Post image for Sunset Tomato Jam and a not so Pinterest Life

Sunset Tomato Jam and a not so Pinterest Life

by Angela Roberts on August 14, 2012

Sunset Tomato Jam should have been served at our sunset wedding in cute jars, with a sentimental label, which  I would have printed out myself using two different fonts that blend together in harmony. It’s a balanced combination of sweet and heat, and I think it would have represented us well.

Of course the tomatoes would have been grown in my garden and we, the happy couple, would have made the jam together.  We would have placed them on distressed pewter trays, picked up at yard sales on one of our leisurely Saturdays with spoons we ordered on line, served with toast points. We would have a Pinterest moment.

That makes me want to spit out my coffee or maybe go hurl.

I love and hate Pinterest because it sucks me into a fantasy life, and ups my desire for more style, while simultaneously, creating even deeper dissatisfaction with my table settings,  my picture arrangements, my staircase,  my pillows, my wall treatments, and my not so perfectly distressed furniture.

I have one board called white rooms, but how realistic is this for someone like me. Am I pinning for heaven?

I love the food props, the colored twine, the jars, the labels, the imagination, the perfect lighting, the hint of a vintage apron,  but do I really live like that?

My pictures on this blog probably create an unrealistic view of our life. No one was there to to see the tomato jam on the floor that plopped and stayed there for twenty minutes  until the dog licked it up, because we were out of paper towels.

No one was there to see the three times I went to the garden to get the basil and let it sit on the counter and shrivel to waste. No one was there to see that I didn’t account for the larger tomatoes when I blanched and skinned them and had to use some herculean strength to get that skin off of tomato number 7.

Of course I’ll make you think that I slipped each tomato out of the skin like butter. I’ll make you think that I used raw local honey, when I probably grabbed that New Zealand blackberry honey that Mr. ST insisted we buy in Toronto at $14 a jar, and has yet to eat any of. I’ll even make you think we can afford a $14 jar of honey, when we can’t always afford paper towels. That’s the truth behind blogging. (And, I know it’s not local).

Will someone please tell me the truth behind Pinterest?

Pinterest Creates First World Anxiety

Who are these people that live in these perfect kitchens or sleep in these beyond heavenly beds adorned with  pillows that cost more than my sofa?

They don’t live in my neighborhood. Even when I did decorative painting charging $2000 for dining rooms, I didn’t see the glamor and glory of what I see on Pinterest.

Oh, I’m just as addicted to it as you are. I pin and I sigh and I dream. I  pin my own food hoping you will too. It does taste good and for a minute or two it does look good, but I want you to know the process behind the scenes can be something I hope the camera never captures and you never find out that I’m just like you.

It’s true that we eat better than most people and we are spoiled with farmer’s markets, and good pans. It’s true that that every single recipe dish you see here is made in my kitchen by my own hands. But, there are back stories you don’t know.

I burn food, I break dishes, I forget to sharpen my knife,  and half of my tomato plants never produced more than one harvest.

Now that you know the truth, let me encourage you to spread your wings in the garden, or in the kitchen, and don’t worry that you don’t produce “pinterestable” dishes or photographs. We food bloggers probably have more non-pinterest moments than you may think.

This is a pretty delicious tomato jam. I  did grow these tomatoes and basil in my garden. And, all truth telling aside, sunset tomato jam is very easy to make and has all sorts of potential.  It jazzed up some Farmer’s Market fresh green beans, and I’m soon to show you how I put it on fish and grits.

I had waited for just the right recipe to pop up in front of my face and when this one from Food Loves Writing was in my in box, I bookmarked it and I put it in a jar just like Shana did, because I couldn’t improve on that idea. It comes originally from Herbivoracious, a cookbook by food blogger, Michael Natkin.   We have each added our own adaptation to it, as recipes should really only be blueprints.

I wanted to stay in the spirit of the Tomato Arts Festival recently held in East Nashville.  I used all the tomatoes I could find in my garden, which ended up being a mix of golden and red which reminded me of the sunset and did bring me back to memories of our non-Pinterest,  yet beautiful wedding.

Oh, the stress of First World Problems. Follow my fantasy life pinterest boards here I’ll follow your fantasy life back.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sunset Tomato Jam from My Garden
Recipe type: Jam
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Adapted from Herbivoracious, and a recipe found on Food Loves Writing, I mixed red and golden tomatoes and basil from my garden with some syracha
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (or hefty dash cayenne)
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice off top of tomato. On backside, use knife to draw an x. Place into boiling water for 8 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon. Cool. Peel.
  2. Chop finely.
  3. Place in saucepan with basil, honey, salt, pepper, Sriracha.
  4. Cook for 1 to 2 hours on low until all liquid is evaporated and you have jam.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Shanna August 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I like this post, Angela, and I like how transparent you’re letting yourself be in it. I’ve thought about Pinterest a lot. I’m definitely drawn to it and have felt the dissatisfaction that results from it. But another thing I think is that it reveals our hunger for beauty–because we were made for The Beautiful One. So many times when I’m in a situation or looking at a post and it’s beyond gorgeous, the kind of thing I could never improve upon, I think to myself, what am I really loving here? I crave beauty because I crave The Beautiful One. I want to create because in doing it, I mirror my Creator. When I start think about this, it really fills me with awe and wonder and worship.

