To the delight of hundreds of visitors, my nephew near Boston is now setting up his annual Halloween display - a spooktacular effort, interactive ghou


To the delight of hundreds of visitors, my nephew near Boston is now setting up his annual Halloween display - a spooktacular effort, interactive ghouls and all. Our Mom got behind this holiday as much as any, the hand-sewn costumes, taffy apples, pumpkins, loved going to the door when the bell rang, and always gave great candy. Old age eventually strained her capacity to see the lighter side of coffins and tombstones, but by 99, I couldn’t say I blamed her.


Ghosts are different though, aren’t they - life vaporized, but not entirely denied. As the October chill sets in I’ve taken some time to peruse the photo albums my Mom left me, and ghosts float up from every page. Here I am at 6 about to take a long-departed cousins hand, or my Mother younger than I ever remember her.

There’s the Grandma I still see in dreams, all dresses and aprons, presiding over a table heaped with food and surrounded by a family of 20, nearly all now gone.


With no late frost, for the first time in years there were apples at the family homestead this season, on the trees Grandfather planted in 1900. Living close enough now I was able to harvest the Whitney crab apples and made 2 dozen jars of Grandma’s Spiced Crab Apples, from her own 120 year old tree. I offer them to you now, but have not made them in years, these will go quickly!


White Fruitcake

Grandma Floria’s fruitcakes are also now back in stock - the White Fruitcake and Dark Fruitcake, also both available aged 1, 2 and 3 years, and Winter Fruitcake. All the exotic candied fruit peels, bergamot, Seville orange, Rangpur lime, Buddha’s hand are still featured, and I’ve added extra fruit to every batch to boost the weight of each cake.


Finger Lime Marmalade

After a long hiatus the exotic Finger Lime Marmalade is back in stock! I will soon have a supply of the elusive Calamondin Marmalade - they are not quite ripe but a pre-order assures me I will get fruit, and I’ll make it as soon as I have them, so please check back. Meanwhile, the related Five Mandarin and Rangpur Lime Marmalades are excellent, and still available.

The seasonally appropriate Pear Ginger Jam is here, a loose jam great on ice cream or as a desert topping. Speaking of desert topping, I am also making one last round of the chocolate sauces as a holiday farewell - after this season they will no longer be available, so enjoy them while you can! Extreme Vanilla Bean, Four Orange, Malted Milk - and the Hot Ginger Caramel Sauce as well!


So many of the photos in Mom’s albums are posed that one in particular stands out. It’s Grandma Floria in 1960, and the clock has just struck twelve. With deft hands she readies the last dish as her guests fill the dining room behind her. Across the decades I recognize that moment, when one’s best effort is realized, when the work is done. Once again, I offer these, my own best efforts, to you and yours, to enjoy in the coming season.


Robert Lambert
Kewaunee Wisconsin
October 2022