I will not be making my yearly homemade orange marmalade this year. I made it last January as I usually did , either at end of December or at beginning of the year. This is the time of year when you can get nice, inexpensive oranges from the “valley” in south Texas.
For many years making homemade orange marmalade was a tradition I had initiated and shared with my father. It was not just a time to be with my father, just him and I, but nobody else really wanted to join us as the making of orange marmalade is a tedious task that takes two days.
My father and I would sit at the kitchen table and would painstakingly zest each orange assiduously removing the pith to obtain the purest orange flavor. With the years we perfected our “zest making” technique. My father, a very creative engineer, was always thinking about how to better the process of making things. Then we would cut off the inner thin white membrane covering the pulp of several pounds of oranges.
While sitting and making the marmalade we would converse every so often, mostly interchanging comments about how tedious it was to make orange marmalade and how we would make improvements for the next time. But mostly we sat quietly working diligently to get it “right” and enjoying sharing some quiet time together, being in the moment, not worrying about past events or things to come, just being.
Last year, January 2019, I set up to make the marmalade, alone. As my father was in Peru battling with cancer. I wanted to keep our tradition alive, maybe for one more year, even if it meant me working on it alone. I knew how much he loved our orange marmalade, so my plan was that I would take some jars for him in our next trip to Peru, for easter, as I had taken another tradition to spend eater in Peru with my parents. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit the world and our lives as we knew it stopped. No way to go back to visit my parents to say one last goodbye to my father. He passed away of his illness in mid-April.
I still have a few jars from last year’s batch. Not sure if I will get back to making it again, to keep our tradition. I know not this year; I am just not ready. I hope in a few I will, and that it will bring me the joy and happiness of past years, thinking about my dad and the precious times we spent together.
Let’s celebrate family traditions.
Do you have a favorite family tradition? Leave a comment and share your tradition ideas !