Okay, this strikes me as weird: someone I don’t know very well at all (like we belong to the same women’s club, but haven’t really talked or served on the same committees or anything) gave me a jar of homemade jelly. Just handed it to me as we passed in a hall, with a fast “Here! This is for you!” and all I could do was call “Thanks” after her, before I’d really seen what it was.
According to the label, it’s Dandelion jelly.
Really?? Is that a normal, genuine people actually eat that thing? Or is it some weird insult I’m not hip to?
Actually, I’d have been a little surprised if she’d given me ANY kind of homemade jelly, even the most ordinary Strawberry or Grape. Or store-bought jelly for that matter. Huh? Is there such a thing as “Give an almost stranger a jar of jelly day”? Is this some weird May Day tradition I’ve never come across?
The jar is sitting on my counter, unopened. I’m just baffled. Do I send her a thank you note? Do I challenge her to a slap fight? It’s a normal looking Mason jar, with a handwritten label, filled with clear pale yellow jelly. Roughly the shade of urine, actually. Hmmm.
Maybe it is a societal difference – New Englanders are widely considered standoffish compared to a lot of other reasons. To me, giving a present, especially one of some home-made item, isn’t something you would do to someone you didn’t either know well (friend, neighbor, relative, yes, co-workers could qualify) unless there was some sort of ‘reason’ – like welcoming a new neighbor, birth of a child, death, established holiday, etc.
Oh, absolutely I’ll be polite about it, regardless of if I taste it. Which I probably will. Curiosity at least, and I’m not really all that worried that somebody would go the trouble of cooking up a batch of botulism-spiked something or other just to be rid of me.
It’s the situation that struck me as strange: having someone I’ve never even had a conversation with casually hand me a present while rushing by in a corridor. It just, well, didn’t mesh with my expectations for How Things Go.
And you are right! We cracked the jar and experimented last night. Dandelion jelly on buttered toast tastes like…sweetened buttered toast.
Dandelion jelly off a spoon tastes like… well, I want to say nothing. I mean, there was something in my mouth, sweet, coolish, had a physical presence, a texture like any kind of jelly. And a tiny tiny bit of ‘other’ flavor that I really couldn’t name. Not bitter, not sour, not salty. Just something faintly there.
Basically, I don’t see the point of it. Someone put in the time and effort to pick several cups worth of dandelion flowers, carefully peeled away the green surroundings, then boiled them up for a while, strained the result. Then added sugar and pectin…and ended up with a total non-entity as a result. I don’t think it would have tasted much different if you’d skipped the dandelions entirely and added two drops of yellow food coloring instead.
Nonetheless, I guess the woman’s intentions were kind, so I shall thank her for thinking of me. <shrug>
This is about what I was thinking. Of course, it’s always difficult to guess what someone else is thinking, but in this case I’d bet it was “Thank God. Someone else I can unload some of this jelly on.”
Dandelion greens are supposed to be nutritious so I guess dandelion jelly is healthier for you than non-dandelion jelly would be. But the same argument applies to grapes and I’d rather have grape jelly.