Cynthia Chaves's Blog
Dec 8 2009 - 6:29pm
Gorgeous purple blackberries. Sun-ripened peaches. Crisp-looking rhubarb. Bonnie Shershow loves “the sensuousness of fruits—their color, texture, fragrance, feel and taste.” The Cambridge resident also enjoys “washing, cutting, peeling and pitting”—step one in transforming fruit into jams, jellies, and preserves. The recipe is simple: fresh produce, perhaps a little water, sugar and lemon juice. There’s not too much sugar.—the fruit should be the star, she suggests. Similarly, there’s no pectin. Bonnie feels that jelling agent can dull the taste. In the old days, Grandma probably didn’t use pectin either. It doesn’t appear in Bonnie’s collection of old cookbooks until around World War II. Then, suddenly, she says: “Viola! There’s pectin.” To make jam without that jelling agent, Bonnie simmers the jam slowly until it reaches the desired flavor and consistency. All of her jams are hand-made in small batches, bubbling away in copper pots. She favors copper for its even heat, although vessels could be used, she says. Even the pot’s shape is important. They’re flared at the top. This aids evaporation which concentrates flavor. She must be doing something right. Her...
Oct 2 2009 - 5:13pm
The cute, munchkin-like elf at Grendel’s Den in Harvard Square. The sleek, European-looking garage roll-ups fronting Bukowski Tavern in Inman Square. The chic signage for Zinnia Jewelry in Harvard Square. These are some of the projects undertaken through the Cambridge Community Development Department’s Façade, Signage and Lighting Improvement Program. The program provides technical assistance and matching grants to retailers if they’re located on a Cambridge Street. Established as a separate program in 2003, the Façade, Signage and Lighting Improvement Program supports 10 – 15 projects a year, according to Chris Basler who manages the program. You need not be a business owner to apply, commercial tenants are also eligible. According the program website, “an architectural consultant retained by the City can provide assistance through the conceptual design stage, at no cost to applicants.” Beyond the conceptual design stage, retailers are responsible for hiring any licensed architects and contractors needed to implement the project. The City provides reimbursement grants which in the past, have ranged from $2,500 to $35,000. It all depends on the availability of funds. The City’...