Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Pleasures of Editing

Making jelly. That's the only thing I can think of that has all the pleasures of editing. You watch the fruit ripen, pick it, select the jars, the pots, the old and secret recipe to use. You sterilize everything -- patience, patience, and great care with the details. In cooking, it helps to measure exactly but the final decisions are based on your senses -- you have to know exactly how the jelly looks when it gets to the 'jelling point' and the sparkle of the smooth rolling surface of it is almost hypnotic. You learn from the successes, and you learn from the failures.

And when you're done you sit there and admire it, and know you didn't really do a damn thing but know what to pick and what to leave out, and how to package it. Everything else is up to the fruit -- if it's excellent fruit and exactly ripe, the jelly is wonderful.

Elderberry is the best, because it's dark and rich, a bit like grape but not as brassy. People try it and say, "Wow! What is this?" It tastes familiar but just a little interesting and strange. The mystery stays with you.

1 comment:

book publishers said...

Editing is indeed a pleasure.