I loved to eat breakfast at my grandparent’s home in Belgium when I was a kid. I spent a few weeks with them during the summer, alternating years with my twin sister and younger brother. Bonmamon and Bonpapa lived in a farm house in a small village between Brussels and Waterloo. Bonmamon made sure that we visited all of our relatives during my stay there so we traveled around the country, but I preferred when we stayed home. The days passed leisurely and were based around lunch and dinner, and late afternoon tea. There was always the potential for something scary to be served at those big meals–and I was expected to eat what was put in front of me–but breakfast was safe. It consisted of a cup of tea, often Earl Grey, and fresh bread from a local bakery. At the time, there weren’t many quality bakeries in New York, not as many as you find today, so good, simple bread was something to cherish.
I ate slice after slice of bread, butter and jam. Bonmamon made all sorts of jams and jellies but red currant stood out. Maybe it was because it was sweet and tart. Back home in the States, my mom also made red currant jelly and to this day, I love it. Because of how it tastes, of course, but also because it takes me back to a far away place where they spoke French and I felt welcome, like I was home.
Our man in Paris, David Lebovitz tries his hand at Red Currant Jam.