BLUE JELLY by Debby Bull


Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning
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 Enchanting, funny, and perceptive reflections on recovering from a disastrous love affair, woven together with recipes for making jams, jellies, and pickles. Bull literally preserved herself from despair after her lover called in news of his new affair during a dinner party they were both supposed to be hosting. Ridding herself of everything that belonged to him, she found a bag of wild huckleberries he had picked and turned them into jam. String beans from his garden became dill beans in her grandmother's old blue Ball jars. Why canning and not baking bread? Canning is ``a Zen thing,'' requiring total attention to a ``world in which things turn out the way you thought they would.'' But Bull doesn't simply lock herself in her kitchen watching fruit boil. She takes off into the wider world in search of healing. Her trips range from hiking in Utah to scuba diving in the Bahamas to seeking in India, where palm leaves are read and guru Sai Baba speaks to her through another. She also tries, and skewers, the kind of therapy workshops that give healing a bad name. After every adventure she returns home to ruminate on what she's learned and can whatever is in season. Each chapter ends with a recipe, ranging from classic raspberry jam to Mexican hot pickled vegetables to dandelion jelly (the blue jelly of the title--she was out of yellow food coloring). Don't skip the recipes: Tucked between directions for sterilizing the Ball jars and boiling the fruit juice are delicious anecdotes, many about the celebrities she's interviewed for magazines such as Rolling Stone and Interview. Warm, funny, plump with insight, a book that readers will pass on to friends and friends of friends, whether they're recovering from broken hearts or in need of a recipe for blueberry butter.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-7868-6255-6
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997