Siamu”, jam. Samoans love it, but no one makes it. Why?

Making jam requires not only fruit and sugar, but also a low, simmering fire. This is the reason why jams come from cold places where a slow burning stove kept you warm while the jam simmered. Samoans cook over an open fire fueled mainly with coconut husks and soft, fast burning woods. This method is fine for the foods they boil in a pot, but would quickly burn anything with sugar. As for those Samoans who have gas stoves, they simply don’t know how to make fruit jam.

By selling the jam for what Samoans consider a high price, I hope to interest someone with a gas stove to take up the cause, but propane is expensive and learning how to simmer a new method of cooking. Nothing is ever as simple as it may first appear.

It is now on to salsa, of which Samoans can’t enough. I am giving out samples to fuel the fire. The ingredients are plentiful, grow in the garden and require no cooking. Already I have gone to two people’s homes to teach them. I find that Samoans don’t know how or have the knives to chop food into small pieces, or how to taste before you add the next ingredient. Selling salsa in the market may be an excellent way to earn some money or be the hit at the Fa’alavelave/party.

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