When I was little, jam was jelly. It was deep purple and translucent, and only went on white bread with peanut butter. The best kind of all came in a collectible glass jar, with the coyote and roadrunner on it. After finishing the jar of jelly, I kept the glass, and drank milk out of it for years, often while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
After leaving home, I rarely bought jelly. Sometimes someone gave me a gift of jam, thick with actual fruits like Maine blueberries or Michigan cherries. I used it on grilled cheese sandwiches with extra sharp cheddar, or on a bagel with cream cheese. I didn’t make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches unless I was feeling nostalgic.
Now I have a little boy, who loves jam. Blackberry, raspberry, and cherry are all favorites. Before he was three years old, he learned how to spread it on his own little challah roll. For lunch he requests soy butter and jam sandwiches — he is allergic to nuts, but soy butter works just about as well, as long as there is plenty of jam.
My son knows that the jar of jam was made from berries from the same farm where we pick blueberries in the summer. He can see the seeds through the uneven glass. He asks me when we can pick berries again, and I tell him, “As soon as summer returns.”