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bellini August 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

It is so true Angela, but Pinterest is escapism at its best. We can dream of the perfect photo, the perfect dinner, the perfect children, husband, kitchen, but Martha Stewart we are not…and look at her real life.

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Rosa August 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

Mmmhh, delicious looking! I wish I had a garden…

Pinterest hasn’t had this effect on me, though I totally understand your point. It inspires me, but doesn’t make me crave for unrealistic things…

Cheers,

Rosa

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 15, 2012 at 5:26 am

Angela, I have the same feelings about Pinterest. Whilst it has some great ideas, I feel quite inadequate! :o

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sippitysup August 15, 2012 at 11:18 am

This is your best post ever. XOGREG

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Erin Kerr October 18, 2012 at 12:56 am

I agree! This was a great read, darn it, Angela, you’re good. Seriously. You’ve got the format of the blog post down so very well. Cheers, to your skills, amiga.

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thyme (sarah) August 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm

This is a hilarious post. My entire family CONSTANTLY points out to me that the beautiful photos that I ask them to look at don’t really look like the dish I exhaustedly set down before them after working on it and photographing it. We’re always laughing about the “image” vs “reality” quality of blogging. But, its an art form of a sort I guess…and it sure is a lot of fun!

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Joan Nova August 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Great post – such insight into the life of a food blogger. haha, for sure, it isn’t always pretty, but we keep trying and that’s better than the alternative!

I’m only marginally into pinterest, but I’ve always been admirer of your work!

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Lora August 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Great post, Make me smile an ponder the expectations we all place on ourselves. The jam racks btw.

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Jen @ Savory Simple August 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’ve always wanted to make something like this!

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Paula August 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I really liked this post. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the images we see on the internet are an edited version of someone’s life. I also wanted to let you know that I have pinned a few of your recipes. My husband and I are particularly fond of the Bolognese Sliders recipe. We’ve made it many times! It is so delicious.

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Corrie August 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I have problems with pinterest too. I just don’t seem to “get it”. But your pictures of tomato jam are totally ‘eatable’! :-)

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen August 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hahaha so true! Pinterest has that effect on me too.

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Kristina~Former Chef August 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Sigh…I hear you loud and clear. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting that idealized world.
For me, well before Pinterest, it was other people’s blogs and their idealized vision of a perfect world. And before that (really, before the internet took over) it was Martha Stewart’s magazine which set the standard.
Now, I find myself pulling away. I no longer get the magazines and I don’t read that many blogs. I don’t check out Pinterest all that much. I’m trying to be easier on myself and my vision of perfection.

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Ruthy August 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Just what I needed to read today!! The fabled life of other food bloggers and pinners makes me simultaneously fantastize about the “whimsical” life I don’t have, and want to throw my dslr across the room in a fit of unworthiness… all while being guilty of pinning and blogging only the pretty stuff out of my own life!! It all comes back to balance, as usual.
That being said, your tomato jam looks banging and I’ll probably pin it :)

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Kiki D. August 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Wow.. reading this post makes me realize how we are always in search of what we don’t have.. and most times never are happy with what we have been blessed. We tend to not see that what we do have in front of us is what our God meant for us to have.. no more, no less! But we still chase after that “better than perfect world”? I think much like you that Pinterest is taken and used as a source of craving for material things of this world.. while it could/should be viewed as a source of personal expression and/or a platform to spread awareness for certain issues/topics. Not to say that I too have been disappointed when I see the pictures posted and wonder why my pictures aren’t that nice and or sat in awe at certain “things”… but it’s also a form of motivation for me to get to where I know I CAN be if I apply myself appropriately. And I must say that after this post Angela, I am so inspired to improve! I’ve never really thought about the story behind the pictures.. I would only see the perfect shot.. so thanks for making me see that other side! You are so awesome to share this with us and I can’t wait to try this recipe (after my silly tomatoes finally decide to completely show their cute little faces in my imperfect garden).. LOL
Peace and blessings

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angela August 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

Kiki,
Thank you for your comment. I think what happens is that I love all the beauty and creativity and get overwhelmed seeing so much at one time. I’ve been a part of the world of design and I know how much effort it really takes and so much practice. So, yes, you can improve and so can I, but we do it in the midst of a lot of real life and chaos. Happy tomato picking.

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erin @ yummy supper August 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Angela, Great post! You had me cracking up. Tomato number 7 did fight you back, didn’t it;)
I also have mixed feeling about Pinterest. I so appreciate the beauty (and fantasy), but it is just another way for me to get sucked into gazing at the world through my screen instead of at life itself. Hmmmmm…
xxoo
E

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Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul August 23, 2012 at 12:35 am

Wow! What a rant! I think Pinterest “works” because it’s a highly visual medium. I know sometimes I look at pinned images and crave/want something! Perhaps there’s a lesson here for all of us! Anyway, I’m loving your tomatoes and jam Angela…your magic hands in the kitchen make marvellous things!

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Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! August 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I agree with you and the rest…great post Angela!

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