Jamming With Judi

Club member, and OB Rag writer, Judi Curry has a new book out, Jamming With Judi. She’ll be bringing some of her jams to the next club meeting on Sunday November 23.

Judi's books 2

Her late husband Bob was an activist, and officer of the club. Here is her dedication for the book:

I wrote my first cookbook in 2006 for a few reasons: I was a breast cancer survivor and my youngest daughter, Stephanie, was going to walk in the “Susan G. Komen 60 mile Walk for Breast Cancer Cure”. Registration was $2500 and she had walked in previous years and always asked friends and relatives for donations to help with the registration cost. I thought it might be a nice gesture to write a cookbook as a legacy to my three daughters while at the same time donating the proceeds from the cookbook to her registration for the walk. (And my friends appreciated getting something for their “donation”.)

In 2009, when I wrote my second cookbook, there were different factors influencing my decision. My husband had just been diagnosed with Lung Cancer and a second daughter, Lynn, was going to join Stephanie in the “Susan G. Komen” walk. Registration was now $2600 each, and I knew that they would have difficulty obtaining the necessary donations for them both to walk. This time, however, I asked friends and relatives for their recipes also, and the proceeds of the sale of that book went for registration for both daughters.

Five years ago, September 21, 2009, just before the walk, my husband Bob died of lung cancer. Yes, he was a smoker for 30 years, but he gave it up for 34 years; yes, he was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County where the smog was always the worst; yes, he helped put the ceiling into his new school – he was the first Principal of the Thomas Erwin School in Bassett – which entailed putting asbestos in the walls but allowed the school to open on time. We will never know what factor caused the lung cancer, but the results were the same, regardless of the cause.

When I went back to work after ten years of owning and running “O’Curry’s Musical Seashells”, we began hosting foreign language students that were in the United States to learn English. Bob had always loved to cook, and since he would be responsible for meals for our students Monday through Friday, he decided to take a variety of cooking classes. He was an excellent cook, and it was always exciting to come home and see what he had prepared for dinner that night. Between us we tried never to cook the same thing more than once every six months. (Our students usually stayed that long and we wanted them to try a variety of foods. We used to tell people when we were asked if we spoke other languages that “. . . we only spoke English, but we cooked in every language.”)

Some of the recipes in this book are original; some of them have been tweaked from what was and what is now. With only a very few exceptions, the recipes are those that either Bob or I cooked and I continue to cook till this day. Some were copied from other sources, but we enjoyed them so much that we made them “ours.”

A word about the jam recipes – as Bob was losing his battle with cancer, it was important for us to keep his weight up. I made all sorts of heavy calorie foods for him. Because we have many fruit trees, I began making jam and putting it on – or in – everything I could get him to eat, and eventually began a small jamming business after he died. (I still do select jams.) I have been asked for my recipes from many people, so I took the most popular ones and put them in this book. Hence, the name, “Jamming with Judi.”

I dedicate this book to the Irishman with the twinkle in his eye; the grandfather that taught his grandson’s how to fish so that one of them is now the skipper of a sport-fishing boat; to the step-father that taught the girls how to water-ski, fish, and love water sports; to the husband of 46 years that made me realize that compromise is the name of the game if one wants to have a successful relationship. You are still missed, Bob. But your legacy lives on.

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